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How to introduce children to animals

by ines.wurbs@icloud.com

Most children love animals. But just as many children are afraid of animals. Here, it is important to help our children.

Animals can be introduced to children by:

  • being a role model
  • Contact
  • gaining experience
  • books and stories
  • games and crafts
  • take time
  • respect
  • courage 
  • care and responsibility

What could children learn from animals?

Firstly, children especially like to learn how animals behave. Naturally, that brings a sense of cheer to everyday life. That is not the only reason you should introduce your child to animals.

It is important to introduce children to animals because it teaches them to take care of other living beings and treat the environment with respect. But also because this is how our children learn to be brave and show empathy.

These are all important skills that humans need to move about in our society, make friends, and be successful in the working world.

Many children find animals calming. Children, who are usually very short-tempered and wild, usually find it easier to calm down with animals and take control of themselves. Animals often give children support and security, like cuddly toys.

They are friends, and sometimes they are allies. Pets can do this, as can animals that your child often visits and builds a relationship with.

9 tips to introduce your child to animals

1. Be a good example for your child.

Our children follow the example of their parents. They watch how we treat animals, what we do around animals, and how we talk about them. If you want to introduce your child to animals, it’s best to start with animals you like yourself.

Just pretending will probably not work as well. Our children notice when we don’t like something. Because we also express disgust with small gestures or facial expressions. If you find animals strange, it’s important to learn about them before introducing them to your child.

2. Getting in contact with animals

Contact with real animals is the key to bringing children closer to animals. Almost all of our senses are addressed by animals, they smell, they make animal sounds, and they feel soft, bristly, or smooth. It is often too abstract for our children to describe these characteristics of animals.

But if they can see animals themselves and maybe pet them, our children will easily remember the good and bad things about animals.

3. Gain experience

Having actual contact with animals also means that our children have experiences with animals. They learn how to deal with animals best and what not to do with which animals.

This doesn’t mean that our children have to experience everything themselves. With help from you or someone who knows the animal, children can also remember important information about the animal more easily when they are in close contact with it.

For example: “Look at the teeth and claws of the tiger. He uses it to catch his prey. But he also uses them to protect himself. He would defend himself in front of us humans because he’s afraid we might hurt him or take his food away.” When children see the tiger, they will remember the information better.

4. Books and Stories

Of course, we cannot always show our children how animals live. Books are also a good way to talk to our children about animals and bring them closer to them. Animal encyclopedias are available from one year upward.

Stories are good for giving children beautiful experiences with animals, or for providing important information about animals in a way that our children can remember them more easily. Maybe you can find an animal book that involves your child in a role-playing game and teaches them about animals.

5. Games and crafts

There are many games that are about animals or have animal characters. These games also help children learn about animals and encourage them to interact with them.

It is the same with crafting. If your child likes to do handicrafts, you can look for a handicraft template online and get started with your child. This creates positive experiences and thoughts that are usually associated with the animal that is being made.

Here are some free craft ideas for you: 
Animals made from nutshells – Shrimpskrams.at 
Bird feeder rings – Shrimpskrams.at 
Ideas for snails – I heart carfty things.com 
Animals made from toilet paper rolls – Frugal fun for boys and girls.com
Animals made from paper plates – First Palette.com

6. Take your time

If something isn’t going together at all, then it’s stress, children, and animals. If you want to introduce your child to animals, give yourself enough time. This is especially important in direct contact because animals usually don’t react well to stress.

But also allow your child the time it needs to get closer to the animal or to spark its interest.

Children are often reluctant to meet a new animal for the first time. Sometimes it seems like she/he doesn’t care about the animal at all. Children need time to get used to a new environment and to figure out how to behave. The interest usually only comes out after a while.

It is important that you allow your child enough time to build trust in the situation and the animal.

7. Respect

The coexistence of animals and children can be used effectively to teach our children respect. You can also try to teach your child to respect animals and nature. Schoolchildren are well aware of what that means. If not, you can explain it to your child.

Here are some tips on how to teach children to respect others.

8. Courage

Courage is like respect. When dealing with animals, we can best teach our children to be brave. But we can also use courage to encourage our children to try to get closer to animals.

Many people value courage. Many children like to be brave. Children often need the courage to pet or give a carrot to large animals, like horses. With the topic of courage, we can encourage our children to go a little further than they might at first.

Of course not with threats or pressure. As long as it fits and is reasonable for you and your child. As parents, we must also ensure that our children behave in accordance with the animal and must also inform our children of the possible dangers.

9. Care and Responsibility

Many children like to take care of other living things. You can use this to introduce your child to animals if your child is like that. Explain to your child what the animal needs and how it can be helped.

Most children love it and get over their shyness pretty quickly once they know what to do and how to do it. Smaller animals are often a good choice for children who are anxious at the beginning.

