Wednesday, January 8, 2014

HomePlay Idea - Zoo Animal Cage

We had a quite a brainstorm going on coming up with a zoo-themed HomePlay idea.  This one came about thanks to our wonderful four-/five-year-old teachers who thought a cage for their toy animals was definitely needed!  Here's how we did it...

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Materials:
  • small box (but large enough for toy animals to fit in)
  • paint, markers, crayons to decorate the box
  • yarn
  • yarn needle (or see below how to create a "needle" from a pipe cleaner)
  • screwdriver

Directions:

Cut a piece out of the front of the box, making sure to leave room on all four sides.  You'll have to punch holes along the top and bottomBe sure to make the opening on a side that will be easy for your child to put an animal in and out.  Our opening is on the back.  Depending on how your box opens, you may need to cut a door out of one side.

pa-paw patch, zoo theme, preschool zoo theme, vale nc daycare, vale nc childcare, diy, kid's zoo crafts
This shows about how big our box is.

pa-paw patch, zoo theme, preschool zoo theme, vale nc daycare, vale nc childcare, diy, kid's zoo crafts
Here's how our box opens.
pa-paw patch, zoo theme, preschool zoo theme, vale nc daycare, vale nc childcare, diy, kid's zoo crafts
Cut out about this much from the front of your box.

Using the screwdriver, or another pointed object, punch holes along the top and bottom, lining them up with each other.

pa-paw patch, zoo theme, preschool zoo theme, vale nc daycare, vale nc childcare, diy, kid's zoo crafts

Now it's time to decorate!  Let your children paint, color, stick on stickers, glue on sequins, whatever!  We let a few of our school-agers decorate our box with paint.

pa-paw patch, zoo theme, preschool zoo theme, vale nc daycare, vale nc childcare, diy, kid's zoo crafts

pa-paw patch, zoo theme, preschool zoo theme, vale nc daycare, vale nc childcare, diy, kid's zoo crafts

Once the box is dry, it's time to lace the yarn!  You may need to punch back down through all the holes again with the screwdriver; the paint tends to puddle in them.  Get out your yarn needle and start stringing!  If you don't have a yarn needle, you can make one!  

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Homemade Yarn Needle:

Cut a piece of pipe cleaner about 3 to 4 inches long.  Cut a piece of yarn as long as you need for your project  (for the zoo animal cage, it needs to be pretty long, probably about 4 feet).

pa-paw patch, homemade yarn needle

Tie the yarn in the middle of the pipe cleaner piece.

homemade yarn needle, pa-paw patch
 
Fold the ends of the pipe cleaner up to meet each other.  

homemade yarn needle, pa-paw patch

Twist the tips of the pipe cleaners around each other.

homemade yarn needle, pa-paw patch

Use this as a needle to thread the yarn on the zoo animal cage or with lacing cards.  Just make sure the holes are big enough for little fingers.

homemade yarn needle, pa-paw patch


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Lace the yarn through the holes, up and down, to create bars on your animal cage.

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Here's our finished animal cage!

pa-paw patch, zoo theme, preschool zoo theme, vale nc daycare, vale nc childcare, diy, kid's zoo crafts

The kids in the four-/five-year-old room wasted no time sticking a tiger into the cage!  The teachers put the cage with several different zoo animals in a basket for table toy play.  It's a hit already!  

pa-paw patch, zoo theme, preschool zoo theme, vale nc daycare, vale nc childcare, diy, kid's zoo crafts
  
pa-paw patch, zoo theme, preschool zoo theme, vale nc daycare, vale nc childcare, diy, kid's zoo crafts

Make one for your house and have zoo play for a long time!

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