22 Fun Jungle Themed Activities For Your Toddler
This July Aryan and I went on a little Jungle adventure, where we discovered some of his favourite animals – Lilo the Lion, Sally the Snake, Myra the monkey and Ellie the Elephant. Each week one of our new friends taught us a little bit more about themselves while we had fun learning and developing some crucial fine motor, gross motor and sensory motor skills. We are so excited to share our fun, little adventure with all of you now. So come on now, meet our very first friend Lilo the Lion.
Every morning Lilo the Lion took us on a little Lion hunt outside. Lilo the Lion is very brave and he taught us not to be scared. It was so much fun to chop the grass, splash in the puddles, run over our imaginary bridge and tippy toe into the dark dark cage. We got this poem/song from Children Loves to Sing – https://childrenlovetosing.com/kids-action-song/were-going-on-a-lion-hunt/
Activity 1 – Poems and songs are important since it helps with language development, creative language skills, creativity, writing skills, self expression and the development of natural rhythms. We also used this poem/song as our gross motor activity. I took Aryan outside and together we looked for the grass and went down on our knees to chop it, we jumped in “puddles” , we walked over the bridge with high knees and tipy toed into the cave and sing-sing, play-play we worked on those gross motor skills.
Lilo the Lion also told me about his big mane and that I could hear him roar up to 8km’s away! Unfortunately lions in the wild does not live too long, they have an average life span of about 10-14 years, this made me very sad. Lilo then told me I could paint him a big, brown mane and even showed me how to make my very own lion out of clay. Lilo also taught me that he is known as the king of the Jungle and therefore he has to help other animals, just like I need to help my family and friends. I had so much fun, I didn’t even realise how hard I were working my fine motor skills.
The next couple of activities focussed on fine motor skills.
Activity 2 (Left) – Pom Pom Painting – I found a colouring picture of a lion and asked Aryan to first color his lion. Once he was done I gave him some brown paint and a pom-pom clipped into a washing peg. Aryan then had to make the Lion’s mane by dipping the pom pom into the paint and pushing it onto the mane on the paper. If he pushes the peg too hard the pom pom will fall out and if it does he is responsible to get it back in. If you have an older child you can let them pick the pom pom up using only the peg and then only paint with it. You can also use different colours of paint, each with its own pom pom, where the child then has to use the peg to pick up the pom pom of the colour of paint he/she wants to use and when done has to place it back into that colour and then only move on to the next colour.
Activity 3 (Right) – Threading Activity – I showed Aryan how to roll a ball out of clay. He then had to roll his very own ball. I also cut 1 straw and 1 pipe cleaner into smaller pieces. Aryan first had to push the pipe cleaners into the clay lion head (the ball) and then he had to thread the pieces of straw onto the pipe cleaners to make the lion’s mane.
Activity 4 – Save The animals – I taped a couple of animals to Aryan’s table (you can use any flat surface) and asked Aryan to help me save the animals. Aryan then had to remove the tape from the animals to set them free. If you have an older child you can also ask him/her to tape the animals back onto the table/surface. You can also do this activity with babies, just use larger toys.
Suddenly Lilo realised he was very hungry and ran off, but not before introducing me to Ellie Elephant. Ellie is so big and strong, but I loved her because she is super smart. Ellie told me that although Lilo thinks he is the king of the Jungle, she is the mother of the Jungle and she is so much bigger and stronger than Lilo, but shhhh. Ellie’s activities were but a few, but all of the activities focussed on everything, see I told you she’s a smarty pants! Ellie showed me how she uses her strong trunk to throw trees and how she baths herself in the river. Did you know that elephants like to clean themselves because they have sensitive skins and elephants also bath in the mud to protect their skin from being burnt by the sun?
