Stuffed Animal Activities, Toy Bag and Books

Friday, September 2, 2011

I’ll admit, I used to be a stuffed animal hater. I didn’t like them much growing up and as a parent I thought they just collected dust. But my kids have loved playing with their animals.  Here are some of the things we’ve done.

Our local library had a sleepover party for stuffed animals this past month. Kids were invited to drop off their animal Friday night and come back Saturday morning to watch a slide show of what the animals did during the night.
Too Many Toys - If you’re anything like us, stuffed animals have taken over the house.  Our Dr. Seuss characters alone filled our nightly reading spot. How could we choose which animals would go on the sleepover?
Surrounded by Dr. Seuss Stuffed Animal Toys
My kids finally picked these 3 as they lucky ones to go on the library sleepover.
Click here to see the video the library put together of photos from the sleepover. The animals got to roast s’mores, ride the elevator, read books about themselves and brush their teeth to prep for bed. The pics are so cute and the kids giggled through the whole slide show, especially when they saw their own animal featured.

10 Ways to Play with Stuffed Animals:
  • Librarian/Storytime – Find toys that match book characters (like the Cat in the Hat). Have your child hold the toy when you read the book. Let kids connect and play with the character during reading time. If they are old enough, let them read to the animal.
  • Zoo Keeper - Sort the animals into categories (monkeys, elephants, etc.), then kids get to take you on a tour of their zoo.
  • Tea Party – Set up all the dishes just for the animals and let the party begin. See our party here.
  • Veterinarian – Kids get to be the animal doctor and fix their toys
  • Dog Catcher – Get a butterfly net and let your kids try scooping up the toy you tell them to catch.
  • Circus – Have the lions and tigers and cats jump through hula hoops and your kids can ride on the elephants.
  • Photographer – Let your kids pose the animals doing silly things then practice taking pictures with the digital camera (great teaching opportunity with a still object, talk about lighting and the rule about not cutting off limbs - and you can always hit delete).
  • Parade – Put the animals in a wagon and take them on a walk around the block.
  • Animal Safari- Hide a few of their animals around the house and help them find them by giving them clues.
  • Puppet Shows – who says you have to be able to stick your hand inside and move their mouth? Just stick up a spring-loaded curtain rod in the hallway, pin a blanket around the top and use stuffed animals to put on a show.
Stuffed Animal Picture Buddy:
We picked a stuffed animal to be in a weekly photo series we took of each of our children. It is so fun to see how much they grew and compare their size to the stuffed animal. After doing this three times I would recommend the following:
  • Find a toy about 20 inches tall so they start out about the same size (many babies are between 18-21 inches long at birth).
  • Take your photo in the same spot or with the same backdrop each week
  • Line the animal’s feet up with your babies feet so you can see your child get taller (I really wish we would have done this).

To corral all of our stuffed animals I made these toy bean bags for my kids this past Christmas.  It has a mesh window and a drawstring opening so they can take their animals in and out. Filling it with stuffed animals makes them soft to sit on so it becomes a functional chair in their room.
See the stuffed animals peeking out of the mesh windows?
I just found my Dr. Seuss fleece fabric (I bought several years ago) and whipped up this bag in 20 minutes today, without the window.
Click here to see how to make your own bag.
AUG 11 BLOG9-1 
Linking Life to Literacy LO june 11 Books about Taming the Toys:
We just found The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room at the thrift store yesterday for 50 cents.

Another favorite is David Shannon’s Too Many Toys . See my post about this book here.

A funny book we love is Pigsty by Mark Teague.

What kind of things do you like to do with stuffed animals?
Victoria Signature 11

More fun ideas here:
Thirty Hand Made DaysJoin  us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!Tip Junkie handmade projects


Jackie said...

I love the idea of taking a picture of a stuffed animal next to your baby every six months. So cute!

Kathryn said...

I absolutely LOVE the idea of the stuffed animal baby pictures!

When I was a kid we had stuffed animal beauty pageants (clipping paper towel hair to the ears with bobby pins for long flowing locks) and my son would like to act out movies he liked with them. They also made wonderful patrons in a play restaurant as our Mom was a waitress (the ideal customer-never complained!).

He is 18 and no longer plays with his stuffed toys, but while other items are quick to go in the box to Goodwill when he has outgrown them, the stuffies remain.

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