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Learning Responsible Pet Care

Learning responsible pet care-01


  • Cardboard pet carrier (available at your local Humane Society)
  • Stuffed dog and cat
  • Cat and dog collars and nametags
  • Blanket
  • Food dish and water bowl
  • Pet brush
  • Leash
  • Toy vet items, such as a toy syringe, medicine dropper bottle, and stethoscope
  • Pet toys, such as yarn, a furry cat toy, and a ball
  • Dog bone


What to do

1. Beforehand, put collars and nametags onto a stuffed dog and cat and place them in a cardboard pet carrier.

2. Gather the children and introduce the pet carrier.

3. Ask the children what kind of pet could fit into the carrier. Discuss the different types of pets. Then gently lift the dog and cat from the carrier using two hands.

4. Engage the children in a discussion about responsible pet care as you show them the things that pets need (see materials list).

5. Demonstrate each job through dramatic play. For example, children can take turns:

  • Spreading the blanket to make a pet's bed.
  • Giving the pets food and water.
  • Brushing the pets to groom them.
  • Exercising the dog with his leash on.
  • Playing with the cat using toys and yarn.
  • Taking both pets to the veterinarian for a check-up, shots, and medicine.

6. While children are still in a circle, roll the ball to each child and encourage him or her to roll it back to the dog for play and training. They can reward the dog by giving him a dog bone.

7. Tell the children, "Don't forget give them lots of love!"


More to do

  • Dramatic Play: Set up an adoption center for pets, a veterinarian clinic, or a pet supply store.
  • Language: Encourage the children to talk about their family pets during show and tell.


-Terri A. Schmidt, Silverton, OR

Book: GIANT Encyclopedia of Preschool Activities for 3-Year-Olds
Center: Group or Circle Time
Topic: Animals
Content: Self Help
Area: Social-Emotional
Age: 3 through 4 Years Old
Interaction: Large Group

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