Kids learn about Dogs-The Traveling Closet

by Mary Ann on July 25, 2011

kid with dogs picture

Jack LOVES Coby and Odie

Are dogs related to wolves? Do dogs talk with their tails? Can dogs smell better than we do? Are dogs friends or foes? These were some of the questions that we answered in our exploration of the world of dogs this week.  We learned fun dog facts for kids so they would be better able to take care of their own dogs and understand dogs that they meet on the street. We had a fun time learning what their own two dogs can do. The kids learned so much about dogs.

As always this idea came from a trip to the library and the fact that Maggie, Mary and Jack love their two dogs. I personally don’t love their two dogs but they LOVE them!! So we decided to learn more about dogs.

I found some great books about dogs in the stacks mixed in among the adult books. That is the only place I had to look to find everything I needed. However, if I had asked our great librarian she would have found me many story type books I am sure!

Here is what Jack found to be the most wonderful thing in all the books, seeing a picture of his own dog, Odie. That had him very excited. However, he didn’t believe that his dog was a dachshund. It was really an Odie and I couldn’t convince him otherwise.

Dog books for kids:

  •  Don’t Lick the Dog by Wendy Wahman
  • Dogs bySeymourSimon
  • Different Dogs by Alvin Silverstien
  • A Kid’s Best Friend by Maya Ajmera
  • All About Pets – Dogs by Helen Frost
  • Caring For Your Dog by June Preszler

We began the day by doing what we always do. We read a couple of books. We made dog ears. They were big red Clifford ears made out of construction paper and pipe cleaners.

little girl with dog ears she made

Our version of Clifford the big red dog

Then I asked Jack if he wanted to make a rolling dog toy. “No, let’s make the cookie dogs”. I had made the mistake of showing the children the materials I had brought to make our lunch and desert, cookie dogs.

edible cookie dogs pictures

Edible cookie dogs

So we made the edible cookie dogs. I found a picture on the internet but as always I used what I had and made my own adjustments. I am not fond of Oreo’s but love chocolate covered mint cookies; so those are what we used. There were marshmallows for feet, fruit leather for ears, mouth and tail, and M and M’s for the eyes. They had so much fun making them and even more fun eating them.

kids eating edible cookie dogs picture

Eating our cookie dogs!

Did you notice that our dog was missing some features? Did you notice that our dog wasn’t as attractive as the web dog? Did you notice the smile on the child’s face over his slightly goofy looking dog (looks like a cat). This is what I LOVE about working with children. They are so easy to please, they are not perfectionists (unless we make them that way) and they take great pride in whatever they do (unless we point out the deficiencies and teach them to be critical of themselves.)

We were going to have hot dogs (of course) for lunch but the cookie dogs were all they could manage. They really were for desert!!

We then read a couple more books and talked about some fun dog facts for kids. Dogs have babies like people, they nurse them like people, and they can be sad, mad or glad just like people. They do not have hands like people but instead paws with pads. Dogs can talk with their tails, their growls and barks and with the way they stand. Dogs can be friendly or not. You have to learn how to tell the difference.

dog in lawn pictures

Odie trying to learn how to "sniff it out"!

Next we played a game with Odie and Coby. We wanted to see if their noses were any good at helping them find things. We gave them a doggie treat which they really enjoyed. Then we put them into the house and trailed a treat through the grass and hid some treats. Out came the dogs.

Coby gave up immediately and moseyed back into the house. Odie was able to find the first treat only after we clicked our tongues, pointed and cajoled him into coming our way. After that he kind of had an idea about what to do and with less tongue clicking and pointing he was able to find the treats. He needs a lot more practice! But Jack and Maggie got very excited when ever he finally found a treat.

Then back into the house and another book or two. Then we made our rolling dog toy. What a fun and easy project. I have given you the website for the directions but the picture is pretty self explanatory.

making rolling toy dog pictures

Here are a couple of tips that may make your rolling toy work better for you:

  • Get fat straws from Hardees or McDonalds. They are better than the thin straws from the grocery store. The fat straws will fit more snuggly into the spools and so they will stay on better.
  • Because our straws were thin I found that a smidge of scotch tape on the outside of the leg and straw kept the legs from coming off the straws so our dog rolled better.
  • If you don’t have empty spools just use those with thread on them. You can reclaim your sewing materials when the dogs are toast! You can also buy wooden spools from the craft store but again why spend money if you don’t have to?

Here again notice the difference in the web dog and ours. Then notice the happy concentration of the little girl making the dog. This is ultimately what counts – not the end result but the process! We had some toy dog races which were fun. Maggie was so happy because she could bat the toy from behind and it would roll forward. It is fun to be able to “play’ with a toy.

little girl playing with rolling toy dog

Maggie playing with her home made toy all by herself!

We ended the day by listening to a book on tape all about two very silly dogs. It is actually a song and you could sing it too by following the book. It was a very fun day, and the kids did learn a lot about dogs. This grandma school with the Traveling Closet lasted two hours. Whew!  “I Got Two Dogs” by John Lithgow is the book on tape. If you can’t get the book on tape do not despair. You can have John Lithgow teach you and your children  this great song while seeing the pictures from the book on UTube. Now enjoy learning all about the wonderful world of dogs!

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