Dr. Seuss Activities: Wacky Wednesday Ideas, Zoo Game & Idioms
Enjoy these Dr. Seuss games & activities: Wacky Wednesday ideas, "If I Ran the Zoo" Printable Game and learning about idioms.
We've shared some fun facts and activities about Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day which is coming up in early March!
I'm sure you're familiar with at least a few Dr. Suess stories -- maybe your a fan of "The Cat in the Hat" or recall reading "And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street!" as a kid. So many of us grew up reading Dr. Suess and continue to share his stories with our kids.
Today we'll explore some awesome ways to turn these favorite Dr. Seuss books into hands-on games & activities kids LOVE!
Wacky Wednesday Ideas, Dr. Seuss Activities & Word Games
There are 3 key skills that kids learn while reading Dr. Seuss books:
- Observation skills
- Enhancing imagination and creativity
- Learning about morals and values
Being such a fan of Seuss books, I had a difficult time choosing only one for this post. In fact, on our library visit this week, I found a newly published story that I never read as a child which was a treat!
We chose to feature a few book and activity ideas for each of these areas. We're including affiliate links for each of the books we featured along with other fun Dr. Seuss items we know you'll love! If you like book & activity pairings, be sure to check out these favorite Cat in the Hat non-fiction books & STEM activities for more fun ways to learn!
Wacky Wednesday Ideas
We used the book Wacky Wednesday to highlight ways kids can enhance their observation skills and creativity. Observation skills can be a big part of how children learn about the world around them.
If you're trying to teach your child to slow down and take in what they see, use our Animal Observation Activities (with free printable journal) to help them learn to focus, listen & observe.
This is such a funny book to read and also one of the original 'I Spy' type of stories.
As you read Wacky Wednesday, have kids try to find all of the crazy things that were happening throughout the story. (I'll be honest, there was one page that even I couldn't identify all of the wacky things!).
And there are a few things in the book that will look out-of-the-ordinary to our kids (such as the corded telephones) which lend to a discussion about what objects are in fact regular items. When we finished the story, my daughter and I each took turns setting up some 'wacky' things around the house for one another to find.
What! There's a shoe on the wall!
This one is a MUST since that's how the book begins. I just removed an item from our front wall and hung the shoe on a nail.
If the item you remove is non-breakable, then put it with the other shoe :-)
Another big theme when we 'wackied' a room -- turning things upside down!
Upside down soap, upside down clocks on the bedstand, upside down decorations...
You can really have some fun with this one.
When I went out to get the mail, I put on my flipflops and not my boots since we have snow on the ground.
One of the themes in Wacky Wednesday is "going against the norm".
If it's nice where you are, you might wear your boots on a sunny day (I know it's not wacky for kids to dress this way but it is for parents ;).
Or consider putting your coat on inside out or upside down. Maybe wear a mitten on your head and a scarf around your leg.
Don't be normal on Wacky Wednesday!
She came up with "comb your teeth and brush (with a toothbrush) your hair". You can also try "eat with a straw and drink with a fork".
Wacky Wednesday Classroom Ideas
If you're doing this activity in a classroom, here are some 'wacky' ideas:
- Lay out a Dr Seuss tablecloth UNDER the tables and have snack on the floor
- Do you do bellwork in the morning? Move your day around and have recess in the am and bellwork at the end of the day!
- During storytime, have kids look at the book upside down -- or better yet, read the story from the end to the beginning!
- Rearrange your classroom the night before so all the desks face the back of the room :) or if you have tables, turn them upside down for a bit.
Wacky Wednesday around the House
Here are a few other Wacky Wednesday ideas for home (and of course, create your own!):
- Put the bed pillows at the bottom of the bed instead of at the top
- Serve dessert before dinner
- Turn the glasses and dishes upside down when you set the table
- Move socks to the shirt drawer and shirts to the sock drawer
- Turn all your stuffed animals on their heads
Try to set up some very obvious things and have others be a little more difficult to find so your kids can really practice their observation skills.
More FUN Activities for Dr. Suess Week
These are fun games to use in the car, classroom or at home!
Planning for a Dr. Seuss event? Here are a few fun items for your reading celebration:
And a new items this year: Dr. Seuss mini book erasers that are perfect for a growth mindset focus (because every, even Dr. Seuss, makes mistakes).
Another wonderful reading-related item are these Dr. Seuss Incentive Bookmarks which are perfect if you have kids who are beginning to read Dr. Seuss books (sometimes they don't have time to get through the entire book in one sitting so these can hold their spot!)
If I Ran the Zoo Game & Activities
Dr. Seuss is the master of creating new words and encouraging readers to really stretch their imagination.
I so love this about his books and illustrations!
Our kids just don't get enough time and opportunities to use their creative thinking skills.
We chose two books that highlight creativity and imagination:
If I Ran the Zoo is a classic -- Gerald McGrew visits the zoo and dreams about what the zoo would be like if he were zookeeper. The story introduces so many imaginative animals (you just have to admire how Seuss came up with all these amazing names!)
If you have kids who love Dr. Seuss & animals, be sure to see our list of 40 Animal Habitat Projects with the Cat in the Hat!
And Oh, the Thinks You Can Think! gives the reader some insight into how you can use your imagination to be creative. One of the keys is the rhyming text found in so many of Dr. Seuss' stories.
Create Your Own Zoo Animal Game
Using rhyming words and creative thinking, you can create your own zoo just like Gerald McGrew.
We listed 10 animals that can be found at the zoo in Column One.
In the next column, create rhyming words for each of the animals. Try to think of words that aren't real words.
And then in the third column, list some of the prominent features of the animal.
Here's an example of one of our animals:
Animal Rhyming Words Animals Features
Lion Bion, Frion, Mion, Pion Lots of hair, mane, loud roar
So, in our zoo, we have "a Frion with hair that's as long as his tail".
Or you can think about the opposite when creating your new animal -- "a Pion that's quiet as a mouse, with ears as big as a house".
Have some fun with kids and see what types of animals they can create!
Visit our Free Printable Educator page & Print your own Zoo board to get started!
If you're looking for more fun activities, try these 17 Dr. Suess Games for Kids!
Learning Morals & Values
As with so many children's books, Seuss stories can also convey morals and values to the reader.
Books are a great way to begin some discussions about what's important to us and allow kids to learn more about how to interact with others.
One of the most famous of Seuss tales in this category is The Sneetches and Other Stories. Kids will learn that you shouldn't treat people differently just because of how they look.
Another newly released story that discusses values is The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories. This is a short story that was just recently published in book form so it may be new to you.
It's a wonderful tale about a duck who finds a magic seed and learns that his wishes will be granted. At first, he thinks he'll wish for enough food for a week. But then, he begins to expand on his wishes to include a whole host of unnecessary items.
I'll let you read the story to find out what happens but let's just say that it conveys the lesson of "don't count your chickens before they're hatched".
Idioms: Discuss Values & Common Phrases
Matching an idiom to the story helps children to learn about some of the phrases and language that adults use that may seem a little odd to them.
Kids usually don't understand some common phrases such as "knock on wood" or "It's all Greek to me".
I'm sure your kids have asked you "What does that mean?" when you used a common idiom -- like 'It's raining cats & dogs'.
You can visit the Idiom Site to learn the meanings of more than 100 commonly used phrases.
And don't miss our Dr. Seuss Science series for lots more activities!