5 Great Animal Family Toy Sets for Holiday Gifts

The holidays are well underway! If you’re looking for animal toys for children or other animal toy lovers in your life, The Wild Animal Store is a great resource for getting animal toys at a reasonable, fair price.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t just buy one animal toy at a time. They want to give their children (or the animal lovers in their lives) a few toys to play with together. One of the ways that kids seem to naturally play with animal toys is by grouping them into families. So I thought, why not sell animal toys in family groups, and provide a little discount for people when they buy more than one animal toys at a time?

So here they are – my 5 favorite animal family toy sets currently for sale. And don’t forget to browse around the site because I sell other family toy sets as well.

Elephant Family Toy Set
Elephants are such beloved and fascinating animals. Kids adore them. These toys are fun because they’re very substantial – you can feel their weight – plus the facial expressions are very cute.

Bengal Tiger Family Toy Set
Tigers are really cool. So fierce and beautiful. Here’s a great family toy set of these awesome animals.

Whitetail Deer Family Toy Set
I love this set because they’re simple pretty animal toys. The colors are rich and pleasing. They could sit quite nicely on a shelf or desk as fun little curiosities.

Brachiosaurus Family Toy Set
This toy set is cool because brachiosaurus’ are cool! Especially the grown up – it’s a big toy that’s fun to mess around with. And the baby is just adorable.

Triceratops Family Toy Set
Triceratops always strike me as the salt of the earth of the dinosaur world. Maybe not the most glamorous, but essential, which means this triceratops family toy set will get lots of play.

Please check out these and the rest of my animal family toy sets and see what you think.

Happy Holidays to all of you!

5 Indoor Games For Kids Using Animal Toys

Indoor games for kids using animal toys.

Maybe the weather outside means that the kids have to stay inside, or maybe everyone has to stay home and you don’t have a backyard to play in – these kinds of situations call for indoor play. Some kids are more used to playing indoors than others. For example, as an apartment dweller in downtown Los Angeles, when we’re hanging out at home this means we’re playing indoors.

For those kids out there who are less used to playing indoors, it can be challenging to hang out inside for long periods of time. It’s easy to fall into bad habits like sitting on the couch and zoning out to bad television shows, or watching the same movies over and over.

This is where some engaging toys can help in creating indoor games for kids that really spur the imagination. Here are five ideas:

1. Zoos – Empty out a toy box full of animal toys in front of some bored kids in the family room and in moments they’re busy examining the toys and blasting off into imaginative play. Zoos seem to be a favorite kind of game with animal toys, making this a favorite of indoor games for kids using animal toys.

2. Fantastic Animal Adventures – I have to admit that this is one of my favorite indoor games for kids, and one of my favorite ways to play with animal toys. Basically, what it involves is combining your animal toys with other toys in the playroom or toybox. For example, combine your animal toys with your legos, with your other building toys, your favorite dolls or action figures – soon your toys have embarked on the most fantastic adventures.

3. Bathtub Animal Adventures – Bath time instantly gets many times more fun when you got some animal toys to play with! Get some sea creatures like dolphins, whales, sharks, rays, or jellyfish… or take your land-based toy animals for a swim or for some fantastic underwater adventures.

4. Animal Shows – Sort of related to the zoo idea, you can use your animal toys to put on “animals shows” like dog shows, horse shows, cats shows, and circuses.

5. Animal Town – It’s probably no surprise that my kids have got a lot of animal toys. In particular, my youngest daughter has an impressive collection of dragon toys which, as a huge lover of dragons, she spends hours playing with. Thanks to having quite a few animal toys at their disposal, sometimes the toy animals edge out the toy humans. Fix yourself an iced coffee and hang out on the sidelines and watch as your kids build interesting and often hilarious “animal towns” where humans are gone and animals are running things for themselves! Most recently, my youngest built a “Dragonopolis” – an all-dragon city – that was pretty amazing to watch her play with.

Can Toys That Teach Also Be Fun?

Animals toys that teach

Have you ever seen kids hear that a toy is “educational” or “supposed to teach them something” and then get turned off to the toy and not want to play with it?

Toys that teach get a bad rap.

It’s unfortunate that there’s this anti-intellectual streak in our culture which equates learning with “not fun.”

My approach to this problem isn’t particularly sophisticated and probably doesn’t deal with the root of the problem, but I have to say I’ve had some success by simply not announcing that we’re about to do some learning. Just don’t bring it up. With a little luck, educational play is stealthily introduced right alongside “normal” play (I put normal in quotes because so much play in general has some sort of learning aspect to it).

