The Playlist: Animal-themed crafts, virtual events, and fun with pets
For the month of May, we’re talking and learning all about animals! With pet adoptions on the rise, it’s clear that we’re all craving cuddles with furry friends, so why not give them some extra attention as we continue quarantine? Since we’re all embarking on this homeschooling journey together until fall, The Playlist is here to give you just a few ideas for how to keep the littles busy while you try and get some work done.
Be inspired by four-legged, furry friends and get your craft on with these artsy, animal-themed ideas:
Feel like making some cute crafts? Check out this list of ten, super easy animal crafts you can do with just a few supplies at home.
Creature Feature with TAM! Visit Tacoma Art Museum’s online animal art gallery, designed with kids in mind! View historical, famous works from a variety of cultures and media, all displaying the importance, grace, and energy of animals.
Get Crafty with BAM! Bellevue Arts Museum has put together a series of easy-to-follow YouTube art tutorials, many with an animal theme. Make a Silly Sea Turtle out of popsicle sticks and yarn, use watercolors to paint a Rainbow Fish, or create a fun Jellyfish Hat out of cellophane and a paper bowl.
Need more artsy ideas? Visit our Kids + Art Pinterest page for inspiration, which we’ve been adding to frequently.
Home learning featuring animals!
Try a few of these simple, animal-themed ideas that connect to learning, play, and creativity:
Animal math: Using animal toys or stuffed animals (or even pictures or drawings of animals), begin by counting the number of legs on each animal. The next step is adding (or subtracting, multiplying, etc.) those numbers together. “How many legs do six dogs have?” “Add together the legs of three cats, one goat, two birds and a snake!”
Get an animal pen-pal: Pasado's Safe Haven in Sultan is missing their guests, and are extending an invitation for kids to choose an animal pen-pal from their sanctuary to write to! Choose from Blue Cow, Stella Turkey, and other adorable friends, and get to writing!
Animal reading: Have your kiddos pick a selection of their favorite animal books from your home collection, or choose a few new titles from your local online library system. Choose from Seattle Public Libraries, King County Library System, or Sno-Isle Libraries.
Animal themed coding: Living Computer Museum has created an awesome tutorial for building your own MakeCode Arcade game. MakeCode is designed for anyone who wants to learn to code, and this tutorial for beginners features ducks and cats.
Animal sticker & coloring books: The dollar store usually carries a wide variety of activity books. Select a few with an animal theme and provide some quiet down-time during the day.
Animal “pretend” play: My five-year-old’s hands-down favorite activity right now is pretending to be a puppy. Make your child’s week by getting down on all fours and playing make-believe for ten minutes. Or, encourage your child to play “veterinarian” and give their stuffed animals a check up.
Home pet care: Have a pet in the house? Bring your kids into the process of taking care of it. Depending on age, kids can feed, walk, pick up poo, or even simply play "fetch" with your pet in the backyard. Thinking about jumping on the quarantine-pet-adoption bandwagon? Start small with a goldfish, reptile, or ant farm. And, here are some things to consider before taking the pet-plunge.
Animal & nature online learning programs: Here are a few of our favorite online home learning programs, created by local museums and zoos. Become a wildlife detective, create a garden for bees in your backyard, observe birds in your neighborhood, and much more.
Even if we can't venture too far, there are plenty of online opportutnies to observe, play with, and learn about animals right from your home. Visit our Virtual Events Calendar for even more animal exploraion.
Endangered Species Week! May 11-15 is Endangered Species Week (the day of celebration is Friday, May 15) and one great way to celebrate is by joining the Endangered Species Coalition for a special storytime each morning at 9 a.m. on Facebook Live. Each day features a fun and educational story about an animal who needs our help.
Auburn’s Petpalooza Mutt Strut. Because of COVID and the cancelation of the Auburn Dog Trot and Fun Run, the event is going virtual! This is a great way to get outside and be active with your pet(s), and join other community members (in spirit) as they do the same. Register online, and participate whenever and wherever is convenient for you.
Super Snack Time with Woodland Park Zoo. Every Tuesday at 2 p.m., Woodland Park Zoo goes live on Facebook with an animal keeper and a zoo resident, sharing facts and answering questions while the animals chow down.
Seattle Aquarium live feedings. Join otters and seals throughout the day as they play, lounge, and eat in their habitats at the Seattle Aquarium. Check our Virtual Events Calendar for specific feeding times.
Zoo2U with Cougar Mountain Zoo. On Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m., catch animals from this Issaquah zoo live on camera as zookeepers bring the excitement to your home, virtually! Observe and learn about different animals for each event.
Home Safari with Cincinnati Zoo. Feel like venturing out of state (virtually, of course)? Each weekday at noon, the Zoo highlights one of their amazing animal residents and shares an interactive home activity based on zoo life.
Cat Chats with KCLS. Practice reading via Zoom to a book-loving kitty cat and a KCLS staff member. Pre-register for a Thursday session early, as these events are very popular and fill up quickly.
More animal love!
Looking for more animal-inspo? Check out these quick articles featuring families, pets, and even a DIY “catio!”
Send us a picture of your family pet and we might feature it in an upcoming Seattle's Child story! Email your photo of Fido to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leah Winters is the Calendar Editor for Seattle’s Child, and a former K through 8 teacher with a Masters in Art Education from Boston University. She is also the mother to three young boys, ages 7, 4, and 1. For more ideas on themed learning from bugs to outer space to farm life and much more, check out her blog at creativehomeeducation.com or follow her on Instagram.