This week the Littlesheep household has a four-legged house guest in the shape of a dog (we are her holiday home whilst her owners – the Littlesheeps grandparents – are on holiday) and it made me think about the things that having pets can help children learn.
Children who have pets can can enjoy the process of caring for it which gives so many opportunities for incidental learning. Pets can help teach numeracy – how many legs, teeth, scoops of food, treats; literacy – pets can make a great reading buddy plus can be a focus for non-fiction reading research and imaginative writing; science – researching how / when it moves, what it eats, where it sleeps etc and geography – where it lives in the wild. Pets can encourage art and design – drawing portraits, making collages or even designing a house for the pet? Of course looking after a pet also helps children develop social skills like empathy and compassion, loyalty and respect for other creatures plus allow them to develop trusting relationships.
So we have a puppy for the week – we are certainly spending more time outdoors! We’ve been on several long walks which has given us the opportunity to enjoy the countryside and spot wildlife, discuss the weather and get lots of exercise / develop motor skills.
Finally for a themed week – two doggy games which can also help children learn are the Orchard Toys Spotty Dogs and Red Dog, Blue Dog!