Take a trip to the neighborhood pet store. Have a discussion before you go, about what might be seen there, and what the children would like to see. Some pet store don’t have any animals on hand, but there will still be plenty of things to see.
The aisles are devoted to specific animal items. Have the children guess what animal, by checking the packaging. In each animal category, find the food, litter, toys, leashes, dishes and treat etc. Look at the fish tanks – count fish. Look at colors and shapes. Draw pictures on clipboards. Buy a scoop or a pack of colorful dog biscuits to take back for sorting and counting.
If there are other animals such as birds, ferrets, mice and kittens, then the sky is the limit for discussion and learning.
Many tame or domesticated animals make wonderful companions for people. So many people have pets, that whole stores are devoted to selling and providing the items that people need to take care of their pets.
Let’s consider a pet dog. Do you think that ALL the items you saw for dogs at the store are absolutely necessary for taking care of a dog? Why or why not? When we are making a choice about what kind of leash to buy, what do we need to consider? (Money, size, color, material, etc). How about food?
Some pets can be trained (taught) to do certain things, and other pets can’t. Can you think of some pets that are easily trained? What can they be trained to do? Do you think that mice can be trained? How about birds?
Can pets talk to us? Do they use words? How can we communicate with our pets? How do they let us know they need something? (Scratching at the door, whining, barking, jumping on lap, running around a cage etc)
Make a list of all the animals that you can think of that would make good pets. Give a reason for each one. Why do you think someone might want a snake for a pet? A hamster? A goldfish? Do you have to be able to snuggle with an animal for it to make a good pet?
Make headbands with dog and cat ears taped to them. Tape a tail on belts. Draw whiskers on faces with makeup, and role-play.
Set up an aquarium.
Create pet masks from paper plates. Glue ears, whiskers, noses, or add details with markers. Cut out the eyes, and tape a tongue depressor (or similar) for the handle.
Play concentration with pairs of pet pictures made with clipart.
Set up a pet store or a veterinarian’s office using stuffed animals.