Camp Littles & Me

Pretend Play Zookeeper Station

We’ve been celebrating all we love about the zoo this week with lots of zoo themed play, banana nut monkey muffins, and of course a trip to see our favorite animals. I am thrilled to introduce you to this weeks Camp Counselor, Cara. She’s sharing the cutest idea to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station. […]

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Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.

We’ve been celebrating all we love about the zoo this week with lots of zoo themed play, banana nut monkey muffins, and of course a trip to see our favorite animals. I am thrilled to introduce you to this weeks Camp Counselor, Cara. She’s sharing the cutest idea to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station. I can’t wait to try it!

Cara from One Swell Studio shares how to make the cutest Pretend Play Zookeeper Station as part of Camp Littles and Me!
Hey, everybody!  I’m Cara, the gal behind One Swell Studio.  When Ashley asked me about participating in Camp Littles & Me, I was so pumped.  I have two sweet (and sometimes rambunctious!) boys who keep me busy all year long.  Sometimes finding constructive, educational, yet still FUN things to do at home over the summer can be a bit of a challenge, right?  I’m loving all the great ideas everyone has shared so far & I’m thrilled to share a few of my own with you today!

One of our family’s favorite things to do together over the summer is to visit our local “little zoo” and see all of the animals up close, and even get to feed many of them.  We have a membership that makes it really affordable to take the kiddos a couple times a month.  My favorite little critters there are the armadillos, but my boys LOVE the giraffes.  We’re even able to feed the giraffe a carrot or lettuce leaf, which is always the highlight of the trip for them.

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.Since we usually only visit our local zoo every other week or so, I thought it would be fun to bring the zoo to us.

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.My boys and I chatted about what zookeepers do, how they take care of the animals, and why it’s important to make sure the animals are happy and healthy.  Next, I rounded up some Little People animal figures (You could use any type of small plastic animals for this activity) and set up a Zoo station on our back porch.

Here are the items you’ll need to recreate this set-up:

  • A set of small plastic animal figurines
  • Small dishes of “food” and “water”
  • Medium bowl filled with soapy water
  • Small brush
  • Small towel or washcloth
  • Divided container (I used a veggie tray)
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Flashlight
  • Large, flat workspace
  • Zookeeper checklist (optional)

Since my boys are a bit older (they’re 7 & 5), I created Zookeeper Checklists for them to keep track of each step to complete.  If you have smaller kiddos, you can absolutely skip this step and guide your child without the checklist.

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.

Download the Printable Zookeeper Checklist

Enter your name and email address to download the FREE Printable Zookeeper Checklist + receive the password to the Littles & Me FREE Printable Resource Library. Already have the password? Login HERE.

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First, the “zookeepers” needed to count the animals to see how many there were all together.  Next, I had them figure out how to divide them so they’d each have the same amount.  (A little math practice over the summer never hurt anybody, eh?!)

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.Next, they “fed” and “watered” the animals.  We chatted about what kind of foods each animal might enjoy, and how much water each species might drink.  This led to some great conversations about why an elephant needs to drink more water than a toucan, and estimations about how many gallons of water each type of animal might drink per day.

After that, we moved on to the “Check Up” portion of the activity.  The boys used a magnifying glass and flashlight to examine all of the animals, keeping track of any “medical attention” needed.  (We had an alligator with a loose tooth and a hippopotamus with a sore leg, as it turned out.)

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.The next step was to bathe and dry each animal.  This was definitely their favorite part!  I placed a small bowl filled with warm soapy water on their work station, and the boys took turns dipping their animals and scrubbing them with a small nail brush (a toothbrush would work great too!).  After the animals were all fresh & clean, they were transferred to a towel and dried off.

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.The last part of the activity was kind of a matching game.  We had a lot of animal pairs since most of them came from a Noah’s Ark set.  Each kiddo took turns choosing an animal to “put back in its cage” for the zoo’s closing time.

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.My boys really loved this activity, and even though they’re slightly on the older side, they really used their imaginations to make this a playtime.  I am actually kind of surprised at how well this station kept them engaged.  This activity was SUPER quick and easy for me to set up, and kept my boys busy for well over an hour.  Win win!

If your kids look forward to visiting the zoo, and learning about animals, I hope you’ll give this fun little station a try this summer!

Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.Isn’t this such an adorable idea? I love the idea of creating a pretend play zoo at home. I know my girls are going to love doing this! Especially with that cute free printable. Cara is incredibly talented and definitely one of my favorite mamas to follow along with. She has an AMAZING party shop where she sells modern and unique invitations and decor. If you have an event coming up, she’s your gal!

You can follow along with Cara here:

Blog | Etsy Shop | Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook

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Here's all you need to create a Pretend Play Zookeeper Station! Includes a FREE Zookeeper Checklist.

Download the Printable Zookeeper Checklist

Enter your name and email address to download the FREE Printable Zookeeper Checklist + receive the password to the Littles & Me FREE Printable Resource Library. Already have the password? Login HERE.

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