January 14th is National Dress Up Your Pet Day! The event even has its own website, DressUpYourPetDay.com. Since most kids love animals, it’s a perfect event around which to construct a fun lesson plan. We’ve rounded up a few ideas, and the official website offers even more suggestions.
The internet loves pets in costumes, so there is no shortage of slideshows available online. Just be sure to preview the slideshow before showing it to the class to make sure no inappropriate imagery slips through. Woman’s Day has a “pupperific” gallery of the 46 Cutest Halloween Costumes for Dogs, while USA Today breaks down the Most Popular Pet Costumes of 2016. YouTube offers compilation videos of dogs and cats in adorable, hilarious, and creative get-up.
Paper Doll Pets
Print animal silhouettes (from free clip art or vector art) on cardstock and then cut them out. Have students design pet costumes, cut them out, and take turns “dressing” the animals. This also works great with flannel board and felt.
Connect with the Real World
One of the goals of the holiday, founded in 2009, is to promote pet adoption. You can tie this in with your lesson by inviting an animal shelter volunteer or rescue worker to speak to the class. If your school permits it, have them bring in an “ambassador” pet or therapy dog. Make sure to chat with the person ahead of time to make sure his or her discussion is age-appropriate.
However you choose to celebrate the holiday, talk to your students about humane treatment of pets – specifically, not forcing them to wear clothes if they don’t want to.