So the Hansen house is a zoo. No not literally as we only have one pet and most of the time we keep things under control. But lately I have been experiencing visits from lions, tigers, horses, and my kids favorite, the narwhal.
It is time to admit it, my children ages (3) and (5) are obsessed with animals. They pretend they are animals, they draw animals, they play with anything related to animals, and they are sponges when it comes to learning about animals. I am fascinated and love this recent trend in their play. I can turn any moment into a great open-ended play experience by suggesting an animal, teaching them about the animal, and then showing them a picture. The next hour turns into an adventure of pretend play, usually with some art involved by drawing the animal, and lots of bizarre attempts at duplicating the animals sounds.
So why the recent love affair with animals? I have to suspects all the visits to the zoo, their great animal toys, and a grasp of each animal having their own distinct characteristics fascinates my kids. I would venture to say some of this has to do with my older child understanding each creature on earth is unique in its own way, just like her, and the fascination with these differences. Animals in their own right, have super powers. Whether it is a cheetah who can run as fast as a car or a hawk that has sight super powers, my children are amazed at these unique traits of animals.
Whatever the reason for this recent spike in love for animals, I love the learning opportunities. Animals give my children a direction for open-ended play, a chance to learn some research skills, and inspiration for art. My advice for any parents or grandparents with children looking for a great play activity is to suggest a little animal play. Teaching children about animals and then releasing the kids into the wild, can create hours of stimulating play.