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Toddler Talk: Clothespin Animals

Whenever Ramona sees farm animals in a farm yard—be it in a book, driving through the country, or a mural on a local restaurant wall—she starts singing “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” It’s adorable and hilarious. She has animals at home to play with, but I’m a sucker for safari animals so most of her figurines are giraffes, hippopotamuses, elephants and lions. Poor girl needed some new animals!

When coloring one day I drew a lamb for her. She started yelling “baa baa!” and got really excited and asked me to draw her something else. A cow! A duck! And then a panda for good measure since she can’t stop asking me to see the baby panda.

But animals on paper, though cute (albeit a little bit disproportionate and funny-looking due to my lack of drawing skills), aren’t quite the same thing as having figurines that can stand on their own. Well, out came the handy mini clothespins that have been sitting in my craft box. Instant legs for the farmyard animals. And Ramona got a kick out of attempting to learn to use the clothespins and move them around the edges of the animals.

This activity is great as it allows for you to have more than just new animals. Ramona helped me find the appropriate colors and we went over all the noises of the animals she had me draw. I also let her have free reign drawing on the paper as I drew because that made it more fun for her. There might have even been a handful of rounds of Old McDonald sung at the top of our lungs ...

What you need

Heavier weight white paper


Mini clothespins (if all you have are large ones, then just draw larger animals and make sure your paper is nice and sturdy)


What you do

1. Have your child tell you what animals he’d like for you to draw (or that he would like to draw himself). These can be farm animals, pets, safari, jungle, even monsters!

2. Cut out the animals.

3. Add clothespins for the legs at the bottom of the paper figure.

4. Stand them up, move them around, make silly noises, have fun!

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