Back to Basics – A is for Animals

Are you like me suffering from Pinterest overload with all the amazing ideas that so many creative people come up with. Yes seriously I sit there and look at the boards and think WOW and then …. NO I could never do that. With each moment like that it’s made me realise that sometimes it’s going back to basics that is the way to go for me. So I’m going to be sharing 26 themes for back to basics play over the next 26 Saturday’s – not complicated ideas just simple back to basic play for children (toddlers and preschoolers but the ideas can be easily adapted for older children as well).

Back to basic play ideas - a is for animals

So we kicking it off with A is for Animals – we have farm animals, zoo animals, pets, dinosaurs, sea animals and all sorts of animals basically some more realistic than others but they all form part of our Animal Box. I know this is a fail safe Rainy Day box to bring out and J and T will have lots of fun with it.

Blanket Sea

We have a dark throw for the lounge and I will put the throw on the floor to make a sea, river, pond and then we get out some of our animals (usually water animals but not always!) and have fun swimming fish in the sea, making crab noises and J and T will play with their animals on the sea doing what ever they think animals do (I really don’t have a clue as although J talks while he plays it’s all very rushed and hurried when he’s in the play mode). You don’t have to use small sea creatures like we do. I love this one from A Mom with a Lesson Plan using soft toys from one of my favourite disney films.

Taking them outside

taking toy animals outside

J taking our toy dinosaurs outside and his stegasaurus having some leaves from one of our plants

Our animals love venturing out in the garden – it’s amazing what a lot of grass, stones and plants can become – dinsoaurs love to eat our flowers in the plant pots. The giraffee likes to stretch it’s neck and get the leaves higher up. I will be forever finding animals hidden in the bushes though I think.

Playing Farms

DIY farm mat for kids

J playing farms with a very quickly drawn farm mat

We visit the farm – often well alot and one of the things that we play is farms with our animals. I have drawn a very rough map on a piece of paper and J has added animals to the fields that I have drawn on it. I wish I had more time, inclination and would love to create him a more permenant farm map of felt or fabric with different colours but that is a long way in the future at the moment.


role play being vets

J role play being a vet – his dinosaur has been bandaged, had it’s medicine and having a cuddle to make him better again.

We’ve just started doing this and it’s only with our soft toys (yes even the dinosaur has visited the vets), we had some first aid kit free on a children’s magazine which I put in an old case, added some fabric bandages and we were ready to play. This started after our dog had an accident and limped for a day so had to be taken to the vets to be checked over – after explaining that it was like the doctors playing vets has become quite popular.

What other simple ideas do you have for Animal toy play?

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Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and now mum. She's passionate about supporting learning at school at home, bringing books alive, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Creative, Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Rainy Day Mum

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  1. carol says

    You can’t go wrong with animals. We played dinosaur train when J had each dinosaur taking turns to ride on the train. Also don’t forget the bug and snail hunts in the garden. Z loves going on crocodile hunts, we do this with an imaginary crocodile, but you could place other animals in the bushes and plant pots, use cardboard tube binoculars and go hunting for them.

  2. says

    Cerys this could not have come at a better time. Goblin and I had a few horrid moments today winding each other up the wrong way. I was searching the interwebs for something I could do with him tomorrow to reconnect but didn’t have the energy to do anything complicated. These ideas are perfect and he loves animals. I promised him a trip to the zoo tomorrow too.
    Thanks you
    The Monko recently posted..Hyde Hall – Nanny’s BirthdayMy Profile

    • says

      I really hope you enjoyed going back to basics – we have another post each Saturday with more basic play ideas that just help you connect :) – hope you enjoyed the zoo as well (we’ve been today:))

  3. says

    You’re soo right about Pinterest overload – I have a bajillion ideas pinned, still find myself wondering what to do and then getting overwhelmed when I look at all the brilliant ideas. Like why didn’t I think to use an old towel rail to hold my saucepan lids? What kind of a mom am I?!!

    Thanks for sharing with The Sunday Showcase – hope to see you there this week!

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