Dear Zoo…how to donate your child to the monkey enclosure!

Ok the title is a bit of false advertising, but J has hit the terrible 2’s with full force and gave me only 2hrs sleep last night so my energy reserve for ‘tantrum outbursts’ is running low today.

Today we used the new PECS cards to explore Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. We love this book and have read it a zillions time. It’s one I never get bored off and neither does J. 

For those who haven’t read Dear Zoo, it is a flap based book using a simple repeated phrase. Each page hides a typical Zoo animal and a reason why it can’t be kept as a pet. Then in the end the Zoo send a much more appreciate choice of animal and everyone is happy.

J loves the flaps! He loves to open and close them, as well as turning pages. He’s not overly bothered about discussing the animal inside. I’ve never been sure if this is because of the lack of verbal communication or just lack of interest. 

The symbol cards are designed to let J communicate with me. We started off simply exchanging the picture of the correct animal that was hidden in the box…this was our ‘warm up’ activity as these are new cards.

Then we progressed to making a guess of which animal J thought was inside the box/crate. J added that picture to the strip and then opened the flap to reveal the animal. If it was correct then we cheered. If not then J would find the correct animal and put it next to his guess. I would make the sentence for him…”It wasn’t the monkey, it was the camel”. We’d laugh and reset the symbols. 

J is only 2, so that’s as far as we went symbol wise. However, ways to extend it further would be to use the basic word cards to make sentences. This would be made on the sentence strip and passed to the adult. 

My only criticism is the use of random animal pictures. I would have preferred it to match the animal in the book, or to be a photo of a real animal. But these are just cosmetic suggestions as the set is genuinely amazing. It comes already laminated and with the board and Velcro. This is a time saver!!!

This activity is great as it means J can talk about the story in his own way. He’s not just passively listening to the story being read to him. He can express ideas and make choices. This helps to support literacy development and a further love of books. It also shows him that his opinion and ‘voice’ is appreciated. 

We have two more sets to explore. It’s very exciting to have these conversations with J ❤

Set was purchased from: PECS UK #notanad


7 Comments Add yours

  1. shitidoformykids says:

    I love this idea! Do you mind if I hit the ‘reblog’ button to promote it on my blog?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mummyest2014 says:

      Thanks, please feel free to reblog ☺️


  2. Squid Mother says:

    Reblogged this on SALT for my squid and commented:
    Great way to encourage conversation, and to make PECS fun. Loved this idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We love ‘Dear Zoo’ in our house, sadly though my toddler loved it a little too much and destroyed it! I love the idea of using cards with a book, I might look into PECS as my toddler has a slight speech delay. #blogtober17

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mummyest2014 says:

      I really recommend the PECS system and their website. It’s been such a huge part of getting J to communicate x


  4. Kim Carberry says:

    Aww! How lovely! I love this book….My girls used to too. I can’t wait for them to have kids so I can enjoy it again. hehehe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mummyest2014 says:

      It’s the sort of book that will be around for generations I think x


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