Explore! A Child's Nature
--Caregiver ChallengeAt the Play ZooNature ActivitiesCommunity Scrapbook
Girl with parakeet
"Mom, Dad, can I have a pet python?"

Pets help kids build empathy for other living things, understand the animals' basic needs (food, water,shelter, and attention), sharpen their observation skills about animals' habitats and behaviors, practice being responsible, and experience the joy of unconditional love.

 Activity Sheets

Choosing an appropriate pet
Enriching your pet's life
Dealing with the
death of a pet

How can we choose an appropriate pet for our family?
Many kids ask (or beg!) for a pet at some point. Helping to research, select, and care for a pet is a great way for children to strengthen their connection with the animal world. If youıre thinking about saying yes to a pet, Gail Mikenas, curator of Childrenıs Zoo at Brookfield Zoo, suggests you consider the following:

Who will take care of it?
Who will clean its cage or tank on a regular basis, take it to the veterinarian, care for it when the family is away, and give it the food, water, exercise, and attention it needs?

How much will it cost over the pet's lifetime?
Consider the costs of food, bedding, cages and crates, grooming, vet care, and possibly fencing for a yard.

Is anyone allergic to it?
Go to the home of someone with a pet like the one you're interested in to see if anyone in your family is allergic to it. This is important if you're considering birds and mammals.

How much space will it need?
Visit a library or animal shelter to research the size of a cage, tank, or kennel and where it would be located.

What will you do if the pet doesn't work out?
Brookfield Zoo cannot accept pet animals, but a variety of animal shelters and organizations can help place unwanted pets. Choosing your pet carefully minimizes the need to look for an alternate home.

A girl and her dog
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Go Wild!