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5 ways to teach children about pets

Friendship can come in all shapes and sizes. But there’s nothing cuter than to see a friendship blossom between a pet and a child. Or is it?

As parents and educators, we have the responsibility to educate our children on how to take care of their pets. The skill to learn to take care of their pet = mascota is a lesson that they will carry on forever.

Not just to other pets but socially to others. When they start to care for others, they also learn about the traits of friendship = amistad and kindness = bondad.

But are all children capable of learning about friendship and kindness by having a pet?

They can learn by having another childhood friend and most certainly can learn by interacting with parents and caregivers. But if the child keeps asking for that puppy for the millionth time, maybe it’s time to consider a pet in the home.

However, there are some considerations to keep in mind when introducing a pet to children.

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1.  Visit the local pet store

Most children love to visit the local pet store in their hometown. It is an exploration magnet full of experiences for young children. In some areas, they offer adoption days, where families interested in adopting a pet can interact with various species to see the right type of pet.

Once families consider the right pet for their home, usually the necessary adoption papers can be done at the pet store. But take this opportunity to introduce other types of pets that otherwise you might not consider. Walk around the pet store to see which pets the child is interested in adopting.

Then, talk about it. Of course, ask questions to the child about responsibilities to take care of their pet.

2.  Visit Pet Parks

Most suburban areas in cities have pet parks exclusively for dogs and cats. If fortunate enough to have these pet parks in your area, take the children to experience the diverse types of canines and felines. There are numerous types of variation between dogs and cats.

So, widen their knowledge of the many types of pets. If at all possible, try to interact with these pets, if the owner allows. This visit is a valuable opportunity to teach how to approach a strange pet:

  • ask permission from the owner,
  • ask the pet’s name,
  • put your hand out to sniff,
  • allow the pet to sniff your hand, and
  • invite the pet to get to know you.

3.  Visit with family or friends that have pets

By visiting with relatives or friends that already have pets, this lesson allows one-on-one interaction in a safe environment. Since the child is probably already familiar with the surroundings, it might be more comfortable to play with pets. Unless the family member or friend has many types of pets, this playtime allows one type of pet interaction.

4.  Visit pet shelters

Most animal shelters in cities have numerous abandonded pets. Unlike a pet store, these facilities serve the purpose to rescue abandoned pets. Most pets in these shelters have been abused or neglected by their owners.

Try to visit these shelters with caution since most of the animals have bruises, cuts, or injured. Also, this situation presents a great opportunity for the importance and responsibility of taking care of pets.

5.  Visit a local zoo

Many cities have a local zoo that you can visit. Here, you can introduce the many varieties of species. But a key point is that not all animals make great pets. However, many of them are still wildlife animals.

Perhaps, consider whether that particular pet would make a great family member or not. But it is a wonderful opportunity to explain children that the world contains many different species.

Whether your family already has a pet or is considering a pet, there is no better time to explain the importance of taking care of a pet. Having a pet is the best lesson in friendship a child can learn. Introduction of a pet to a child is one of the most valuable interactions a parent or caregiver can have as a family.

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Spanish books for children to learn about farm animals

Farm animals are great topics to introduce science and common Spanish terms to children. The terms for each animal can easily be associated with simple picture books. Many children may have seen ducks, chickens, cows, horses, and other farm animals at some point in their lives. But how can they captivate a child’s learning span?

Children can recognize some of these animals but parents can also encourage the function of each animal in the farm. For instance, cows provide milk while chickens give eggs. Many of these concepts can be related to everyday activities such as grocery shopping or cooking.

Learning about farm animals can be a great way to not only introduce basic terms, but it can also provide a path for children to increase Spanish vocabulary. The following books are great resources for parents to read to children about them. Many of these books are categorized by reading level, depending on each individual need.

Parents shouldn’t be discouraged if children don’t understand some words. It is important to point out the print of the word and associate it with the picture in the book. For instance, the cow is vaca in Spanish. Then, parents can point vaca in the picture. As children become more familiar with these terms, other words and concepts can be introduced.

“Animales de la granja” by Elisabeth de Lambilly-Bresson

Children can learn about seven farm animals in easy to read format. This picture book provides simply facts about each animal. It seems almost like a fun game of guessing.

  • Spanish beginners book
  • Age group: 5 and up
  • ISBN: 9780836881042

“Los animales de la granja” by Christophe Hublet

Is it possible to learn about farm animals with a dictionary? Absolutely, this amazing picture book certainly shows how farm concepts and terms can be illustrated easily for children to learn. This reference book describes the farm life with 9 easy to read concepts. This is a wonderful addition to any beginning reader in Spanish. This is part of the “Diccionario de los peques” series.

