Pet Shop Activities
Every mom, dad, and grandma needs a few activities that are always at the ready. Our pet shop scavenger hunt and math games are easy enough to pull out quickly when you are dying for a new idea, and can work well together or individually. Whether you use our pet shop activities for a rainy day, an afternoon outing when you are all stir crazy at home, or a fun activity to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon, we can guarantee that kiddos of all ages will love it. We bet that you never knew that a trip to your local pet store could fill an entire afternoon full of activities and learning opportunities. Don’t believe us? Keep on reading.
While heading to your local pet shop can be a nice break in a day on its own, adding a bit of excitement by whipping up a scavenger hunt can make a fun trip seem extraordinary. You can adapt your scavenger hunt to your child’s abilities, or what they are working on. Check out this one that I jotted down for my four year old son (don’t judge the drawing – this Mama isn’t an artist!). He can’t quite read yet, but looking for just “orange things” or “blue things” would be a combination of boring and overwhelming for him. Instead, I focused on specific animals. Before we headed out, I asked him if he knew what my drawings were of. He did (hooray!), and we were off. He thought it was hilarious that I had listed “Rudolph” as the final item, and was genuinely curious if we would see a shark.
You can adapt your scavenger hunt any way you please. I have done plenty of pet shop hunts where my son got to mark off items as he found them. However, today I wanted him to count how many he found so that we could use those numbers for math problems back at home. Armed with a pencil and his sheet, we headed to the pet shop to look for people, fish aquarium castles, snails, snakes and everything in between.
Your scavenger hunt might look like mine, or you might choose to write down letters and have your child find something that starts with each letter (B is for Beta Fish, T is for tadpole). This is a great adaptation for kids working on phonics skills. Older kids can ditch the pictures and read your list of things to find, and younger kids can look for colors. Our pet shop knows us by now and always wants to see the scavenger hunt we are working on when we walk in the door. Have some fun experimenting with what to include on your child’s hunt, and don’t worry if you’re an awful artist (like me).
Math Word Problems
Once we filled out our scavenger hunt, and got into a serious talk about turtles with one of the pet shop employees, we were ready to head home. After lunch, my son and I took out his scavenger hunt page and started to work on math. My guy is working on learning what (+) means, as well as (=). I decided to put those into practice with some scavenger hunt math problems.
Using the same, highly professional, drawings from his hunt sheet, I started making symbol math problems.
Orange fish + Crabs = People + Rudolphs =
My little guy loved it, and he was able to fill in the numbers. If the counts got too high for his fingers, we drew it out and he was able to count up the sum that way. I liked that we (surprise, gasp!) didn’t find any Rudolphs, as that was a wonderful way to introduce adding with zeros.
Depending on your little one, you can switch your symbol word problems to include subtraction, division, and multiplication. Or, for younger kids, simply counting to the number is excellent practice that teaches foundational math skills.
Other Follow Up
Once you are able to complete your scavenger hunt, be sure to talk about your experience together on the way home, and then again when you are at home. Ask your child’s favorite animal, something interesting that he learned, something that he was surprised about. Even better, have him recount your trip to someone else (give grandma a call). This way, you are able to hear him tell the story which gives you a unique perspective on what he remembers and enjoyed the most.
As for my guy, turtles were the highlight of the trip. Thanks to some certain amphibians of the teenage and ninja variety, turtles are a hot topic over here. After Daddy got home from work, we pulled up some information on Galapagos tortoises to read together. It didn’t take too many fun facts for us to all learn something new together. Letting our son sit on our lap while we googled images and information about the tortoises was teaching him skills for internet literacy, and letting him know that even mom and dad don’t know the answers to everything. Our quick search and reading time was a wonderful way to cap off our pet shop day. Then, it was off to bath time where the little guy insisted on two guests – turtles, of course.