How does contact with animals help my child learn?


Children learn from animals

Animals can provide great opportunities for entertainment and learning. Most children are naturally drawn to animals; therefore interaction with animals can be a fun activity where learning comes as a side-affect.

Children become more actively engaged and learning will become easier when they are interested and enjoying themselves. It is for these reasons that animal images are widely used in school activities throughout the curriculum – for example counting the lions in maths. Animals are also often used in schools to teach children about caring for things and the cycle of life.

The benefits of children having pets

There is endless research on the benefits of children having pets at home. This experience can teach kids a range of important life lessons on responsibility, compassion, empathy, kindness, friendship, and patience (to name just a few skills and attributes !!). Whilst these lessons are learnt from interaction with animals, the key learning is also relevant to human interaction. A US study highlighted that children with animals at home are more likely to have higher self-esteem. There is even evidence showing that having a pet at home can reduce the risk of developing common allergies and asthma.


Pets have also been known to help support children who struggle with reading

Children will find it easier reading to a curled up cat or dog than reading to an adult. Over time, reading to a pet will promote more confidence with a child's reading at home and at school.


Children learn responsibility

The physical responsibility of looking after a pet is also beneficial for children and provides them with active jobs around the house. These active jobs will include jobs such as cleaning out cages, taking dogs for walks, feeding, playing etc.


Other benefits for your child

Days out to see animals, for example visiting a zoo or farm, will also have many benefits for children and even babies and toddlers.

This kind of contact with animals will develop a greater understanding of compassion, responsibility, and empathy just like having a pet does. It is good for children to learn about different animals and their important role in our world. Children need to see that they relate heavily to our everyday lives. As part of this learning children will start to understand more about nature and our environment as well as other environments. Understanding animals' different habitats is important and teaches us about their different needs as well as habitats around the world.


Help your child understand animals

Children need to understand that animals live in different conditions and in different environments. In particular Zoos will help teach your kids about more exotic animals that they might not otherwise have come across. Visiting these animals may cement learning they have done in nursery and school or from reading books. It will connect the learning with reality and make lessons come alive to reinforce learning.

With 67% of the UK population living in towns and cities, many children are not aware of the position of themselves and animals in the environment and the world as a whole. Contact with animals is essential to understanding our place in nature.
  • As well as being a valuable learning tool, contact with animals can be one of your fun baby activities from an early age.
  • Animals can make children smile, laugh, and create curiosity. Some animals can create a sense of risk and adventure, which is exciting for children.
  • Looking after pets is great experience for children and going out to see different animals will benefit the whole family and can make for an exciting day out.



Click to read more on how children learn

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