  • Spanish book
  • Age group: all ages
  • ISBN: 9782215086246

“La granja” by Angela Leeper and translated by Paul Osborn

Children can learn about how a farm functions and what they can find in this simple non-fiction book. In ten easy chapters, this book illustrates what a farm is, what animals you can find, what type of machines are there, and much more. Many children may have a different idea of a farm. And this book greatly expresses the facts of one. It also includes additional resources.

  • Spanish beginners book
  • Age group: 5 and up
  • ISBN: 1403456380

“Manchita, la vaquita torpe” by Julia Moffatt and illustrated by Lisa Williams.

In this wonderful picture book, children can read about a clumsy cow that actually saves the day. This level 1 reading book presents simple Spanish words and phrases. It’s a perfect book for beginners in Spanish. Verb usage and vocabulary are simple and easy to understand. Additional reading comprehension questions and keywords are included at the end of the book. This book is part of the “Lectores Relámpago” series.

  • Spanish beginners book
  • Age group: 5 and up
  • ISBN: 0769640796

“Tra-la-la” by Marcia Vaughan and illustrated by Kim Howard

Children will be fascinated to read this delightful picture book. They can discover the many exciting animals that live in a farm. This level 2 book helps beginning readers to form simple sentences, which eventually can lead to independent reading in Spanish. By using simple sentences, it provides the reader with the correct use of word order. This book is part of the “Déjame Leer” series.

  • Spanish intermediate book
  • Age group: 5 and up
  • ISBN: 9780673362995

“El día que el perro dijo, ‘¡Quiquiriquí!’” by David McPhail and translated by Susana Pasternac

In this level 2 picture book, children not only can learn about farm animals but they can also read more complex sentences. The story of this delightful book can entertain children while learning about basic Spanish punctuation and verb usage. The text easily reinforces basic Spanish grammar. This is a great book for emergent readers in Spanish. This book is part of the “¡Hola, Lector!” series for Spanish readers.

  • Spanish intermediate book
  • Age group: 6 and up
  • ISBN: 9780439071642

“El Gran Granero Rojo” by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Felicia Bond, and translated by Aida E. Marcuse

This wonderful picture book illustrates how farm animals work and live in la granja. Content of this book uses advance Spanish vocabulary and grammar. And it is a great book for advanced readers in Spanish. Words such as vasto, apilado, perplejo, fina, atenta, rebuznaba, proseguía and so many more are a few examples of the richness in vocabulary.

  • Spanish book only
  • Age group: 7 and up
  • ISBN: 0060262257

“Alberto y Lila” by Rafik Schami, illustrated by Els Cools and Oliver Streich, and translated by Gerardo Gambolini

Children can learn such a valuable lesson in friendship in this wonderful picture book. A white pig named Alberto and a polka dot chicken named Lila make an unusual pair of friends. Although their peers do not like them, Alberto and Lila still save the farm animals from a hungry fox. The content in this beautiful picture book provides extensive Spanish vocabulary and grammar for the advanced reader.

  • Spanish book only
  • Age group: 10 and up
  • ISBN: 9780735816947

Reading is a journey for any beginning reader. By taking small steps to literature in Spanish, the beginning reader can easily transition to being an emergent and advanced reader. Learning Spanish for children can be conquered with persistence and positive motivation.

Find these great books at your local library, bookstore or Amazon. 

Add them today to your home library.

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Facts about penguins for kids

Some birds fly to warmer climates in winter to stay warm. Other birds just stay in their natural habitat. For penguins, it is a matter of using pre-existent physical features that helps them survive the harsh winter.

During the winter season, penguins need to survive the hard conditions of short days and little or no food. But their bodies have adapted to withstand the freezing temperatures that surround them. But how do penguins stay warm? Very simply, they use their body fat. That’s right!

The body fat in penguins serves as insulation to keep them warm from the inside out. Insulation uses special non-conductive materials to maintain the drastic changes in temperature or prevent the release of heat. Fat generates heat in the form of special molecules. These special components in fat, when broken down, hold the heat inside a body. This layer of fat in the epidermal skin layer acts as a sealant from the outside world to the inner layer of the penguin.

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In this way, penguins are able to withhold the freezing temperatures or blustering winds. Not only does fat serves as energy, but also it is the main supply for penguins to survive when food sources are low or scarce. Just like in hibernation, the fat is converted to energy to keep penguins warm and alive.

But unlike polar bears, penguins stay awake during the winter season. This is very crucial for the survival of penguins, especially for the male penguin. The male penguin is the partner that cares and maintains the egg while the female penguin hunts for food. It keeps the fertilized egg tucked inside its warm pouch incubating it until it’s ready to hatch.

The male penguin doesn’t have much chance to hunt or find food during this period. And it loses about 50% of their body weight during this nesting season. While predators are at large during the winter season, male penguins have to worry about keeping their precious possessions – their eggs, alive. In this family of penguins, everyone has a part to play. And to help them survive it all, they have fat as the insulation barrier.