Children seem naturally drawn to helping animals. I always see their caring nature show through when telling a story about an injured animal who came through our wildlife hospital at work. Extending on an experience or story they have heard into a home play activity is a wonderful way of continuing to foster that connection with and empathy for animals.
During one of our weekend family days we finally visited my work (I’m a wildlife Education officer at a zoo) and since Miss Possum had been asking about vets, we took her to the wildlife hospital. She was fascinated and started fixing the animals on an educational play table straight away. It didn’t take her long to play vet at home too so I built some vet resources for her to use during play.
Your child may prefer to be a cat and dog vet in a general practice or they may want to be a wildlife vet. It really depends on how many stuffed toys you have around the house! We found out we could do either after a nocturnal and diurnal activity last year, using toys, exposed how many stuffed animals we really have!
What you need for a vet surgery play
- Gloves – don’t forget those. Our vet thought they we very important.
- Play doctor equipment (we already has a stethoscope)
- Pretend medicine
- Little table for check ups
- Play knife (for surgery)
- Boxes (places to keep animals overnight)
- Phone (to ring customers when an animal need to be picked up
I also created some vet play print outs for you too. Miss Possum really loved these.
Play Vet Resources Printable
Next Appointment Sheet
Vet Surgery Animal Record Sheet
I purposely made these resources to not only encourage writing in a fun, playful way but also to test her retention of knowledge from our classification activity a couple of months ago. Turns out she still knows the difference between mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians!
On a personal note, this activity was so heart warming to see and although I wouldn’t ever push my child into any particular profession, I think Miss Possum makes a fantastic vet. She was very matter of fact and quite professional for a five year old. She may have some issues with cutting animals open though. This crocodile swallowed a camera and Miss Possum had to pretend to get the camera out with a very blunt knife. Her face says it all!
So, if your child has experienced seeing an animal injured or heard a story and genuinely felt bad or wanted to help, playing vet is a perfect way to extend on your child’s caring nature for animals. I hope you enjoy the resources!