Welcome to Day 5 of our 2-week summer holiday kids special! (Yes, it’s summer in Australia!)
On Day One I showed you how to make your own DIY sand and water play table. On Day Two we explored water play. On Day Three we created a cool ocean rockpool. Day Four was all about sensory play with shaving foam.
And today we have the cutest project yet – a sand play table zoo!
Here’s what you’ll need:
– Your play table, which can be as simple as an under-bed storage tub on a couple of crates
– Plastic toy animals
– Paddle-pop sticks (craft sticks) – I used coloured ones
– A couple of small plastic bowls to make ponds
– Rocks from your garden
– Child-safe scissors to cut greenery
I started with a very basic set-up, just enough to spark the kids’ imagination, but enough of a blank canvas that they could make it theirs.
First I sank the plastic bowls into the sand and filled them with some water to create ponds, and put a few rocks around the edges. Then I added a few animals to the tableaux and began sticking craft sticks into the sand to create fences, and encouraged the kids to help me. They quickly caught onto the idea and joined in with building the fences.
It was lovely to see the pride they took in their creation. Having made their zoo a lush paradise, they then enjoyed playing with the animals – moving them between the fenced enclosures, letting them sip at the water in the ponds and nibble at the leaves.
The kids were mesmerised, and because they helped create the zoo, they really took pride in it and played imaginatively for ages without being destructive. It was really cute to see them bathing the animals in the ponds, and heading back to the garden every now and then to pick some more little flowers to plant in the sand.
At one point, Jaxon was heard to utter, “This is the best activity ever!”
Which absolutely made my heart smile. Love that kid! If all it takes to get a reaction like that is to pull out a few plastic toys and some craft sticks, I will definitely be doing this activity again!
Let’s talk! I wonder what the appeal of the zoo is to little kids?! Do you have any other favourite ways to play with plastic animals? Keen to give a sand-table zoo a try? Thanks so much for stopping by!