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My children, like many kids, have been interested in animals from the time they were babies. Walks around the block took forever because we had to stop and talk to every dog owner. Seeing a caterpillar meant that they crouched on the sidewalk to get a closer look. My daughter regularly chased butterflies during her preschool soccer games.
There is just something about animals that children can’t resist.
Expand upon that natural interest by giving gifts tailored that will encourage animal exploration.
I compiled this list of gifts for kids who love animals over the last few years of observing my own animal loving children. We have given or received all of these gifts, so I can vouch for their awesomeness.
Gifts for Kids Who Love Animals
Parents everywhere are probably groaning at this suggestion, so let me issue a caveat. Stuffed animals need to meet a few qualifications:
- The stuffed animal must correspond with a favorite animal, not just any old animal.
- The stuffed animal must be extremely cuddly. Softness is key.
Stuffed animals that are chosen with care can become a beloved treasure. My son received a soft stuffed monkey when he was a toddler. It went everywhere with him for years. This cuddly brown monkey will be handed down to his own children in 20 years.
Tickets to visit the zoo are a wonderful gift for kids who love animals. Experience based gifts build memories without adding clutter. Annual passes make fantastic family gifts too. When Hannah and Ben were small we received an annual pass to the National Zoo. It was an amazing gift because it let them satisfy their interest in animals while getting everyone out of the house.
Zoos can be overwhelmingly large if your child wants to watch every animal for hours. We liked having the zoo membership so we could come back frequently and see different animals on each trip.
Read my National Zoo field trip tips.
Aquariums can be expensive places, so getting admission passes is a special treat. There is no better way to learn about aquatic animals than seeing them up close. This is another idea that makes for an awesome family-friendly, clutter-free gift.
Read about the Maui Ocean Center.
My son did not like to read when he was younger, but he still devoured his Zoobook magazine as soon as it arrived. Each issue presented a variety of animal facts in an attractive kid-pleasing way.
Our entire family enjoyed observing Ben’s ant farm. It was fascinating to watch the ants dig tunnels to navigate around their farm. The ant farm provided a natural opportunity to talk about being team mates because the ants all work together to get jobs done.
The ants come in a test tube that you stick in the fridge for a bit. The cold lulls the ants to sleep, which makes it easier to put them in the ant farm.
Watching caterpillars change into butterflies is definitely a warm weather activity, but it can be so educational. Both of my children observed this process while they were preschoolers, but we did it again this past spring and they got even more out of it.
This butterfly habitat includes a voucher to send away for caterpillars. This is ideal if you are giving the butterfly habitat as a gift, so the receiver does not need to immediately care for the animals.
Ladybugs are a favorite insect for many children. This cute little ladybug land is a great way to observe the insects without the danger of them flying away. The top of the habitat contains a magnifying glass to make it easier to see little ladybug details.
This insect lore kit also includes a voucher to send away for the ladybug larvae.
Toobs are fantastic for open ended play. They have quite a wide variety of animals available. Kids can use a water table (or bathtub) to create a fictional habitat for ocean animals, a sandbox to pretend play with safari animals, or a bin of ice cubes to create an arctic scene with arctic animals.
These are fantastic gifts for kids who love animals because they encourage learning through observation, reading, and pretend play.
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