One way we foster our Lils love of reading and learning is by making books interactive. So today we will do that by reading Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell again, only this time we will be acting it out with the help of our sensory bin.
This activity will work on recalling details from a book.
Grab a FREE copy of the template in the Required Materials section below.
*Note: I get asked this question a lot about these sensory bins, so I wanted to take a second to explain something really quick. You may notice that the Science Focus Skill says, “Use 3 to 5 senses to make observations.” This is not saying this specific activity uses all 5 senses to make observations; it’s saying children need to know how to use all 5 senses when going into kindergarten and this lesson focuses on that skill. So it may only use 1 or 2 senses, but it falls under the broad skill of using all 5 senses.

Lil’ Explorers Focus Skills


  • Interact with and recall details from a text that was read aloud


  • Understand 3 of the 5 senses to make observations

Lil’ Creators Focus Skills


  • Recall details from a text that was read aloud


  • Use 5-senses to make observations

Required Materials

*Affiliate Link

Dear Zoo - Story Retelling Template (Optional)

*Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

*Sensory Bin

*Colored Rice

*Toy Animals


Step #1 (Optional)
Print and cut out the Dear Zoo -Story Retelling Template.

This step is optional because it is preferred to use animal figurines or animals from a wooden puzzle. However, if you are missing one or some of the animals from the book, you can use these images rather than going out to find these exact animals.

Step #2
Put colored rice into a sensory bin and add the animals.
Step #3
Begin reading the book, Dear Zoo.
Step #4
As you are reading, have your Lil’ find the corresponding animal from the sensory bin and place it in an envelope to send back to the zoo.

For instance, after you read, “They sent me an elephant,” your Lil’ will find the elephant and place it in an envelope to send it back to the zoo.

Continue this till you get to the puppy which you keep.

Step #5
Allow your Lil’ some time to simply play in the sensory bin.

Teacher Tip

To create your own colored rice, simply add white rice, food coloring, and vinegar in a Ziplock bag. Shake it really well until all the rice is colored and allow it to dry for about 2 hours.

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