If I Ran the Zoo

If I Ran the Zoo

If You Ran the Zoo… what animals would you want to have in your zoo? We’ve created some wild activities for you that all have a Zoo theme. These activities include things that will help your child develop fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving and engineering skills, and can help them engage in cooperative play, while fostering creativity and perseverance. Each theme also comes with recommended literature and movie connections. Feel free to throw in your own activities that might relate, and don’t forget to post your results to social media and tag @discoverymuse to share with everyone else! 

Art Activity/Fine Motor Activity – Zoo Masks

For this activity, you’ll need to gather some paper plates, scissors, popsicle sticks, coloring materials, construction paper, and tape or glue.


  • Cut eye-shaped holes (using your own face for some guidance) for your mask.
  • Tape or glue the popsicle stick at the bottom for a handle.
  • Choose which animal you will be designing.
  • Add color, paper elements or anything else you think will make your mask just right.
  • Make masks for your whole family and act out a silly zoo play.
Science Experiment – Zoo Planning

Create a zoo of your own! Sketch out your design on a large piece of paper. Use crayons, colored pencils or other coloring tools to bring you design to life. Make sure to design a habitat for each animal. Plan out the animals’ spaces and consider what they need for safety. How can you keep them safely enclosed, but still visible? What do the animals enjoy doing with their time? Should you include some water for them to swim in? Any toys you think they would enjoy? Should you include a den for them to hide? What trees/bushes and plants should you include from their natural habitat? This is a lot of information, so maybe you want to create your own zoo planning manual?!

Physical Activity

Get some of those wiggles out while learning a little about how your body moves, as well as thinking about what animals you might see at the zoo!

Zoo Yoga

Follow along with Ms. Jen for a yoga session where we can stretch our body and pretend to be zoo animals. Some of the poses are actually named after the zoo animals! Can you do them all? Can you add some of your own?

Zoo Charades

Try a game of charades – using animals from the zoo! Have one person demonstrate a different animal species, maybe by its walk, its size or its behavior. See if everyone else can guess it from the clues. If they are having a hard time, add a noise the animal might make.

Conversation Starters and Research Questions
  • If you bought a zoo what animals would you include?  Which animals would be easy to keep and which ones would be more challenging?  Which animals probably couldn’t live here in Virginia?  
  • What would be different about your life if you owned a zoo? 
Videos and Websites
Movie/Literature Connection:

Because we know you’re stuck at home with limited access to movies and books, we tried to compile a list that connects to today’s theme that you might already have in your collection or be able to access online. These include:


  • We Bought a Zoo
  • Zootopia
  • Madagascar
  • Zookeeper
  • The Wild

Books (click the title to view a read-aloud video):