Activity 5 – Elephant Ringtoss Game – I gave Aryan 4 paper plates (2 large ones and 2 smaller ones) and 4 different colours of paint. Aryan got to paint each of the paper plates in a different color. We left it over night to dry properly. I also gave Aryan another large paper plate to color (our elephant’s head). Aryan then got to stick eyes onto our coloured paper plate as well as a large toilet roll. The next morning I cut the insides of the painted paper plates out so that it forms a ring. We then headed outside to play a game of elephant ring toss. Aryan had to try and throw the rings over the elephants “trunk”. With the painting, colouring and sticking on of eyes and “trunk” we were focusing on fine motor skills and the elephant ring toss game was focussed on gross motor skills.
Activity 6 – Elephant’s Bath – We gave Aryan a big container filled with water (we also added some bubble bath). I also gave Aryan an empty bowl. I asked Aryan to walk around the garden, barefoot, and to collect some rocks, flowers, and leaves to add to his water because rivers are muddy and not super clean. In doing this we were focussing on sensory skills as he could feel the different textures of the grass, rocks and ground with his feet as well as the different textures of the rocks, flowers and leaves with his hands. He could also smell the flowers and dust. Once he felt like he had enough he got to mix it into his water to make his own elephant bath. The bubbles represented what happens when the elephant fills his trunk and then blows out the water when bathing. The more Aryan mixed the water the more bubbles formed. Aryan loved this activity and it kept him busy for hours! He turned the water into soup, food and even some coffee which he very eagerly served to everyone in the family.
Ellie enjoyed splashing in the water so much that she had to say goodbye to me. Along the way back I walked into Sally the sssnaaakkeee. Okay, Okay I might have accidentally walked over Sally, but I didn’t see her slithering around on the ground. Sally is beautiful, she has so many different colours and she is unlike all the other animals I saw, because she doesn’t have any legs! She slithers on her tummy, she must be very fit, because its hard work to slither around like that. I am so happy I have legs I can run and walk on. Sally also can’t bite her food so she has to swallow it whole, but she also has a very flexible jaw and this allows her to eat prey bigger than her head! Mommy said I’m not allowed to try that. I also couldn’t see Sally’s ears because unlike us she has internal ears. Snakes are such interesting reptiles. I had so much fun with Sally, she showed me how to slither around on my tummy and she helped me make my own snake so that I can hang it in my room and always remember her. She also showed me how to mix colours, blow snake bubbles and she introduced me to all of her other slimy snake friends. I had the best time!
Activity 7 – Clay Snakes – I gave Aryan some balls of clay and he had to roll them into snakes. Clay helps to develop a child’s large and small muscles , fosters hand-eye coordination and builds a child’s ability to focus/builds attention span. Clay also helps develop creativity and imagination. This activity may seem simple and unnecessary, but just look at the focus he needed to complete in the picture in the top left corner.
Activity 8 – Find the Spots – I gave Aryan a colouring picture of a snake and some “stamp koki’s” (I bought these ones at crazy store – its a koki, but at the back of it, it has a stamp). I asked Aryan to find the spots on the snake and he then had to use the koki to make a stamp inside each of the spots. Here we focussed on fine motor skills as well.
Activity 9 – Snake Skin Roller – In this activity I covered a roller with bubblewrap and secured it with some tape on each side. I gave Aryan a large bowl of green paint and a paper plate. I then showed Aryan how to dip the roller into the paint and then roll it over the paper plate to create his “snake’s skin”. Once he started losing interest I gave him a paintbrush and his snake colouring picture to paint and put his paper plate in the sun to dry.
Activity 10 – Sally the snake – Once our painted paper plate were dry, I used a marker to draw circles all over the paper plate. I then gave Aryan some stickers to stick inside each of the circles. When he was done I cut the paper plate into a spiral and added some eyes and a tongue for Aryan. I gave Aryan his snake to play with and hang in his room.
In the week of the snake, we focussed a lot on fine motor skills, because the following week we focussed on gross motor skills the majority of the time.
Activity 11 (Left) – S is for Snake – I cut a large S from an A4 sized green cardboard and drew on some eyes and a tongue. I also cut 3 different colored pipe cleaners into smaller pieces. I put some glue on the S and asked Aryan to stick the pieces of pipe-cleaner all around his S. If you have an older toddler you can let them apply the glue and then stick the pipe cleaners themselves. If you have a smaller toddler let them try by themselves, but offer assistance when needed.
