Some of you may remember when Beanie Babies were the fad and many fast food places were giving them out with the kid meals. My daughter was at the right age for the fad and managed to accumulate a lot of them. Eventually she got tired of them and I inherited them. She had kept them in a shoe rack with the plastic pockets that hang over a door. I took the whole thing and hung it up in my speech room. People have noticed it hanging there and have brought me even more animals. I now have quite a variety of small stuffed animals, dinosaurs, and cartoon characters. I bet if you keep your eyes open you may find some at garage sales or as donations. It seems people are eager to move those collections along now.
These stuffed animal characters have become quite useful for playing descriptive games centered around animals. I have a gift box that I bought at the dollar store. It is decorated with a bow and has a removable lid. I call it the mystery box. The students put a mystery animal in the box and the other students take turns asking a question and then guessing the animal or cartoon character. Some of the students have difficulty generating questions and I use communication board to help them. Not only does this activity promote asking questions, it requires using memory and consolidation of the details to determine the correct animal. An example of the cue card is posted in the vocabulary section and can be printed out.