Most kids have a strong interest in animals. To help your child learn more about the needs of animals and how to treat them well, identify opportunities for your family to help animals in your community. While most animal shelters have age restrictions on volunteering at the shelter, there are many other things your child and your family can do to better understand animals and support animals in need.
Take a tour
If you don’t already know of an animal shelter or rescue group in your area, check online to find one near you. See if your local shelter offers programs for young children or tours for families.
If you can’t physically visit the shelter, have your family take a virtual tour and check on the shelter’s website for a wish list of needed items or ideas for other ways to help.
Collect for pets
Once you know the needs of animals in your community, collecting items for your local animal shelter can be a fun family activity. To help your child understand those needs, talk with your child about his or her own needs and the importance of meeting them. Discuss the needs of pets—especially those that don’t have homes—and why it is critical to get those needs met.
Towels and blankets are almost always needed. Your family can look through your blankets and towels and gather any that are old or not getting much use in your household. Ask friends, relatives, and neighbors if they have items to add to your collection and offer to pick them up to take to the shelter. Make sure everything you have collected gets laundered before you drop it off so animals at the shelter will have clean, warm bedding.
Encourage your child to write notes to let friends and family know how much was collected and to thank them for contributing. Talk about your family’s accomplishment and ask your child if he or she has ideas for how to help collect other items needed by your local shelter.
Change animals’ lives with spare change
Help change the lives of animals in need with your family’s spare change. Animal shelters and animal rescue groups need to raise a lot of money to help provide safe shelter and pay for food and health care for animals in need. Every nickel and dime helps!
Have your child make a simple collection jar for saving spare change. Provide a clean, empty jar (a peanut butter jar works well) and have your child cover it with paper. He or she can decorate the jar with drawings of animals or use this Spare Change to Help Animals in Need printable label. Your child can also make collection jars to give to friends and relatives to collect even more spare change to donate.
Encourage everyone in your house to add their loose change and found money to the jar. You can even divide family members into two teams and start a competition to see which team can find the most change at home. Check under those couch cushions!
Kids will be amazed to see how loose change adds up to a donation that makes a difference.