Kids, from the time they are very young, are attracted to animals. Petting zoos give you a way to tap into their natural interest while also teaching them valuable social skills. Providing lessons in empathy is a critical part of supporting the healthy psychological development of your son or daughter. And getting to know the animals in the zoo gives children the opportunity to learn how to understand and respect the feelings of others. At summer camp, these classes can be taken one step further by giving them the chance to regularly engage with animals that they might not ordinarily have the ability to keep in your home.
Develop Bonds at a Comfortable Environment
For many kids, making new friends is challenging due to shyness, or they may only need a unique 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 is just something special about the connection children make with their furry and new friends. These experiences allow them to strengthen their relationship skills. Since the”inhabitants” in a petting zoo are acclimated to being around children, parents can be reassured that their child will have the ability to practice showing empathy to animals that will return their affection.
Learn How to Pick Up on Non-Verbal Cues
Most children are very self-expressive verbally, but they often require guidance with learning how to pick up on non-verbal communication. Since animals can’t talk, kids must pay attention to little signs such as wagging tails and squirming. At the petting zoo, adults help to model gentle behavior with children to teach them when a creature is saying they are ready to be held and when they want to be put down. As kids get to know the “Rat Poop” even better, it’s fun to watch them start to adjust their behaviour to communicate with their favorites. For example, you will see 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 pup, they are a little more rambunctious.
See the Positive Effects of Showing Compassion
Feeling a kitty purring in their hands and getting nudged by a friendly goat allows children see the immediate effects of showing empathy. And those who regularly visit a petting zoo also get chances to care for the animals. This enables them to experience how good it feels to be accountable for the maintenance of something outside 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 children. In actuality, because the animals and kids engage in lots of petting and play, it’s tough to tell who enjoys the interactions more. And, with every trip, parents can be sure their little ones are learning empathy and gaining valuable social skills.