For Parents

For Parents

Hungry Hippo Toy

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Here at the EIRG, we love this hungry hippo!  While it is not a complicated toy, there are great ways to adapt it to fit lots of different levels of play. We never even bother putting the batteries in; it’s much more fun without the hippo chatting away! Some ideas for great words and sentences to say while playing are included in italics.

As always, check out our introductory toy page here for general ideas for how to best engage with toys with your toddler! Have fun!


  • Put the shapes into the hippo’s mouth. (It’s in his belly)
  • Find other things to put in the hippo’s mouth to keep the activity going longer. We have found that some thin puzzle pieces can fit in which make for some interesting things for this hungry hippo to eat.  We love to feed the hippo pieces from this hungry caterpillar puzzle. You can also feed him pieces from the birthday cake or pizza party sets by Melissa and Doug.
  • Once you fill up hippo’s belly, you can have fun shaking him, opening the belly, and dumping them out. Then you can start over with feeding him the pieces, which will help keep this activity going for longer! (We’re shaking the hippo. It’s loud. The belly is open. The shapes came out.)

Pre- Symbolic:

  • Pull out some utensils and pretend to feed the hippo with a fork or spoon. (The hippo is hungry. The strawberry is on the spoon. He ate it!)
  • Take an empty cup and help the hippo drink by pretending to pour into his mouth. You can also fill up a cup with the pieces from the toy sets above and pour them into the hippo’s mouth. (He’s drinking)


  • You can put the hippo into a laundry bin along with some other stuffed animals or toys and pretend to drive them around the room. (The hippo is in the car. He’s driving)
  • You can pretend that the hippo got hurt and play “doctor.” You can use masking or painter’s tape as a band-aid. (The hippo tripped and fell. He hurt his foot. The band-aid is on.)
  • Have a birthday party and invite the hippo! He’s a big fan of birthday cake and pizza, as we found out when we did combination play. The birthday party can include balloons, pretend food, opening presents (any container will work as a pretend present), and, of course, singing the birthday song and pretending to blow out candles.