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This game couldn’t be simpler to set up and is great fun for as many children you have lying around! Winking smile Any age (once walking), any ability, anywhere! We opted for the great outdoors but it would also suit a birthday party or play date – anywhere with mixed age/like age children.  We had 3.9 year old J, 1.11 year old E and just 1 year old G.

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To make the game, all I needed was an empty box (I used a nappy box), some paper, a printer (or artistic person) and some tape.

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For each face of the box, I printed off an animal.  I chose a gorilla, a horse, a butterfly, a rabbit, a snake and a hen.  I chose these for the variations of their movements and sounds they make…

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Once I’d printed off the animals, I stuck one to each side of the box; rather like a large animal die.  There is no reason you couldn’t draw the animals, it was just quicker this way!

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To play the game, I explained that they needed to roll the die and whatever animal was facing up, they had to move and make the noise in the style of that animal!  All of this allowed for a fun gross motor workout, exercise in the fresh air, early phonics skills for little E and G… making everyday sounds is the first stage to phonics and LOTS of FUN!  We had galloping horses…

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… slithering snakes…

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… hopping rabbits…Mixed Age Animal Fun7

… gorillas who beat their chests…

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…  strutting hens and fluttering butterflies!

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As well as the ‘acting like animals’ to workout their gross motor skills and co-ordination, so too did the rolling of the die! Little E was hilarious trying to roll it when it was almost as big as her!

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For the younger children, it is also a great opportunity to rehearse recognition of the animals.  Using new words, expanding their speech and language whilst having fun is by far the most powerful way to help your child use their words!

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J exercised his whole body when rolling the die, creating new ways to roll it each time!

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Sometimes getting a little too creative! Winking smile

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Other fabulous learning opportunities for children of all ages here is the chance to either lead or follow…

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… and exercising his oral muscles for clearer speech when making the sounds the animals make!

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I adore the photo below, G has just started walking more confidently and was desperate to get stuck in! A valuable exercise is just letting her walk on different surfaces etc but she also got involved and copied the moves J and E were doing! Look at her butterfly arm!! Bless her!

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Finally, as with all group activities, the fact there was only one die, meant they had to take turns and share! NOT an easy concept for young children! Admittedly as with all mixed age groups, J tended to take the lead and steal a few (ok, several) turns!! However, practise, rehearsal and plenty of play dates means that they will eventually share and even one day remind each other that, ‘sharing is caring!’  Until then, the top dog will always be the one with the extra experience! Ha! Just look at E’s face as little G is approaching! Hilarious!!

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