Activity 12 (Right) – A snake of all colours – Here I made an S on a cardboard paper using some glue. I then asked Aryan to help me cover the glue with some salt. When we were done and the glue was covered completely I gave Aryan 3 different bowls with 3 different colours of “paint” made from water and a few drops of food colouring, each with its own “tool”. In the one bowl I placed a dropper, in the second I placed a paintbrush and in the third one I placed a syringe. I showed Aryan how to use each of the tools to “paint” his salt snake. He loved seeing how the colours spread as they touch the salt snake. This is a bit of a science activity as well. Speak to your child about all of the different colours and how they mix with each other.
Activity 13 – Slimy Snakes – I had Aryan help me make some jelly in a bowl. Once our Jelly was ready to be placed in the refrigerator I asked Aryan to drop some toy snakes into the bowl of Jelly and we then placed it into the refrigerator to set. Once the Jelly was ready I asked Aryan and his cousins to help rescue the snakes. This activity was a full on sensory activity since they could feel the texture with their hands, they could smell the Jelly (we used Cream Soda flavour), they could taste the Jelly and they could see how it changed 1. first from a liquid to a solid and 2. the texture change as they played with it. I did not add anything like spoons, etc. until they were done so that it forced them to use their hands. When they were done we gave them spoons so that they could enjoy the Jelly (or what was left of it). This activity is fun and safe for babies as well (Please never leave your child unsupervised).
Activity 14 – Snake Bubbles – This is such an easy, yet fun activity and is our go-to activity during the summer. All you need is a plastic bottle, an old sock and a bowl of soapy water. I cut the bottle in half and kept the top part that you would use to drink from. Then I pulled the sock over the open end of the bottle. I then gave Aryan the bottle and showed him how to push the sock part into the soapy water (we used dishwashing liquid) and to blow on the opposite side to form soapy snakes. Aryan loved this activity and even tried to see how long he could make the soapy snakes. You can even add some food colouring at the end of the sock to make your bubble snakes colourful. Teaching your toddler how to blow is a very important milestone, especially for speech development. It is seen as one of the best ways to exercise jaw muscles and to prepare the mouth for pronunciation.
Activity 15 – Snake Threading – Our very last snake activity was yet another fine motor threading activity. Threading has so many developmental benefits and that is why I love doing activities around threading. Threading increases concentration span, improve hand manipulation, improves bilateral coordination, and even prepares your toddler for mathematical concepts such as length, measurements, counting and patterns. For this activity I cut a pipe cleaner into half. I also cut a straw into smaller pieces. First I thread a button onto each of the ends of both the pipe cleaners to avoid him from pulling the buttons/straws right through. I then asked Aryan to thread buttons onto one half of the pipe cleaner (only pushing it through one of the holes) and the pieces of straw onto the other half to make our very own snakes. If you have an older child you can let him/her thread the pipe cleaner through both the holes in the buttons. Once we were done we used the snakes to have races and for free play. Babies can start threading by placing rings over a stick, etc.
Sally got tired from all of our hard work and needed a nap so she introduced me to our very last friend Myra the monkey. Myra was a naughty, busy little one and she just wanted to play, swing and jump outside. She showed me how to climb on trees, how to swing from the branches and how to jump my way through the busy Jungle. We even got into a bit of trouble when we played catch and splashed all of our jungle friends full of mud. Myra’s mommy said although its important to do all of the swinging, climbing and jumping, it’s also important to do some quiet time activities where we could unwind and calm down a bit. I loved playing and climbing outside with Myra! Mommy told me that monkeys love to eat a variety of foods such as fruit, insects, flowers, leaves and reptiles. Did you know that most monkeys have tails!
Activity 16 – Poem and Song – We used the itsy bitsy monkey as our poem for the week and we also used the monkey dance song as our movement song of the week ( https://youtu.be/heTzUg_eIes ). The song has such a fun, funky beat and Aryan just loved dancing to it.