This tactic is helped significantly by offering kids toys that teach – toys which are educational while also being irresistibly fun.

Animal Toys are Toys that Teach

After all, it stands to reason that if a toy is simply fun while also being educational, you’re going to have a much easier time getting a kid to play with it. No surprise there!

Animal toys fit the bill perfectly in this respect. Kids almost automatically pick them up and start playing with them. As I talked about in an earlier post, animal toys work great to meet the needs of kids as they move through various child development stages.

Animal toys go beyond meeting child development needs as well. For example, by simply looking at an animal toy, a child gains a deeper understanding of the animal, being able to recognize its defining characteristics in a way that will last a lifetime.

By playing with the toy and getting familiar with the animal the toy represents, kids start to ask questions about what life is like for animals. What do elephants eat? Where do lions live? How fast can cheetahs run?

Over time these questions become more complicated. Why aren’t there more wild animals in the world? What can be done to protect the environment?

Long story short, can toys that teach also be fun? When it comes to animal toys, the answer is most definitely YES!

5 Animal Games for Girls

As you know if you’ve read my About page, my daughters are my inspiration for opening this online animal toy store. I’ve seen them spend countless hours playing with their animal toys. This means I’ve seen them play a pretty wide variety of games, scenarios, and set ups. I never fail to be surprised by what they come up with. Here are 5 animal games for girls that can be played with by animal toys that I happen to sell here.

5 Fun Animal Games for Girls Using Animal Toys

1. Horse Parades – I used to see my girls arrange their toy horses into “parades” a lot more when they were younger, but they still do it every now and then when the stories they tell require it. These parades are more or less what they sound like – long lines of horses arranged in a visually pleasing way. Sometimes they’re arranged by size or age, sometimes there are horse kings and queens. The details are all part of the play, and if you take the time to ask your girls what kind of stories are behind their horse parades, you will usually get a wonderful ear full.

2. Pet Animals – Kids love to play games which re-enact the daily life they see around them, and so it’s no surprise that they love to imagine the lives of their beloved family pets. A common animal game for girls that I see is using animal toys to play the lives of cats, dogs, birds, guinea pigs, horses, ponies, and even barnyard farm animals. Give them the toys and such play will likely follow.

3. Pet Stores and Animal Clinics – For whatever reason, when it comes to animal games for girls, when you give some girls some animal toys eventually the play will cover the subject of pet stores and animal clinics. The pet store them is pretty self-explanatory – kids love the experience of going to pet stores and seeing all the different animals in one place, and perhaps picking out a special family pet. They love to imagine themselves as pets waiting to find their future owners and families.

Animal clinics and veterinarians are a regular part of the lives of many pets, so I suppose it’s only natural that they’re going to show up in the animal games that girls play.

4. Zoos – Zoos are a favorite of boys and girls alike, so give them some animal toys – especially animals that we commonly think of as “zoo animals” – and the play seems to naturally turn towards zoo set ups of their own creation.

One thing I’ve noticed with my own daughters is that they will use whatever is handy to build zoo enclosures of all sorts. If you have any miniature fencing, then they’ll use that first, but from there they will use anything that works including blocks, plank toys, legos, whatever. So don’t forget to get some fencing! (I have to remind myself to sell some miniature fences, heh.)

5. Wild Animal Families – One of my favorite kinds of play with animal toys that I see my daughters doing, is re-enacting family life through toy animals. It’s pretty irresistibly cute. Dramas between animal siblings. Dramas between mom and dad animals. Wild adventures involving the whole family. The family is the starting point – from there entire world’s worth of adventure follow.

I’m obviously only scratching the surface here, and this is a topic that I’m sure I’ll revisit, but hopefully this will help you see all the possibilities for play that toy animals provide children, and in this case, girls.

5 Examples of How Animal Toys Work in Child Development Stages

As I’ve been learning more about how my kids develop and grow, I’ve found out that throughout a child’s development stages they actually use their toys to help them grow, develop, and gain new skills. It’s pretty cool!

1. According to Wikipedia, three and four-year-olds can hold crayons and markers using first two fingers and thumb in what’s called a tripod grasp. Reading this, it occurred to me that larger-sized animal toys are similar to holding crayons since they require the same sort of grasping and holding.

2. I also learned that setting animal toys balanced upright so that they stand up is a developmentally-related skill.

3. Other child development stages at these ages include language and social skills as kids narrate stories to themselves as they play with animal toys, as well as acting out scenes from daily life involving all sorts of social interactions.

