Teaching children to play games properly with the family pet gives the child and the pet pleasure, interaction and exercise. The games that the child and animal play depend on the type of animal you own and the temperament of both the child and the pet. You can design games for any type of pet that will provide fun and entertainment. Be sure that younger children are properly supervised and instructed on how to handle the animal.
Games for Dogs
"Fetch" is a common game to teach children to play with a pet dog. This involves the child throwing an object, such as a ball or Frisbee, for the dog to fetch and return. This is a great game for children and dogs to burn off extra energy. Older children may also enjoy playing games such as "tug-o-war" with a dog. Just make sure that the tugging item is a dog rope toy made for the activity, and not other destructible items.
Games for Cats
While cats may not always run and fetch like a dog, they enjoy games of pouncing and hunting. Teach children to play "cat and mouse" games with dangly cat toys, especially ones that have feathers or other tempting moving parts. In this game, the child drags the toy slowly along the ground, imitating a mouse or other moving prey, which will cause the cat to pounce and hunt the object. Some cats also enjoy playing chase with colored laser pointers.
Games for Small Animals
Children may enjoy building a small obstacle course from household objects in the middle of the room and teaching a small pet to run through it. This is often a fun game for hamsters or gerbils in running balls or free-roaming guinea pigs. Children can also craft small mazes for more maze-loving pets, such as mice and rats. Teach children how to reward and train small pets to navigate obstacle courses and mazes.
Games for Birds
Some birds enjoy dancing to the sound of music and will respond when their owners dance along with them. Play music for the child and bird, and let them have a dancing contest. Other birds may enjoy a game of "peek-a-boo." The child holds a towel up to hide behind it, then drops the towel to say "peek-a-boo" to the bird.
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