Veterinary Dramatic Play

Guess what we did today!  Lately the girls have been obsessed with playing with their stuffed animals so I decided to set up a veterinary office in their playroom for after we finished school.


We’ve always done child-directed activities so I’ve DSCN1286never actually set up something like this ahead of time.  If you know my girls in real life you know that they have no shortage of imagination (my mom would tell you that their whole life is dramatic play) so it just didn’t really occur to me sooner.  But this was super easy and considering the happy reaction, we will definitely be doing this again.  So here is our veterinary office using only supplies we already had on hand….



For our tables I used TV trays (we received some kid-sized ones a few years ago).  I covered one with a small table cloth to make it an examination table.  And laundry baskets came in very handy for additional set-up.

Medical supplies we used:
  • Toy doctor kit laid out
  • Our microscope (to examine test results)
  • Plastic gloves (We don’t have any real ones but luckily I had some from my hair dying kit that worked just fine.)
  • Package of old gauze bandages (These come in every first aid kit we’ve ever gotten and I think we’ve only used them once.)
  • An ace bandage (I ended up letting the girls cut it into pieces to fit their animals and dolls so it looks like I will be buying another one.)
  • Clipboards with recording forms attached and pencils


And I added:
  • Laundry baskets to serve as kennels for patients
  • Baby doll bathtub to wash the animals
  • A receptionist space with their cash register and play phone and some appointment slips I found online
  • Obviously all the animal accessories the girls have

It immediately became a very busy office


Desk where clients pay and records are updated

Desk where clients pay and records are updated

We found great printables at:

I printed out all the different forms so that they could see which ones they liked.


So it looks like we will be playing vet for awhile…

All of their customers waiting to be seen!

All of their customers waiting to be seen!


I loved the teamwork!

I loved the teamwork!

Foam Animal Pets

foam lizardHave you seen those foam animals on the wire leashes that you can buy at the fair?  (Our county fair is going on right now.)  My husband loves them.  He’ll deny it but he does.  Unfortunately our dog also loves them.  Instead of shelling out the money for a foam animal that our dog might easily destroy, Ed decided that he would make his own.  The girls joined in and we happily added two more pets to our family.

Supplies: foam sheet (for a seat cushion, available at a fabric store), wire hanger, paint, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, twist tie or rubber band

  1. Draw the body for your animal.  Ed started with a template made of cardstock which he traced onto the foam.  The lizard and the snake both used essentially the same body.  Then cut out the foam body.P1020705
  2. Paint your pet.  The foam will suck up the paint so just know that you will use a lot and it will take awhile to dry.
  3. Once dry, use the twist tie or rubber band to separate out the head.  Add the googly eyes and other decorations.  If you are making a lizard.  Add the pipe cleaner legs–just bend them to leg shape and wrap them onto the body.  We doubled up on the pipe cleaners to make the legs even stronger and next go around will probably use 4 pipe cleaners twisted together to make the legs.
  4. Stretch out the hanger and attach it to the neck piece.  You can also attach the hanger directly to the leg pieces (this is what we’ve done on our second bath of lizards).  Ed cut down the hanger to make it fit the girls’ size.
  5. Enjoy making your new pet walk or slither around!



Zoo Bingo

Last weekend we met up with my parents at the Phoenix Zoo.  We all had a blast!  Since the trip, the girls and I have played our zoo bingo game.  When the girls were younger, I made a simple bingo board of some Zoo Bingoof the animals at our zoo.  Since then I expanded the board to include 16 squares.

Click here for Zoo Bingo Boards

To play, I just print out an extra board that I cut into pieces and then draw the squares out of a bag so we know which ones to mark.  I also used a scrapbooking punch to make a bunch of bingo dots.

Of course, it’s great to make your own game special to your local zoo.  I used pictures from our zoo’s website as well as their Facebook page.


Our theme this week has been Bats and Baseball.

One of their bats hanging from their birthday banner

While we’ve also been doing baseball activities and the letter B, for now here are our bat activities.  We have made bats, learned bat facts, sang songs, and will soon be going to watch bats.  Apparently our zoo got the memo because they are having Bat Day this Saturday and next week we are going to a museum program under a bridge to look at bats.  We also walked around the room flapping our arms and pretending to be bats quite a bit this week and since many bats eat insects we played our Swat the Bug game (I love getting more use out of activities).  Maybe we have learned too much about bats–last night when going to sleep Mia kept insisting a bat was flying around her room eating insects.

Hanging Bats

My sister came up with this craft and it is adorable!  She really wanted the girls to make a bat that could hang upside down and hopefully we did it justice.

Supplies: toliet paper or 1/2 a paper towel roll, Styrofoam ball, construction paper, googly eyes, pipe cleaner, paint, hot glue gun,

I had the girls paint the ball and cardboard roll separately.  Then we glued all the pieces together once they were dry.  My plan was actually to paint them black and then cover all of it with glitter paint, but I’m trying to not buy more craft supplies and we didn’t have black paint.  So we went with brown paint and the girls liked playing with them so we never got around to sparkles.