Activity 17 (Left) – Monkeying around – I took an old rope and tied it onto Aryan’s jungle gym (but you can use anything like two chairs or a doorway) to form something similar to a web. Aryan then got to climb over, crawl through and jump over the rope in order to get onto his jungle gym. I also made him attempt the web from different sides and angles and gave him instructions like climb over the rope and go slide, or crawl underneath the rope and go swing. Make it fun for your little one, you can even create a little obstacle course. Climbing is such an important gross motor activity since it works almost every major muscle group in the body, and therefore it increases upper and lower body strength, and develops core stability, muscle control and balance. If you have a baby you can make him/her a little obstacle course using boxes that he/she can climb into or crawl through.
Activity 18 – Monkey Bars – We also did a lot of monkey bars throughout the week, and although Aryan still needs assistance to walk the monkey bars using his hands, he has mastered swinging like his little friend Myra. Monkey bars carry all of the benefits of climbing but also helps with holding a pencil since the grip that is used to hang on the monkey bar is the same natural grip being used to hold a pencil. Another fun fact to remember is that the fine motor skills used for writing can only develop when the gross motor skills are developed.
Activity 19 – Feed the monkey – In this activity I gave Aryan a big monkey colouring picture and asked him to colour his monkey. Off-course mama had to join in, because my little monkey does not enjoy colouring at all. Once we were done I gave him some googley eyes to stick on and some pom poms for the monkeys tail (I made little spots with glue and Aryan had to stick the pom poms to create the monkey’s tail). Once we were done, I cut the monkey out and stuck his head to an empty container (we used an empty margarine container, but you can even use a box). I then made an opening where the monkey’s mouth is. I used a couple of yellow popsicle sticks as bananas, and I cut each one in half (I also drew on little bananas with a marker.) I then asked Aryan to feed the monkey his bananas by pushing the popsicle stick through the opening I have made in the mouth. This was definitely one of Aryan’s favourite activities! Babies can do this activity as well but instead of popsicle sticks you can give them balls (just make a big round opening for them as the mouth as well). Posting activities help in developing hand-eye coordination as well as problem solving skills.
Activity 20 – Monkey bath – This was another hit with Aryan, it always is and its also a great boredom breaker, so perfect to keep in your nappy bag for trips to a restaurant or doctors office. I found a monkey colouring picture and then coloured the monkey myself, but left out certain parts such as the hands, feet, eyes, tummy, ears, mouth and then the leaves on the tree. I then used decifix to cover my picture and cut the monkey out. I gave Aryan a whiteboard marker and an old cloth. I then asked Aryan to color for example the monkey’s eyes and let him do it, and then the hands, etc. Once he coloured what I asked of him we would give the monkey a bath by wiping clean our picture with the cloth. This activity can keep Aryan entertained for hours as he colours and wipes clean his picture. If your toddler gets bored you can add different colours of white board markers. This activity also aids in developing hand-eye coordination.
The next 2 activities were done back to back and were focussed on sensory motor skills.
Activity 21 – Animal Tracks are Different – In this activity I gave Aryan 2 different colours of paint – green and brown, and a bunch of jungle animals (make sure the feet are shaped differently so that the tracks will look different). He then had to dip the animals feet into the paint and stamp them on a paper to make their tracks. We spoke about how each animal is unique and how their tracks differ from one another. I allowed him to play and paint freely.
Activity 22 – Bath the animals – When I saw that he was starting to lose interest I gave him a big tub full of water and soap and an old toothbrush and sponge and asked him to now wash all the animals using the toothbrush and sponge. Water play is always a big win and he cleaned most of the mess so #momwin as well.
Before I knew it the sun disappeared and mommy said it was time to go now. Although I had so much fun with my four new friends, I were pretty excited to head on home, because now it was time for me to take a nap. A long long nap. Learning is so much fun, I can’t wait to see where we will go next. Until next time my friends!
- Everything that was made bold indicates the materials and stationary that we used to complete that specific activity. You can also follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letterstomywildling for daily updates on activities, what you’ll need to complete a specific activity and instructions on how to do the activity.