Pet Store Expedition
Caution: Don't let kids tap on tanks or stick fingers into cages—it could be dangerous. And if your kid wants to pet some pets, ask the shop owner first—many will let you handle specific animals.
What to Pack
- Magnifying glass
- Sketch pad
- Name it. As you first explore the store, ask your child if he can name the animals he sees. He might be able to identify goldfish and turtle, but how about salamanders and gerbils?
- Rhyme it. Say, "I see an animal that rhymes with 'funny.'" Can your child find it? Can he think of a rhyme for "mice" or "fish"?
- Sort and classify. What's scaly? What's furry? What has a tail? What doesn't? What has four legs? What has none? What has paws? Claws?
- How are similar animals different? What's the difference between a hamster and a guinea pig? (Hamsters are smaller and nocturnal.) A lizard and a salamander? (Lizards are reptiles; salamanders are amphibians.)
- Who's hiding? Encourage your child to look closely as you explain how camouflage coloring protects the animal from predators. Look for that master quick-change artist: the chameleon.
- Watch for sign language. Observe what animals do to communicate. Which animal sticks out its tongue? Which wiggles its nose? Which stamps its foot? Which wags its tail? Which turns tail and hides?
- Let's play! What games do animals play? Watch fish playing hide-and-seek, puppies playing tag, kittens playing ball, hamsters running on a wheel. Compare pet toys to your child's toys. Can your child find a ball, a squeak toy, a doll, a treasure chest, a pull-toy?
- Sound off. What sounds do the animals make? Can your child squeak like a mouse? Meow like a cat? Yap like a puppy? What animals make no sound?
- Investigate. Ask your child these questions:
- Which animals swim? Fly? Slither? Crawl? Hop?
- What colors are the animals?
- What do the different animals eat? (You might ask the shop assistant for help with the answers.)
- What animals make the best pets? Why? Can you think of animals that would not be good pets?
- Record your findings. Have kids sketch and take notes about their favorite animal at the store.
- Read all about it. Check out Emma's Strange Pet by Jean Little, Not Norman by Kelly Bennett, Oh, the Pets You Can Get! by Tish Rabe and The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! by Mo Willems.
Bonus Explorer Activity Back home, imagine if an egg delivered to the pet store hatched into a dinosaur! Write a story about it.
For more ways to explore together, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for your child at DoraTheExplorer.com.
Thanks to Susan Hood
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