The Learning Resources® Jumbo Pets set has been such a staple in our play over the past year. The larger size of the animals, combined with their excellent quality and durability, has meant that we have enjoyed lots of creative adventures with the dog, cat, fish, rabbit, guinea pig, and bird. In this series of blogs, we share some fun and unusual ways to use your Jumbo Pets to keep the play creative and engaging. Let’s see how we can enjoy some fresh and fun activities with the Jumbo Dog.
Activity 1 Set-Up: Dog Feeding Tray Water Transfer
Does your child love water play like mine does? At first glance, this activity might seem way too dull or straightforward, but sometimes it’s the simpler ones that are the most engaging. I found this cute dog bone-shaped feeding tray at Dollar Tree and paired it up with the Jumbo Dog, some water, and a Learning Resources Twisty Dropper™.
I intentionally didn’t give any instructions to my four-year-old and just let her explore the setup. She naturally started transferring the water from the full side to the empty side of the tray. This was great for her fine motor skills, helping to work those little hand muscles hard to prepare for writing in future years. She also liked that she could make a few bubbles appear if she squirted the water hard into the tray. After a while, she chose to switch her focus to playing with the dog. She carefully let the dog drink from the tray and even attempted to wash his fur, too—fun for sensory exploration and imaginative play.
Activity 2 Set-Up: Dog Bone Count & Transfer Activity
Continuing along with our focus on using those all-important fine motor skills to transfer materials, this setup adds in some numeracy work. I used a Jumbo Dog, a dog treat container from Dollar Tree, a feeding bowl from the pet store, some Learning Resources Jumbo Science® Jumbo Tweezers™, and repurposed our Party City Halloween bones as dog bone treats. I also included the two-dice dotted Dice Popper!
The idea of this setup was to simply fill the dog’s bowl with bone treats by popping the dice and using the tweezers to transfer that many bones into the dog’s dish. This was challenging for my preschooler as she needed to add the two dice values together. I chose to use the two-dice popper for this reason, and she enjoyed the challenge. Plus, it meant that the dog’s bowl was piled high with bones much faster! The bones were a little tricky to pick up with the tweezers, and it was great to see my preschooler having to problem solve when they kept slipping out. She soon realized she had to pick them up in a certain way to transfer them securely. You could also play this as a two-player game, taking it in turns to pop the dice and fill separate bowls with the bones.
It always surprises me how long younger children will happily spend transferring materials from one place to another. Simplicity for the win! These activities enabled plenty of fine motor work and counting and even some sensory exploration with the water as well.