Playing with animal figurines is not only fun but beneficial for a child.
There are a number of ways this traditional toy can bring new and engaging fun to playtime while also growing. When playing with animals, most kids like to use it as pretend play with family or friends. This helps practice verbalization and language skills. In addition, pretend play helps spark creativity and imagination. One of the best parts about animal figurines is children can play with these toys in different ways while learning about the animal kingdom.
Completing a Collection
Collecting all of the animal figurines in the animal kingdom or from a region of the world makes for a fun hobby for children. These collectibles are built to play so the toys can be used for both pretend play and building a collection. Some kids (and adults!) enjoy collecting specific brands or lines of toys like Breyer Horses.
Learn About the Animal Kingdom
With animal figurines, kids can learn about the names, natural habitat, or behaviors of animals in the real world. Match the figurine to names or images for early childhood learning or sort the animals by herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore for something more challenging. Some kids like to sort the animal figurines by farm and domestic animals versus the wild animals. Learning about the whole animal kingdom has never been easier or more hands-on!
Build With Animal Figurines
Kids can use the animal figures to build dioramas with detailed scenery like grass and trees or even a pond. Use popsicle sticks to make fences. This can make playtime even more special or be used as a project. For early childhood, my favorite was adding play dough to make scenery and little people or even just make imprints on the play dough.
If you have some arctic animals you can freeze some water and make your own arctic circle to play in. Reindeer, polar bears and arctic foxes are all welcome! You can even freeze some of the animals in the ice to create an arctic dig for the kids. Using some tools, playtime is now developing fine motor skills and lasts for hours of fun!
Sensory Bins and Bottles
Add some sensory stimulation by using animal figures in a sensory bin or bottle. Use a shallow plastic bin and masking tape to create a “maze” on the bottom of the inside of the bin with “start” and “finish” written on either end of the maze. Then cover the bottom of the bin with dry beans, rice, or lentils and add animal figurines! The texture from the animal figurines with the sand-like sensation from the dried beans adds stimulation. Kids can race the animals through the maze as they try to find their way. Similarly, a sensory bottle can be made by using a large plastic bottle and filling it with animal figurines and dry beans or sand. Kids can close their eyes and try to guess which animal they have in their hands or just enjoy the sensory experience.
To get started with any of these fun, playtime activities all you need are a few animal figurines. We have a large selection of animal figurines at Whistle Stop Hobby & Toy in St. Clair Shores including brands like Safari, Schleich, and Breyer. Stop in today or shop online to start your own animal collection!