“KRIS: What sort of games do you play with the other children?
SUSAN: I don’t play much with them. They play silly games.
KRIS: They do?
SUSAN: Like today. They were in the basement playing zoo, and all of them were animals. When I came down, Homer…he was the zookeeper…he said, “What animal are you?” I said, “I’m not an animal, I’m a girl.” And he said, “Only animals allowed.” So I came upstairs.
KRIS: Why didn’t you tell him you were a lion or a bear?
SUSAN: Because I’m not a bear or a lion.
KRIS: But the other children were only children, and they were pretending to be animals.
SUSAN: That’s what makes the game so silly.
KRIS: I don’t think so. Sounds like a wonderful game to me. Of course, in order to play it, you need an
…Of course, it takes practice. The first thing you’ve got to learn is how to pretend. And the next time Homer says, “What kind of animal are you?” tell him you’re a monkey.
SUSAN: I don’t know how to be a monkey.
KRIS: Sure you do. Here, I’ll show you. [Kris begins to mimic a monkey.] Now just bend your body over a little. Let your arms hang loose, see? Now put your right hand up here… under here. Now scratch yourself, see? [Susan does it.] That’s right. Put your tongue under your lips, over your teeth.
SUSAN: Like this?
KRIS: That’s right.
KRIS: Now scratch yourself and chatter, see? [Kris and Susan make monkey sounds.]…
…KRIS: Don’t forget to scratch. Put your tongue up in front of your teeth. Talk to the other monkeys.
[Susan walks around the apartment monkey-like, chattering.]
FRED: [To Kris.] What’s going on here?
KRIS: We’re having our first lesson in pretending. Doing quite well at it, too. [To Susan.] That’s right.
Call the other monkeys.”
The above dialogue is from the original 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street (the full movie transcript can be found here: http://teacherweb.com/PA/LittleFlowerHIghSchool/MrRonzonisEnglishClass/Miracle-on-34th-Street-Script—PDF.pdf) when Kris Kringle is showing Susan how to pretend to be a monkey because the children in her building are playing zoo. Thinking of the scene inspired me to write a post about pretending to be our very own animals in a zoo.
Out and about:
For this activity visit your local zoo. Before going on your trip to the zoo you may want to do some research on the animals at your local zoo to be sure your favorite animal is housed in that zoo. If they are not, you may have to choose another animal to study.
When visiting the zoo, find your favorite animal. Bring some paper and a pencil with you and draw what your animal looks like. Does it have fur? Is the fur long or short? Does it have scales or smooth skin? What does its nose and mouth look like? Does it have a long or short nose? How long are its legs?
Now stand very quietly and listen. What sounds do you hear? Does your animal make any noises? If so, what sounds do they make? Now try to make those sounds yourself.
Finally look at how your animal moves. Does it crawl on all four legs? Does it flick its tail? Does it use flipper or fins to glide through the water? Does it move back and forth on its belly to move itself forward? What-else do you notice about how it moves? Now practice moving like your animal.
Explorer’s Tip: when you get home, try looking up your animal online to see if you can find more information about your animal especially if you weren’t able to find out as much information about them during your visit as you would like. As you do further research on your animal, do you think animals are saying anything or communicating with each other through the noises they make, the way they move, or through the way they look?
Now that you have found out as much information about your animal as you can, make a mask that looks like your animal. Paper plates are good bases upon which to make your mask. Use crayons, markers, feathers, string and any other materials you have around the house to create the colors, feel, and look of your animal. You may want to extend your costume by dressing in your animal’s colors or add elements to your clothing to make you look more and more like your animal.
Once you have dressed like your animal, you can pretend to be your animal in the zoo. Move and make noises like your animal. Let your imagination run wild.
We here at Inquisitive Lantern would love to see your and your children’s projects. Please share them and your feedback at the end of this post. Please note though that Inquisitive Lantern will approve all posts for their family friendly content before they become public.