My children love to play “what if?” right now, and it’s a fun game. It has lead us on amazingly imaginative journeys to lands made up of food and skies that never rained. One of my favorite authors is also known for his amazingly imaginative journeys – Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. And one of his stories – “If I Ran the Zoo” – fits into my children’s flights of fantasy really well. Here is an “If I Ran the Zoo” crazy animal creation activity.
For those who may not be familiar with this story, here is a brief synopsis.
“If I Ran the Zoo” is a short story about a young boy who is finishing up a day at the zoo. He compliments the zoo keeper saying that the zoo is a nice zoo, but that he’d change a few things if he were in charge. The story, in classic Seuss-ian ways, takes the reader on an adventure finding new creatures all over the globe. There are ten legged lions, flusterds, and an Iota – with fantastical drawings for each animal. It’s a fun story to read to young children because they find the differing animals so fascinating. The art work is, of course, fabulous. The verse is fun to read, but tricky in a few places, though not as bad as “Fox in Socks”.
The book’s been fun to read to my children and I like stopping and letting them talk about the way the animals all look. Today, I took it one step further, and after reading the story, had them make their own zoos.
When setting up this activity, first find zoo animal clip art that you would like to use.
Two copies of the zoo animal clip art per child
One copy of the zoo background per child. Click here for the background.
One glue stick per child
One pair of scissors per child
What to do:
This is a simple craft exploration activity, so there is only a tiny bit of structure. Basically, tell the children participating that it’s their turn to create their own crazy animals for their zoos. Instruct them to cut out the animals and cut them apart however they’d like. Then, glue them back together again and create new animals for their zoo. Then have them glue the new animals onto their zoo.
This was a fun activity, and with a little encouragement, the creations can be quite fantastical – just like in the story. The cutting might be difficult for children under age 5, so be prepared to scaffold for younger children. We had a lot of fun with our creations, but didn’t get to create very many animals because we ran out of time. We’ll work on it again to make more creatures in our zoo.