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Supported by Pets at Home

Animal friends

Plan how you’ll become an animal friend and take care of an animal for four weeks. Which animal needs your help?
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

    Letter for parents/carers
    DOCX – 787.7KB

    Before you begin

    • Consider inviting parents and carers who own a pet to help with this activity.

    Talk about what animals need

    1. People who own pets should get into groups with anyone who has the same pet as them. For example, all of the dog owners should be in one group, all of the cat owners in another group, and so on. If anyone has more than one pet, they can choose which group they join.
    2. Anyone who doesn’t have a pet can choose whether they want to join a group of pet owners, or start their own group of wild animal friends.
    1. Each group should talk about what their animal needs. What does it eat and drink? Where does it live, and how much space does it need? How does it exercise and where does it sleep?
    2. Each group should make a poster about their animal and its needs.

    Share the posters

    1. The groups should take it in turns to share their poster with everyone else. When it’s their turn, they should explain one or two things their pets need.
    2. Anyone else who has something to add should put their hands up, and the person leading the activity should help everyone share what they know.

    Prepare to care

    1. The person leading the activity should explain that anyone who wants to earn their Animal Friend Activity Badge needs to look after an animal for two weeks.
    2. Make sure everyone knows that they don’t need to have their own pet. They should use the 'Options if you don’t have a pet' below to explain what else people could do.
    3. Everyone should get into small groups, and think about what they may like to do to earn their badge.
    4. Gather everyone back together, and ask some people what they think they may do and who they’ll need to ask for help.
    5. Give everyone a letter to take home, so parents and carers understand what people need to do, and what their options are.

    Follow up

    A few weeks after everyone started caring for an animal, it’s time to catch up.

    1. Everyone should get into small groups. They should talk in their groups about whether they’ve been looking after an animal, and how it’s been going.
    2. Ask people what they’ve learned and remind everyone that it’s not too late if anyone would like to look after an animal but hasn’t started yet.


    This activity helped remind people to value the outdoors. Did you think about any wildlife that lives outside? How can we care for them? What about people who have pets - are there things they can to do help make sure their pet doesn’t hurt wildlife or damage the outdoors?

    This activity also gave you the chance to develop skills. What sort of skills do you need to have to look after a pet? You definitely need to be responsible. Think of your dream pet - what would it eat, what would it need? Maybe you could mime taking care of it, and see if anyone can guess what it is. Do you understand how much care a pet needs (even small ones like goldfish)? Do you think you’re ready to help care for an animal?


    All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

    Animals and insects

    Be aware of the risks before interacting with animals. Be aware of anyone with allergies, and make alternative arrangements for them.