We know the "shelter-in-place" order and social distancing can be difficult at times. Especially for those with kids! Below we've provided a list of online resources to help teach kids compassion and a love and understanding of their animal companions while having fun. Don't forget that part! Having fun is important! (That's why I threw in random silly photos of pets.) Let's dig in!
TeachHeart.org - These resources are amazing. They offer downloadable lesson plans on companion animal issues for K-12. They have great downloadable lesson plans on companion animal issues. Please note you do have to sign up for their newsletter to gain access to the lesson plans. I also love their lesson plans on compassion and being a good world citizen! Don't pass this one up! Quite honestly, I could learn a lot from some of their secondary school lessons. They also have interactive modules online at nearpod, webinars, videos and book lists.
Examples of companion animal and animal welfare related lessons plans include "Make a Puppy Face", "Happy Pet Environments", "Help Me Find a Home", "Helping Homeless Animals", "Animal Communication", "Puppy Mills Exposed", "Animal Heroes", "Circle of Compassion", "What's Really Happening on the Farm", "It's Raining Cats and Dogs", "Why We Eat What We Eat", etc. They also have an adorable, if somewhat dated for today's kids, online game called "Compassionate Investigators in Training - The Case of the Sick Puppy." I went through the beginning of the game and it is certainly holds true to what we see in rescue. Their description reads "Join Cora, Kazu, and Casey to solve the Case of the Sick Puppy. As part of the CIT Squad, you are a Compassionate Investigator in Training, who gathers clues through research, conducting interviews, and following leads. You will experience unexpected situations along the way, and have to decide what to do. Hopefully, you will be able to solve the mystery of the sick puppy before it is too late." This site is a goldmine!
The Institute for Human Education has a huge variety of lesson plans on a large selection of issues. Some examples of animal welfare related lesson plans are "Not Enough Homes: Adding Up the Pet Overpopulation Problem", "Whom Do You Pet & Whom Do You Eat?", "Too Many Kittens", "Council of All Beings" and "Circle of Compassion." I was particularly impressed seeing titles like "A Moment in Your Shoes", "Beyond Us and Them", and "One Person Can Change the World." I know several adults who could benefit from watching those.
The Latham Foundation - They have 25 science and nature videos including "Horses, Horses", "Backyard Animals", "Training Your Dog" and "Our Friend the Veterinarian."
The American Humane Association - Downloadable lesson plans include "What a Dog Needs", "Introduction to Animals" and "Can I Have a Dog, Please?" They also have units of lesson plans covering "Do Animals Matter?", "Pet Overpopulation in the United States", "Pet Responsibility" and "Animals and Cosmetic Testing."
The National Humane Education Society - They offer downloadable lesson plans like "A Parked Car is an Oven", "Dog Bite Prevention Role-Play" and "Dogs And Cats Of The World."
I'm sure there are more great resources out there, but this should give you a place to start. Stay sane out there!