4. Another thing I’ve noticed with my daughters is that they both went through a phase where sorting out their animal toys (horses seemed to be the most special, for some reason) and arranging them in various groups became important. Sometimes they would arrange their horses in long lines that they called parades. Just as often they would build corrals out of whatever was handy and put their horses in there. A lot of sorting, classifying arranging, and counting going on which was related to the child development stages that they were going through.

5. Also, as the girls emerged out of the parallel play of very little kids into the word of collaborative and cooperative play, their collection of animal toys became the currency with which they explored and figured out their new social skills. Needless to say it’s an ongoing process!

Animal Toys Work Great in Child Development Stages

Child development stages are a rich and complicated subject which are fascinating to learn about. While there are expert scholars and professionals who spend their whole lives learning about child development stages, there’s something special, up close, and personal seeing these processes at work in our own children. In a way, all parents become child development stages experts after helping their kids along the road of growing up.

Kids develop and grow up with or without toys and with or without our help as parents and adults, but just as we know that kids benefit immeasurably from our mindful presence and attention, we also know that simple, high quality toys – not a ton of them, and not necessarily the most expensive – will help them thrive.

The Wild Animal Store is here to help!

5 Great Birthday Presents for Kids

I always thought that most birthdays were in the spring, but the statistics say that summer is the time when more of us are having our birthdays than any other time of year.

If you’re like my family, this means that your kids are getting a lot of invitations to birthdays. For a while recently we were going to at least one party per weekend. This hit a crescendo two weeks ago with FOUR birthday parties in one weekend. Whew!

All these parties take up a lot of time, they require quite a bit of driving, and they also mean you gotta go out and buy presents. It not only gets expensive, but it also gets hard to come up with ideas and then find the time to go out and get the presents. How many times have we rushed over to Target or Toys R Us right before a party? Yeah, a lot.

Well, here’s a suggestion about how to make your birthday presents for kids related tasks a bit easier: Buy ahead of time and consider buying some animal family sets from The Wild Animal Store. Here are 5 different sets that make great birthday presents for kids.

5 Animal Family Toy Sets that Make Great Birthday Presents for Kids

1. Elephant Family Toy Set – With this set you get two adult elephants plus an adorable baby elephant. Made by Safari Ltd. these are great quality toys that are reasonably priced at a discount because you’re buying three of them together, not separately. This set is strongly and warmly recommended as a great birthday present for young elephant lovers amongst your friends and family

2. Cheetah Family Toy Set – Another nice set of toys from Safari Ltd., with this set you get a baby and an adult cheetah toy. The baby is super cute, and the adult cheetah is modeled in a dynamic and lifelike pose. Great birthday present for kids who love cheetahs, and believe it or not there are quite a few of them out there!

3. Zebra Family Toy Set – These two zebra toys are just absolutely adorable together. A grown up zebra mama (or dad) and a zebra baby from Safari Ltd. offered here together for a discounted price.

4. Lion Family Toy Set – This set is great. Get a male lion toy in all his regal glory, a beautiful sleek lioness toy, and an adorable baby lion toy. Made by Safari Ltd., get this collection for a discounted price.

5. Jungle Animal Family Toy Set – This one is the mother of all animal sets. Get a hippo family, cheetah family, lion family, elephant family, gorilla family, and a zebra family for a discounted price. 14 animals in 6 different animal families! Good stuff.

We’re Open!

animal family toy sets

I officially launched The Wild Animal Store in March using the yahoo store system, but then decided to shut down, retool, and reopen using a WooCommerce for WordPress.

So here’s the new store, a month later and open for business, with a lot of new animal toys. The new store has a bunch of jungle themed animal toys from Safari Ltd. They’re pretty great!

As I was writing copy and getting them ready to post on the store, I had an idea to group baby animals with adult animals to make “family animal toy sets.” Cool, huh? Best of all, you get two animals for a lower price than if you buy them separately.

Check ’em out: There’s the super fun elephant family toy set. Kids love cheetahs, and they’ll love this cheetah family set. Lions are an all time favorite, which means this lion family set will be well loved. And last of all, there’s a super cute hippo family animal toy set. There’s something just so cute about hippos (even though they’re actually pretty fierce in real life).

I intend to do more animal family toy sets with different animal toys, so either sign up for The Wild Animal Store newsletter, or check back here on the blog for the latest new product announcements.