We started this year off with ways to up your pet parent game, but what about kids and pets? Gamification’s got your back.
Kids can learn a great deal by taking care of pets, like empathy, commitment, and detachment (useful for helping them deal with loss). But animals speak a different language, so for it to be a safe and successful process, little humans need guidance around household pets. As a parent, you will always be the voice of insight and authority, but games can be a powerful way to supplement your instruction and bridge the gap. That’s because the best kind of education combines discovery, delight and information, and play is a powerful starting point. Especially when kids are gaga over mobile phones and tablets.
That said, it’s especially important to be responsible in selecting media for kids. Caroline Wilkinson feels strongly about games that encourage good habits towards animals. She is the founder/CEO at Barket Place which offers online courses in understanding and connecting with your dog . She’s concerned that some games may not encourage the greatest habits in impressionable youngsters. Take the Nintendo Switch’s ‘Little Friends’ game, for example. She feels it encourages irresponsible treatment of animals, including the use of outdated and potentially harmful leash styles. “I know this is ‘just a game’” she says in a LinkedIn post, “but children learn through play.”
And it’s not just about helping little ones learn to care for animals. A South African high-tech company that uses immersive experiences has helped a museum in America teach children to take care of nature. Formula D interactive created a large-scale digital learning space that helps youngsters become custodians of pristine and precious natural habitats. It is interactive, and lets kids explore in an unfamiliar and unspoilt natural environment using Augmented Reality (AR) using hardware to project landscapes, blank walls and floors. Young ones can engage with different elements and learn as they do so, delighted, surprised, and engaged.
Let’s hope we see one for South Africa’s unique blend of biomes soon!
Now that you’re inspired at the ways digital media can help you help your kids learn, let’s see what there is out there to do so.
Learning to care with a Polar Bear. Habitat kids can adopt a virtual polar bear and learn to care for it by taking care of their own environment in real life. It cleverly combines virtual and actual, challenging children to carry out tasks in person to ensure their virtual bear is okay. Not a bad way to encourage action and awareness, huh?
Be rewarded for good pet care with real prizes. Yapper is a pro-pet platform designed for the South African animal lover. You and your kids can learn and earn, compete in challenges with other pet lovers, and qualify for discounts on everything from dog food to microchips. Want to win superb, pet-related prizes? Take a challenge! It’s a great space for you and the kids to connect with a growing community of caring pet lovers across the country.
A note on safety: Your presence is essential anywhere your child interacts with people (or pets!) they don’t know.
Train your dog every day. Dogo is a gamified app that helps you and your kids teach your dog obedience using clickers. It has daily reminders and more than 60 different tricks. Their dog professionals keep a close eye on the progress by watching and responding to videos you shoot and upload. Kids can climb levels and share photos. No wonder Dogo has 4.8 stars out of 5 on Android market!
Your turn. If you know of an app, website, game, or software that teaches kids to care for pets and the world around them, we want to know about it. The world and its inhabitants need more love and protection and there are kids in our community eager to learn to do so through positive, guided play. Put it into 280 characters and tweet us here.
p.s. If you prefer prose, our blog is also a wonderful place for adults and adolescents to learn about pet care. Plus, it counts towards daily reading quota! It’ not only kiddies who learn through play, dogs do, too. DYK that pups need a lot more than naps, cuddles, and food? Learn how to say, “I love you” in dog here. Woof you believe different barks have different meanings? We decode dog yaps here. Tap here to find out how to discourage the dog from chasing your kitty. Is your mutt excited or terrified? Learn what the face of fear looks like. Here are some helpful tips to teach little ones how (not) to approach a new dog. Roll over, Rover. Click or tap for a “dog tricks how to” right here.
More interesting reads:
We’ve got hearts in our eyes for Dr. French
What to do when your pet hates your partner
5 Reasons why your cat is the ultimate Valentine
Puppy school: 12 tricks to train in 2021
What you need to know about chaining your dog
What your pet parenting style says about you