Children, from the time they are extremely young, are drawn to animals. Petting zoos give you a way to tap into their natural interest while at the same time teaching them valuable social skills. Providing lessons in empathy is a vital part of encouraging the healthy psychological development of your son or daughter. And getting to know the animals in the zoo provides children the opportunity to learn how to understand and respect the feelings of others. At summer camp, these lessons can be taken one step further by giving them the chance to regularly engage with Rat Poop and animals they might not ordinarily be able to keep in your home.
Develop Bonds in a Comfortable Environment
For many kids, making new friends is challenging due to shyness, or they may only need a special critter to snuggle with after a stressful day at school. While summer camps help foster friendships between children of all ages by providing relaxing activities, there’s just something special about the relationship kids make with their furry and new friends. From whispering secrets into a rabbit’s ear to stroking the soft fur of a baby goat, kids quickly form bonds with the animals in their barnyard zoo. These experiences enable them to strengthen their relationship skills. Since the”inhabitants” in a petting zoo are acclimated to being around kids, parents can be assured that their child will be able to practice demonstrating empathy to creatures that will return their affection.
Learn to Pick Up on Non-Verbal Cues
Most children are very self-expressive verbally, but they often need guidance with learning how to pick up on non-verbal communicating. Since animals can’t talk, kids must listen to little signs like wagging tails and squirming. At the petting zoo, adults help model gentle behavior with children to teach them when an animal is saying they’re prepared to be held and when they wish to be put down. As children get to know the”critters” even better, it is fun to watch them start to adjust their behavior to communicate with their favorites. For example, you will find a child learn to crouch and wait patiently with their hand out for a shyer animal to come over. Other times, using a lively young puppy, they may be a little more rambunctious.
Feeling a kitty purring in their hands and getting nudged by a friendly goat lets children see the immediate effects of demonstrating empathy. And those who regularly go to a petting zoo also get opportunities to care for the animals. This enables them to experience how good it feels to be responsible for the care of something out of themselves. After all, who can resist being on the receiving end of the affection of a furry friend that just got fed?
Petting zoos are filled with quirky barnyard creatures that love spending time with active kids. In fact, because the animals and children engage in lots of petting and play, it is hard to tell who enjoys the interactions more. And, with every visit, parents can be sure their little ones are learning compassion and gaining valuable social skills.