World Animal Day is coming up! Acknowledging that companion animals have a strong impact on child development, the teacher wants to raise awareness among her young students about the importance of caring for animals. After all, research has shown that there is a link between pets and higher self-awareness, cognitive development and social skills in children. To awaken the kids’ creativity and curiosity, the teacher has something different in mind…
“For World Animal Day, you need to bring your favorite pet toy to the kindergarten and explain why you chose it. It can be any animal you wish, even…a piggy!” the teacher announced to the class. The children immediately started thinking about which pet toy to bring.
The day of the presentation has now arrived and the teacher makes an introduction, before calling on the students to show their pet toy. “Did you know that pets affect our psychology?” she asks them. “Let’s see your own pet toys! Why did you choose them? Tim, you’re first!”
Tim gets up and presents his dog, Blue. “With Blue, I learn to solve mysteries, after I collect all the clues she gives me. When I pet her tummy, she barks like a real dog! I pay a lot of attention to her and give many hugs. I know that dogs need love and attention, so every day after school I talk to her and tell her how my day was.”
Now it’s Marina’s turn. She pulls out of her bag Lucky the piggy. “Lucky needs daily care. I take her for walks and feed her with her bottle when she’s hungry. I always make sure all her needs are taken care of. Lucky is very affectionate and wants hugs and kisses! She may not be a puppy, but that doesn’t mean anything, because all animals need love!”
Niki takes the floor. “I’ll show you my stuffed Emotion pets puppy. My puppy drinks water from his bottle and when he wants attention, he cries. Luckily, I have the vet’s accessories, a thermometer and a towel, and I immediately take care of him. I don’t want my puppy to cry, so I always make sure to give him everything he needs.”
Finally, it’s Alex’s turn. “I couldn’t decide, so I brought all of my 12 Washimals. You see them colored because I painted them! You can find a red bunny, a green cat and a purple dog! When I give them a bath, I always remember to wipe them with a towel, so they don’t get cold! I love them so much.”
The teacher can’t hide her wide smile. The young children, without realizing it, described a series of soft skills that they cultivate by taking care of their pet toys. All children showed signs of emotional intelligence, as they understood the needs of their animals, took good care of them and expressed their feelings for them. The teacher pointed out the children’s creativity and curiosity about their beloved friends, as they solved mysteries with them, went for walks, drew and played the role of the vet. Also, two key soft skills that are enhanced when dealing with pet toys are responsibility and initiative, since the children undertake important responsibilities on their own.
The lesson ends and the bell rings. The teacher has achieved her goal. The children, through the toys, were able to improve themselves, develop their skills and show affection and care to the pet toys.