Learning about pets offers children a chance to learn more about animals but also about caring for another living thing. There have been multiple studies that show that caring for a pet has beneficial effects on children’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. So even if you aren’t ready to get a pet in your house, you can learn about them while you are at home in quarantine with these great preschool pet activities.
Pet Crafts for Kids
Shape Dog from Nurture Store
Pet Fish Craft, if you have contact paper on hand, this is a great craft that does a great job at working out those fine motor skills.
See me make this cat craft and do a mini-lesson about pets live on Facebook tomorrow Monday, March 30th at 8am PDT!
Preschool Pet Activities
You don’t need to have a pet at home to learn about pets. These preschool pet activities focus on all different areas of learning, and I’ve made the printables free for download here.
Guess The Pet – this activity using reasoning and boosts children’s vocabularies as they learn more about common pets. I love this because you can play it at mealtime, in bed, on road trips if we ever get to do those again…You can see it in action on my Facebook Live, or the video will be posted in this post, Monday at 8:30 am. Get the printable here.
Pretend Play Vet Clinic – Pretend play is a wonderful avenue for children to learn skills as well as work through struggles. This little printable is always a hit in my classroom, and you can print it out for free here.
Pet or Wild Animal – The best part about this science sorting activity is that what is a pet and what is a wild animal is not concrete. Have your child sort through these photos and talk about why they would put each photo in the category that they did. Print it for free here.
Move Like A Pet – This gross motor activity is fun, and you can do it inside or out! Click on the image for the printable and instructions.
Pete The Cat Circle Time – you could do this graphing activity on Zoom if you are teaching virtually or only with your family too!
This little song is a sweet little song that is sung to the tune of I’m A Little Teapot. Print it out here.
Picture Books About Pets
I love to use books as the base to launch from. Read before or read after doesn’t really matter, but having two or more experiences to connect to learning is definitely beneficial. Check out these books!
All our book lists include affiliate links.
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev is a gem. Buy it now. I mean that. This book is about a little boy and his elephant, who are banned from the local pet club. Because well, elephants are not allowed and for no real reason. This lets parents and teachers reiterate the fact that sometimes people find themselves excluded for no reason. It’s not about them. It is about the people excluding them. In the book, after being banned, they find others who have been made to feel unwelcome, different, and lesser and start their own pet club. One that welcomes everyone and their pets no matter what, a perfect example of resilience!
Lola Gets A Cat by Anna McQuinn When this book arrived at my door, my then 6-year-old declared it as her new favorite Lola book. “It’s the best one yet!” I am not sure if it’s because she, too, loves cats and desperately wants one. Or if she liked the step by step process of researching, meeting, and bringing a cat home. Either way, this is a wonderful book for any family thinking about getting a cat. It really helps explain the process and what to expect.
The Fintastic Fishsitter by Mo O’Hara is a funny tale of a little sister tasked with keeping an evil cat away from a zombie goldfish that it desperately wants to eat! The cat is no match for this strong little girl who knows how to hold her own. In the end, she does the job they hired her to do and then some.
Otto Goes to Bed by Todd Parr is an entertaining and positive book. Otto is a dog who doesn’t want to go to bed; he wants to play, chase his tail, and a bath, and brushing teeth doesn’t help. Instead, he figures out that there is something he likes about bedtime, dreaming! I love that this book addresses that going to bed feels like missing out on things for kids. I know I felt like that for years. Instead of blankly saying, “Sleeping is great” or “You have to go to bed,” this book finds something positive about going to bed. Todd Parr books are among my very favorite books to read at preschool, and this book is no exception.
Dogfish by Gillian Shields is a book with a simple premise that knocks it out of the park. A little boy wants a dog, but it’s simply not practical for him and his mom to have one. They are busy, live on a high floor in an apartment building, and besides, they have a rad goldfish already! What seems like a sweet story is profound. It teaches children about dealing with disappointment but doesn’t shame them for it. It’s all about making the most of what you do have. Please note: this book features a single mom with no explanation of the family structure, which is something people ask me for all the time, so it’s worth a note.
For a longer list of pet books for preschool, click here or on the image below.
Like these activities and want even more? Check out my teacher store for more printable thematic units that offer pages and pages of ideas, teaching tips, and hands-on learning. Teacher shop.
Hello there, thanks so much for your ideas and offering free printables. You helped a busy mom out. I think my 3 1/2 year old will especially dig the “guess which animal game,” and the vet exam check list. Thanks again for sharing your creativity with us!
Thanks a lot! A cat is easy to make and so cute, and I like the song about the fish too!