Dogs and preschoolers go hand in hand -- they lick things, constantly need to go to the bathroom and have boundless energy. Hopefully your tot doesn't frighten the mail carrier, too. Expand your child's enthusiasm about dogs into a learning opportunity at home. Her love of Waggles will transition into fun and memorable science experiments.
Pet Food Activity
Put different kinds of dry dog food in small, zipped baggies. Let your child handle the different baggies, feeling the shape and size of the food. Talk about the different kibble sizes and tell her the large kibble is for big dogs who have big teeth and the small kibble is for puppies who have baby teeth. Find a brand of dog food that has mixed kibble and another that has different colored kibble and talk about the different types of flavors that are represented. Open a can of wet dog food and put some in a baggie. Talk about why some dogs prefer this type of food. Compare dog food to another type of pet food such as fish food or hamster food.
Buy a small dog biscuit or bone. Give your child a shoe box full of playground sand. Let her dig a deep hole, bury the bone and cover it up again. Tell her that domestic dogs are thought to be descendants of wolves. Explain that wolves and other wild dogs bury their food to hide it from other animals and to save it for later. Let your preschooler bury the bone several times in different areas of the sand while you close your eyes and then dig to find it. Have her close her eyes while you bury the bone and let her dig to find it. Instruct her to repeat the activity with siblings, friends or family members.
Bake Dog Biscuits
Have fun in the kitchen while learning the science that goes into making simple dog biscuits. Mix two cups of whole wheat flour with one tablespoon of baking powder in a bowl. In another bowl, mix one cup of natural, unsalted peanut butter and one cup of skim milk. Blend the contents of both bowls together to form dough. Kneed the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into 1/4 inch thickness and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees and cool the biscuits before feeding them to Fido. Talk about the natural ingredients in the recipe and the importance of not feeding too many treats to a dog at once.
Sit with your preschooler and make a chart with four columns. Label each column with different kinds of popular dogs such as Labradors, Chihuahuas, Dalmatians and Beagles. Print a picture of each type of dog, let her cut them out and glue the photos to the corresponding columns. Have your child take a poll of family members, neighbors, classmates and teachers to see which dog is the most popular and why. Talk about the different characteristics of the dogs and what people like about each dog.
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