Hand and Feet Bats

We definitely need to do more hand/footprint crafts because the girls thought tracing their hands and feet was hilarious.  We made these to remember two of our main bat facts that involve bats’s hands and feet: bats hang by their feet and their hands (and arms) make their wings.

Bat Calling

To call bats, have everyone lay down in a circle.  Go around the circle taking turns clapping.  The first time you clap once and then each person in the circle claps once.  The next time, two, etc.  Go up to about 10 and then come down again.  It should cause bats to fly down around you.  Now when the girls did this it didn’t work at all but they just clapped a whole bunch.  🙂  But when my Girl Scout troop did this years ago it really did work.

Echolocation Game

To learn that bats use sound in order to “see,” blind fold the little ones.  Stand a little ways away and shake a rattle or other instrument.  Have the kids come to the sound of the rattle.  Depending on the age you can decide how far to stand.

Bat Music

When we trying the echolocation game, the girls decided that everyone needed a rattle which quickly devolved into a jam session.  They played their instruments while I sang our bat songs over and over.  When I tried to stop singing, Zoe handed me a microphone and told me to keep singing.  🙂

Bats Are Sleeping (Tune:Frere Jacques)
Bats are sleeping, bats are sleeping
Upside down, Upside down,
Sleeping in the morning sun, Waiting for the night to come
Then they’ll fly around, then they’ll fly around

The other song the girls loved was one of my Girl Scout camp songs.

Bats Eat Bugs
Bats eat bugs, they don’t eat people
Bats eat bugs, they don’t fly in your hair
Bats eat bugs, they eat insects for dinner
That’s why they’re flying up there.

For the most part we just sang the bat chorus but the rest of the song is great too, encouraging comfort in the wilderness.  You can find the complete lyrics here.

Felt Board Story

It’s been awhile since we’ve done the felt board but it was fun to break it out again and the girls seemed to really enjoy playing with it again.  For a print out of all the songs and poems, click here: Bats Songs/Poems

Five Bats

Five black bats ready to soar
One stayed behind, now theer are four.
Four black bats hanging from a tree;
One fell down, now there are three.
Three black bats wondering what to do,
One flew away and now there are two.
Two black bats sitting in the sun
One fell asleep leaving only one.
One lonesome bat, with no place to go,
Went hiding in a cave, Now there are zero.

Little Bats
1 little bat was trying to behave.
He hung upside down from his feet in a cave.
Another bat flew in, and said, “How do you do?”
The second joined the first, and then there were 2!

2 little bats were trying to behave.
They hung upside down from their feet in a cave.
To help pass the time, they sang “Do re me”
Another bat joined the song, and then there were 3.

3 little bats were trying to behave
They hung upside down from their feet in a cave
From their cave perch, they looked down at the floor,
A new bat joined the game, and then there were 4.

4 little bats were trying to behave.
They hung upside down from their feet in a cave.
One little bat zoomed inside and did a dive.
He stayed to take a rest, and with him there were 5.

Zoo Bingo for Toddlers

We just had a fabulous day at our local zoo, Reid Park Zoo, checking out their brand new elephant exhibit, Expedition Tanzania.  For those of you who live in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit out there.  We loved seeing the baby elephants!  In honor of our visit to the zoo, I wanted to share our zoo bingo game.  It would also make a good matching game for children who aren’t ready for bingo.

I made bingo boards for us using pictures of the animals at our zoo.  While you are welcome to use our boards, I think the game is a lot more fun if you use pictures of the animals at your own zoo.  I got my picture off of our zoo’s website and their Facebook page.  But of course you could even take your own.

I made the board with only nine spaces and the girls only needing to get three in a row to “win.”  Since this was our first bingo game and they are only two I wanted to start small.  I also am starting with only nine animals so that all the animals are on every game board, just in a different position.  I didn’t think we were ready for the frustration of looking for an animal that’s not on their board.  My plan is to make more game boards as they get bigger or board with the game and add in more animals.

For our bingo markers, I just used circles I cut with my scrapbooking tools, but you could also use pennies or just squares of paper.  And I thought it would be cute to have ZOO at the top over the columns, but didn’t do that with mine because we’ve been practicing spelling our names and I knew that Mia would be very disappointed to see all the boards with basically Zoe’s name on them.  But if you don’t have a Zoe (or only have a Zoe) you could put Z-O-O over each column to make it more like Bingo.

To call out the animals, I printed an extra game board and cut out the squares.  Then we draw the animal cards out of the bag.  And of course, I laminated the call out squares and the bingo boards so they’ll last longer.  I also printed them out on cardstock to make them stronger.

So far, we’ve had a lot of fun playing the game and the girls get to practice taking turns and following the rules of the game. We also talk about the animals while we play–where they live, which is bigger, what they might eat, how the mamas take care of the babies. And I like that they can start to see the connection between the words and what they represent.

Here are our animals boards: Zoo Bingo
You can also generate bingo games here; however, for this activity I personally prefer to have real pictures of the animals as opposed to the clipart. And like I said, I like it being the animals that we actually see.

Of course I need to include some pictures from the zoo…

And here are some of our favorite books after a visit to the zoo…

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