The first week in May is designated as Be Kind to Animals Week, though I say that with two dogs and a cat in the family, we try to make every day "be kind to animals" day. Teaching and practicing kindness to animals is one of the most important things that I do with my children, as I want them to develop respect and empathy for all creatures. There are so many easy ways for kids to be kind to animals - both to pets and the animals in our environment - and I've picked my top ten favorites to share with you.
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10 Ways for Kids to Be Kind to Animals
1. Read a Book about Being Kind to Animals
Any great lesson begins with a book, so I love to start the conversation on kindness to animals by reading with my kids. Some of my favorites include Tails are Not for Pulling by Elizabeth Verdick, May I Pet Your Dog? by Stephanie Calmenson, and Buddy Unchained by Daisy Vix.
2. Support your Local Animal ShelterLearn more about homeless animals in your community and how you can help. Collect donations for your local shelter or spend some time volunteering - many shelters have junior or family volunteer programs. And in spring, animal shelters are often looking for foster homes for orphaned kittens. You can also set up your own pretend play animal shelter - check out the one we set up for our friends at Pre-K Pages here (be sure to grab their free printable animal shelter dramatic play kit too).
3. Adopt, Don't ShopIf you are considering bringing a pet into your home, adopt from your local animal shelter instead of purchasing from a breeder or pet store. All three of our pets were adopted and we couldn't be happier with them! Check out one of our favorite books on pet adoption along with some awesome adoption resources here.
4. Learn about Animals' NeedsBeing kind to animals includes giving them the proper care. Start the conversation with this free printable game inspired by Dr. Seuss' Which Pet Should I Get? or go on a pet supply scavenger hunt to learn more.
5. Practice Caring for a PetHelp kids get involved in caring for their pets at home - my boys help to feed, water, and play with our pets every day. If you don't have pets of your own, offer to help a neighbor or friend with pet care, or create a pretend pet grooming salon for your stuffed animals! Be sure to check out my 5 things to do every day to keep your dog healthy and happy for more pet care ideas.
6. Bake Dog CookiesMake homemade treats for your dog, your neighbor's dogs, or even the dogs at your local shelter. Get my favorite hot dog chip dog cookie recipe here.
7. Make Cat ToysDon't forget our feline friends! Make easy homemade toys for your own cats or the cats at the animal shelter. Find two easy cat toys kids can make here.
8. Create a Wildlife GardenBeing kind to animals extends far beyond our pets. Support the animals in your backyard by creating a wildlfe garden or a butterfly garden.
9. Make a Bird FeederBe kind to the birds in your yard by making a super easy homemade bird feeder from a cardboard tube. Or head to a duck pond and feed the ducks with a healthy, homemade food! (no stale bread, please).
Learn about people who care for animals every day such as veterinarians, animal control officers and animal rescue workers and volunteers. Download our free printable kindness postcards and send them a note to tell them how much you appreciate what they do to be kind to animals too!
10. Thank the People who Care for Animals
What's your favorite way to be kind to animals? Leave a comment below or message me on Facebook and let me know!