- Reference books
- Stuffed or toy animals
If your child can't visit the zoo often enough to suit him or her, why not bring the zoo to your living room? And best of all, your child can be the zookeeper.
The zookeeper is responsible, first of all, for gathering the animals (use plastic or stuffed animals, if available, or cut pictures from magazines). Once the animals are in place, the zookeeper gathers information about them from encyclopedias and whatever other reference materials you have handy. Kids with reading skills can serve as reference "librarians" for their younger siblings.
Using his or her knowledge of the animals' habits, preferences, lifestyles, and the like, your child creates habitats for them (perhaps by drawing a scenic poster or strategically scattering appropriate props and pictures). When the animals are comfortable in their new homes, your child creates a placard for each, including such details as the animals' native countries, what they like to eat, how to care for them, and so on.
When the preliminary work is finished, the zookeeper can point out the zoo's highlights to "tourists." Whoever said that if you've seen one zoo, you've seen 'em all?