Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Copies of Handout 1, My Animal Friend, for all participants
- Color markers or crayons to share
Preparation for Activity
- Place color markers or crayons on work tables.
- Print out and photocopy Handout 1
- Optional: If you will ask children to play-act their friendships with animals, make sure you have a large enough open space, preferably near the work tables.
Description of Activity
Ask the children to think of an animal they have as a friend or one that they would like to have as a friend. Tell them it can be a real animal, such as their own pet, or an animal they have read about or seen pictures of.
Make it clear that they can use their imaginations, while acknowledging "real life" safety rules. You might say:
Of course it would not be safe to make friends with a wild raccoon. And, you wouldn't really pat or play with a strange dog you do not know. But it is okay to pretend some things and imagine an animal friend for your mutually caring picture.
Distribute photocopies of Handout 1, My Animal Friend. Invite the children to draw a picture of themselves with their animal friend. If they prefer, they could draw someone else with an animal friend - for example, a person who has a guide dog. Visit each child and help them fill in the blanks on the handout to name the person and the animal in the picture.
While children draw, ask them, "What are the person and the animal doing together in the picture?" and "How do they showing that they care for one another?" Encourage children to identify some elements of mutual caring in their pictures with questions such as:
- How do this person and the animal show their affection for each other?
- How does the person act responsibly toward the animal? Does the animal have responsibilities? What are they?
- How do they show they are loyal to one another?
- How do the person and the animal help one another?
If the group has children who need to move around, invite them to take turns demonstrating the relationship of mutual caring that they are drawing. Assign or let them choose another child to play the animal role.
Or, end the drawing activity and gather the group in a circle. Pair the children. Invite pairs to demonstrate the human/animal relationships they have drawn.