Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Color Zoo: Fun with Shapes

Book Title: Color Zoo

Author: Lois Ehlert
Type of book: Concept book
Book age range: Birth to preschool
Activity age range: Ten months* and up
*Please note that this activity includes craft glue and small parts and is only intended as a supervised activity for toddlers and their caregivers to perform together

Why we like it: Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert is full of interesting images and concepts to grab and hold the attention of babies and toddlers. The book does not follow a storyline, but introduces shapes, colors, and animals creatively. Nine brightly colored basic shapes are displayed in different ways to make up nine animals. Shape cutouts make the animals interesting and the shapes memorable. 

Fun with Shapes
You will need:
  • Various pre-cut foam or paper shapes (for a super quick and easy activity, you can purchase pre-cut foam shapes at a craft store
  • Glue
  • Popsicle stick

Step 1: Be sure to cut out your foam and/or construction paper shapes ahead of time since many different shapes and sizes are needed. You may use any combination of shapes, including squares, triangles, circles, rectangles, ovals, hearts, diamonds, hexagons, and octagons. 

Step 2: After reading Color Zoo, spread the shapes out on a table and talk about them with your child. He or she may enjoy sorting them by size and/or color. 

Step 3: Arrange the shapes in different patterns to form animal faces. Discuss the different animals you can make and have your child choose his or her favorite. Using images from the book as a guide, glue the shapes together in the desired pattern and glue the finished face onto the popsicle stick to create a stick puppet. 

Step 4: Enjoy your puppet! Your stick puppet can now accompany you and your child when you read the book together as a reminder of the way shapes come together to form different objects.

I hope you enjoy exploring shapes and creating animal faces with Color Zoo!


Ehlert, L. Color Zoo. New York: HarperCollins, 1989.

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