Kingston is a little love. He cannot resist squeezing each and every furry animal he sees. He also loves to feel different textures. His favorite books have always been of the "touch and feel" variety and he loves any and every sensory activity. For our zoo unit, I knew I had to create something for him that showcased the wonderful textures within the animal kingdom. So, I came up with the idea to make him an Animal Texture Board. I found all kinds of different animal skin textures at Hobby Lobby and cut them to size. Then I glued them to a foamcore board and labeled them according to which animal they came from.
On our board we have tiger, cow which is leathery, zebra which has raised velvety stripes, snake which feels exactly like snake skin, giraffe which has furry raised spots, bear which is pure fur, and leopard which has raised velvety spots. On Wednesdays we have started to go to Infant Storytime at the library and have a play date after, so Kingston had his friend Olivia over to join in the activity. You may remember little Olivia from our very first activity post - Baby's First Valentine's Day Party! They are exactly 4 weeks apart.
Before they went down for their nap, I set the animal texture board out on the floor for them to explore! Kingston's interest was immediately peaked and he scrambled over to sink his hands into it. Can you guess which one he was drawn to first? The bear of course!
Kingston ran his fingers through the bear's glossy coat for a few seconds before Olivia followed suit and joined in! She also felt the furry texture of the bear. I said the name of each animal as they explored them. For the bear, I made sure to say "HIII BEAR!" so that Kingston knew what he was dealing with. He made the connection right away and started waving at the fur pelt. Is that morbid? Oh well!
While Livvy-Loo played with her Mama, Kingston took the opportunity to explore the board by himself. He plopped right in the center of it, sticking his little toesies into the fur. He wiggled his toes while he felt the other textures. He stayed in the center of the board for quite awhile, pivoting and feeling as he went.
Then he started doing some animal crawling moves (way to incorporate gross motor skills right)! It was like a Zoo version of Twister! "Left hand on giraffe, right hand on cow, both feet on bear." Check!
Liv decided to come back and join in the fun, and they both took a closer look at the cow. Sensory activities are always more exciting with a friend! I made sure to make all of the animal noises also as they explored. I love the picture below. I can just imagine Kingston saying, "And this here is the cow. The cow says Moooooo!" and Olivia is saying, "Oh yes, I know this cow you speak of. Quite a fine specimen here!"
After they explored the cow, Olivia took another close look at the leopard. She thought it's velvety spots were hilarious!!
Kingston finished out our sensory activity by teaching us a thing or two about animals himself. Pictured below is a Wild Panda Butt of New England. They are a very rare breed known mostly for their red hair and two bottom teeth. Careful though, they are known to bite!