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Early Intervention Speech Therapy

Language Lessons at the Zoo!

Published July 16, 2013 9:00 AM by Stephanie Bruno-Dowling

During the month of July, one of our themes at school is Zoo Animals. This past week, everything we talked about, read about, played with and created had to do with the zoo and the animals that live there. So naturally when my husband and I decided to plan a day out with our daughters this past weekend, the Philadelphia Zoo was an obvious choice! In last week's post I talked about the importance of play and experiencing a variety of new activities with your child. I listed the zoo as one of the many places to visit throughout the year and after being there just a few days ago, I want to encourage others to take advantage of your local zoo as well!

Here is a list of some of the wonderful experiences and the embedded language lessons the our zoo offers and I'm sure others offer as well:

  • Inspiring the Senses! Seeing the variety of animals and how different they look, smelling the different animals and their habitat (Rainforest vs. the Desert), petting some of the animals and various hands-on activities at the "learning stations" set up around the zoo.


  • Rides for Children: Take a small kiddie train ride complete with music and open cars that invites children to take in the sites of the zoo. Try a swan-shaped boat ride around the lake in the center of the zoo, the rainforest carousel which is always a childhood hit and if you want to really want to shake things up, you could take a ride in the Channel 6 Zooballoon (a hot-air balloon that blissfully floats above the zoo) and serves as a point of reference for those visiting and many traveling around the city.


  • Animal Rides and Encounters: The Philadelphia Zoo offers guided horse, pony and camel rides. Again, a very sense-filled experience! Also, try feeding the beautiful lorikeets and lories as they perch on your arms, shoulders and even your head!


  • Foods: We enjoyed ice cream cones during our zoo trip, but hot dogs, cheesesteaks and many other foods are all offered!


  • Information and Learning: The zoo also offers short informational movies about various animals, as well as sessions where the zookeepers and other individuals are available to explain unique and interesting facts about the animals.


All of the activities and experiences listed above are full of vocabulary and language!

Use an excursion to your local zoo to talk to your child about animals,

what they look like, what they eat and where they live.

Have your child make choices about what they want to do, eat and see while at the zoo.

The zoo really is a wonderful child-friendly place and the perfect atmosphere

to enliven the senses and get some conversations with your child started!


For local readers, the Cape May Zoo in Cape May, NJ, is also a wonderful summertime vacation destination!


Last week, I wrote about our zoo-related lessons at preschool. Learning about the zoo has opened the

July 23, 2013 9:52 AM

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About this Blog

    Stephanie Bruno Dowling, M.S. CCC-SLP
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Early Intervention in Delaware County, PA
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