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Happy babies & toddlers



The Hungry Lion Hunt

  Pretending to be animals is easy and fun for most young children. Join in with their make-believe and become a funny, hungry lion on a hunt for something tasty to eat!

What you need:

  • A carpeted floor will make this activity more comfortable for the children.
  • A room with plenty of easy and safe places to hide.
  • (Optional) A pack of cards from a game, each showing a picture of an animal, or a box of small plastic animals.

What you do:

  • If you have them, spread the cards or toy animals on the floor. These are just to help give the children ideas, so it doesn’t matter if you can’t find any.
  • Invite every child to choose an animal that they like. They don’t have to pick up the card or the toy. The children will also need to have their hands free when they pretend to be an animal.
  • Ask them to pretend to be the animal they’ve chosen and to move around the room as if they were that special animal.
  • After a little while ask them to imagine that all the animals have been invited to a party together. Invite the ‘animals’ to sit down on the floor and pretend to eat party food in their different ‘animally’ ways.
  • Then say "Oh no! I think I can hear a lion! He’s coming to our party to find some dinner! Quick! Find a place to hide!"
  • Encourage the children to run and hide and to be really quiet so the lion won’t find them.
  • Then prowl around as a funny, growly lion, looking for food and sniffing out the hiding animals. When you find a child, sniff and say in a roary way "You don’t smell like a boy/girl! What animal are you?" When the child tells you which animal they’re pretending to be say: "Oh dear, I don’t like the taste of horses (or whatever they are). Why don’t you come with me on a dinner hunt?" Then ask the child to follow you, still pretending to be an animal.
  • Hunt around in a funny way, finding silly reasons why you can’t eat all the different animals, (too noisy, too little, too much fur, or they give you tummy-ache, or earache, etc) until you find all the children.
  • End the activity with a snack and a drink for everyone. The lion can say something like, "This is perfect! This is just what I needed! Biscuits taste so much better than animals! Next time I’ll eat biscuits instead!"

Some things to talk about together:

  • What’s your favourite animal?
  • If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you like to be? And what would you like to eat?
  • What’s your favourite place to hide? Why do you like hiding there? Do you like being found?

Other ideas:

  • Each time a new animal is discovered, you could ask all the children following the lion to pretend to be this new animal so that they can try being all the different creatures.
  • If you’re doing this with your own young children they might enjoy you pretending to eat them in a funny and tickly way. You could say "Yummy Yummy, I love tummy!" and pretend to nibble their tummies. Or "What a treat! I love feet!" and pretend to nibble their toes. Make sure everyone is safe, happy and having fun.
  • Serve animal-shaped biscuits after this activity so that everyone can have fun eating the animals!



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