Of course, dealing with animals can also be used to practice care and responsibility. 

In this article, I’ve written about how you can explain responsibility to children and bring it closer to them.


The sooner you introduce animals to your children, the better.

Animals in kindergarten and daycare

Animals are also good for children in kindergarten and crèche.  Animals in care and educational settings teach children how to care for the animal as a team.

Sometimes, you have to take responsibility, but sometimes you have to let go. By caring for an animal, children also learn to postpone and share their desires. This is encouraged by the group in particular.

Animals can help children to settle in more quickly and easily. Animals usually help children make better contact with others, and build bridges, and, of course, it also makes them want to go to kindergarten or crèche.  

How to teach children to care about nature and animals

If you want to bring your child closer to nature in general or individual points of it, then the above points also apply. Our environment should be treated with respect, responsibility, and care. But it also takes courage and the right kind of motivation.

The sooner you start teaching your child to appreciate nature, the easier it will be for your child to learn these values. Nature is a valuable resource worth protecting. No one can force us to achieve this goal, but as many people as possible should participate to achieve this goal.

Circle games animals

Circle games are particularly suitable for crèches or kindergartens to introduce children to the subject of animals and nature. You can do that at home too. We can also sing circle games with our kids. 😉


How to play:

A circle of chairs is made. A child becomes an ant. You have to take out the ant child’s chair. (As in journey to Jerusalem). The ant leaves the room while the others figure out who the anteater is. The ant is then allowed to return. The children are all standing in the room in confusion.

Now the ant has to ask questions to find out who the anteater is. “I am the ant, and who are you?” The children all say their names, but the anteater says, “I am the anteater.” Here’s the command where all the children, including the ant and the anteater, try to get a chair. The kid who doesn’t get a chair is the next ant.

Age : 
from 3 years


I’m a big dancing bear

I’m a fat dancing bear, and I’m from the forest. 
I will pick a friend and find him soon. 
And we dance nice and fine from one leg to the other, 
and we dance nice and fine from one leg to the other.

From 2 years


How to play: 
A child is the dancing bear. He goes to the song in the circle. After the second line, he looks for a second dancing bear, who, holding his hand, goes along. They keep singing together. Then from the beginning, in the second line, each dancing bear gets a new dancing bear until all children are dancing bears.


Elephant-fant-fant comes run-run-run 
with the long, long, long, long trunk. 
Wanted to get out, out, out of the house, house, house, 
unfortunately, unfortunately, unfortunately, had no key. 
Poor elephant, you ran so far, you get a piece 
of sugar from me as a consolation.

From 2 years

None. Possibly candy canes, sweets, pieces of apple, or colorful sticks.

How to play: 
All the children sit in a circle. A child is an elephant. It can also make its trunk with its arms. (Hold your nose and thread your other hand through to your trunk). Then the song is sung, and the elephant walks in circles.

In the end, all the children have their hands up, either holding a candy cane or just pretending to have one in their hands. The elephant decides on one and eats it out of the hand of a child, who then becomes the new elephant.

Hum hum hum

Hum, buzz, buzz, bees buzz around. 
Hey, we won’t do you any harm, just fly out into the forest and heath. 
Hum, buzz, buzz, bees buzz around.

Hum, buzz, buzz, bees buzz around. 
Search in flowers, search in flowers, you a droplet, you a crumb. 
Hum, buzz, buzz, bees buzz around.

Hum, buzz, buzz, bees buzz around. 
Return home with rich possessions, build us many a full honeycomb. 
Hum, buzz, buzz, bees buzz around.

From 1.5 years

None, if available, wings and feelers for the bee

How to play: 
The children form a circle. A child plays the bee. It flies with outstretched arms while everyone sings around in circles and seeks the nectar. Then the bee returns to the square and determines the next bee. Or take a poll from a child or pretend, and that’s the next bee.

Something’s going on in our meadow

Something is happening in our meadow, wading through the swamps. 
She wears a black and white skirt and red stockings. 
Catch the frogs, snap, snap, snap. 
Rattles merrily, rattles thick. Who can guess? 
You think: That’s the rattle stork, wading through the swamps. 
He wears a black and white skirt and red stockings. 
Catch the frogs, snap, snap, snap. 
Rattles merrily, rattles thick. No, that’s the stork.

From 3 years


How to play: 
Two teams are formed. The storks (only a few children) and the frogs. The storks walk around at the stork step. The storks catch the frogs with their beaks (the arms open and close like a huge beak). The frogs sit in the middle. The storks have two stanzas to catch the frogs. Then the game starts again.

These game ideas come from Backwinkel.de

Animal games

Games are a great way for bringing children closer to animals and arousing their interest.

Here are some fun ideas for you:

First cray parenting: 10 fun animal games

Kid activities: 61 fun animal games and activities for kids

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