Dear Zoo

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Quite often I like to use a picture book as inspiration for my Toddlers sessions- this works well with the older preschoolers- especially if they recognise their favourite story (although inevitably it can be a little harder to engage the wee babies with these sessions!) Reading aloud can really bring the group together in preparation for the art activity and really is a practice I should use more often (even for non-story related sessions). Popular books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Elmer and Fox in Socks are all great for visual inspiration but even simple board books, flap books and pop-ups can be a good starting point. Dear Zoo is now a classic in British culture and the group love taking turns in guessing what animal lies behind each cage, basket or hutch! The more absurd the pet the funnier they find it! So the challenge was to think of even sillier options the zoo could have sent. I had made pre-printed ‘animal boxes’ and childre were invited to draw a pet inside. Adults were encouraged to talk through their child’s choice and discuss why it was so silly. There was ‘luggage labels’ on front of the doors to write their reasons!

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