Extend the Play: Zoo-Themed Picture Books

Last week, we shared a fun activity for extending our Peek-A-Zoo game with creative do-it-yourself paper binoculars for an at-home safari. Take that animal exploration right into story time with one of these zoo-themed picture books!

Good Night Gorilla
“Good night, Gorilla,” says the weary watchman as he walks by the gorilla cage on his nightly rounds at the zoo. The gorilla answers by quietly pickpocketing the guard’s keys, stealthily trailing him, and unlocking the cages of every animal the oblivious fellow bids goodnight to… Just a great book.

ZooBorns: Zoo Babies from Around the World
ZooBorns is a fun website that shows images of newborn animals from zoos and aquariums around the world. So you can imagine how the cuteness intensifies in their book for small children! On each page, your child will be introduced to a different animal by their name and breed. Be sure to visit ZooBorns the website, too! Just be aware that you may spend hours photo and video surfing…

Life Size Zoo
Acclaimed wildlife photographer Toyofumi Fukuda visited Japan’s premier zoos to capture remarkably vivid and detailed close-up photographs of 21 animals, from pandas and meerkats to giraffes, rhinos, and elephants (adult and baby) in this modern, gorgeous book. Perfect for animal lovers of all ages, this educational book features fun facts and eye-spy games!

The Great Escape from the City Zoo
When an anteater, an elephant, a turtle, and a flamingo go over the wall at City Zoo, the adventure begins!  Told with the flair of a 1930s Hollywood drama, this clever romp follows the heroic foursome as they take up the fugitive’s life among humans. Your young toddler or preschooler might not always get the humor, but your kindergartener? Definitely.

Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships
What makes a camel friends with a Vietnamese pig? Or a wild polar bear pals with a sled dog? In this young preschool book, Catherine Thimmesh makes us wonder at the truth and mystery of unlikely animal friendships. This book also expresses tolerance of differences and will makes your preschooler look at the kindness of animals—and humans—a little differently.

At the Zoo: A Lift The Flap Shadow Book
A playful way to encourage hand-eye coordination along with animal identification. This book features multiple lift-the-flap pictures, plus simple text labels with the corresponding words, helping to develop word and picture association. Minimalist modern design, too.

Have others to share? Please leave a comment!


DIY Penguin Game

Do your kids love KneeBouncers’ Frozen Numbrrrrrrrssss counting game? Bring their favorite game to life with this fun adaptation. It works not only on their counting, but fine motor skills, too.

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Extend the Play: Dino Dig

Is your little palenotologist crazy for KneeBouncers’ Dinosaur Shape Match Game? Then try this DIY Dinosaur Shape Dig table top game. It’s a clever mash up of sensory play and shape identification — and helps extend the play!

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