Pondering Playtime // Dear Zoo and Zoo themed sensory tuff spot

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Welcome back to Pondering Playtime, my fortnightly series where I share a favourite picture book and a craft or play activity to go with it. This week, I’ve chosen Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell*, and a tuff spot sensory activity to go alongside it.

Dear Zoo sensory tuff spot, Dear Zoo tuff tray, Dear Zoo play activity, Dear Zoo learning activity

Dear Zoo – What’s the Story?

Dear Zoo is a lift-the-flap story of a request for a pet, sent to the zoo. Each page of the book reveals a different animal that the zoo has sent, but isn’t quite right. Will the zoo ever send the perfect pet?

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Dear Zoo – Zoo Themed Sensory Tuff Spot

We haven’t had the tuff spot out since our icy Lost and Found polar activity, so I thought I’d do a zoo themed sensory tuff spot to go with Dear Zoo. I know it looks like a lot of work, but it was actually really simple. I used Jenga blocks to create the different ‘zones’, then used rice, split peas and lentils to create the different coloured sensory areas. I also used artificial grass samples for the zebra and giraffes, and strips of cardboard for the bear ‘enclosure’. The bears’ ‘cave’ is the tunnel out of M’s Brio train set. Lastly, I used cotton wool balls to create the polar zone! I’ve made a little video to show you the zones in more detail.

You will need:

  • Tuff Spot
  • Plastic zoo animals
  • Rice, lentils, split peas etc.
  • Jenga pieces – although you could easily use pieces of train track or play farm fences if you have them, or even nothing at all – the different colours and textures will provide separation of the different ‘zones’.
  • Artificial grass pieces – lots of artificial grass suppliers offer these free of charge.
  • Cotton wool balls
  • Plastic trees, rocks or anything else that you can find that will fit the theme!

Dear Zoo Tuff Tray

Dear Zoo – What M thought

We’ve had a copy of Dear Zoo since M was tiny, so she’s grown up with it. She still picks it out of her book box to read, though, and loves lifting the flaps and making the sounds of the animals. It’s been lovely to see how she’s progressed from a basic, “raaaaarrrr!” for the lion (and some of the other animals, too!) to being able to make the sounds of most of them. Although, if anyone can tell me what noise a giraffe actually makes, that would be great!

I think this has probably been M’s favourite tuff spot activity so far. She loved feeling the different textures, running them through her fingers and pouring them onto the rug! M got really stuck in and actually ended up sitting in the middle of the tuff tray at one point, when she usually sticks to the edges. Definitely a winning activity!

zoo tuff spot

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If you enjoyed this, you can find more Pondering Playtime activities here, and you might like to join my Early Years craft and activity Facebook group; Play Craft, Explore. We’d love to have you! And don’t forget to pin it!

Dear Zoo Sensory Tuff Spot - a great zoo themed tuff spot touch and feel EYFS activity

*Affiliate Link – I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk.

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. March 30, 2018 / 8:11 am

    Oh this is amazing and would work for a farm too. Our tuff spot was packed away for the winter. I think I might get it out

    • Jules
      March 30, 2018 / 8:44 am

      Yep I am planning a farm one for later in the year! Ours is permanently out in the living area of our kitchen at the moment.

  2. April 3, 2018 / 10:24 am

    I can’t tell you how much I love this Jules, this is absolutely amazing! We haven’t got a tuff spot (but really want one) so I’m going to buy one today and give this a go! x

    • Jules
      April 3, 2018 / 11:20 am

      Feel free to use my affiliate link 😉 I can highly recommend getting one with a stand x

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