School’s out, but there are still plenty of lessons you can teach your kids. Make the most of summer break and spread compassion with these kid-friendly activities that help animals.
Whether you live on a busy city street corner or a quiet cul-de-sac in the suburbs, there’s usually no shortage of people happy to buy a cup of lemonade on a hot day. Make signs letting customers know that the funds raised will go towards a local animal shelter, and we bet you’ll hear “keep the change” quite a bit. Raise even more by getting creative and selling other treats, like iced coffee and baked goods. Your kids will learn a lot about running a business, and understand firsthand the joy of giving when they accompany you to their favorite shelter to drop off the money they raised and see the animals they are helping.
Stuck inside on a rainy day? There are tons of quick, easy, and fun craft projects you and your kids can make to entertain shelter pets while they wait for their forever homes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Fleece tug toys for dogs
What you need (per toy): Scissors, a yardstick, and two pieces of fleece from the fabric store, at least eight inches wide and a yard long. Pick out contrasting colors and prints for easier assembly.
Directions: Lay fleece out on a table or the floor and cut two strips from one piece and one strip from the other. Each strip should be about one-yard long and four inches wide. Stack the strips on top of each other, alternating the colors or prints. Gather the fleece in your hand and tie a knot at one end with all the strips, leaving about an inch of fabric above the knot. Braid the strips and then tie another knot at the other end (again leaving an inch of fabric hanging off).
Cat-approved pipe cleaner springs
What you need (per toy): One unsharpened pencil and a pipe cleaner (or two, if you want to make it extra colorful).
Directions: Fold down the sharp edges of the pipe cleaner. Start with one end of the pipe cleaner and wrap tightly around the pencil. If you’re using two, wrap the second pipe cleaner directly next to (but not on top of) the one you’ve already wrapped around the pencil. Remove from pencil.
Light up the grill for some delicious veggie burgers and tofu dogs! It doesn’t have to be Mondays, but selecting one day a week and declaring it meat-free is a simple way to start educating your children about humane and conscious food choices. We’re sure this is one activity your kids will be happy to carry on all year long.
Homeless animals, particularly kittens, are extremely prevalent in the warmer months. You may not be quite ready to add another pet to your family, but summer—when everyone is home and there are extra helping hands on deck—is a great time to open your doors to an animal in need. Fostering a pet teaches kids priceless lessons about love, kindness, and the power of second chances. Contact your local animal shelter to learn about their fostering program and whether your home would be a good fit.
Kids learn by example, so show them how important it is to volunteer by doing it yourself and taking them with you. Many shelters in the Chicago area and beyond offer junior and family volunteer programs where kids and adults can come in and help out with the animals either hands- on or behind the scenes.
Make a difference this summer by supporting positivity and compassion. Your kids, and the animals, will be better for it.