Family vacations can be loads of fun, but as any parent can tell you, planning can be stressful, too. Even young children may have worries about going away, especially if a beloved pet will be left behind. Who's going to take care of Fido while you're gone?
Here's an activity that exercises your third grader's writing skills, gives her practice in writing non-fiction text, and eases those vacation worries. Have her write a pet care manual so she can relax worry-free knowing that Fido will be well-cared for.
What You Need:
- Digital camera
- Blank paper
What You Do:
- Discuss with your child the purpose of a manual (it tells how to do something). If you have some user's manuals handy, such as those that come with appliances, show them to your child so that he can see examples of some of the content that might be included in a manual, such as photos, drawings, diagrams, and step-by-step directions.
- Assist your child in taking photos of your pet in its daily routines, as well as pet care supplies: your pet's toys, where the pet sleeps, where the food is stored and where and how much it eats, where special care supplies are located, etc.
- Print out the pictures and crop as needed.
- Have your child create a cover page for the pet care manual. Be sure to include the pet's name in the title, and a favorite photo of the pet.
- Now assist your child in creating special pages for the manual with step-by-step directions that explain how to take care of the pet. Use the pictures as a guide; encourage your child to write about what each picture shows.
- Finally, compile the pages, with the cover page on top, and staple into a booklet. Give the Pet Care Manual to the lucky neighbor or family member who will be caring for your pet while you're vacationing. No more worries, and plenty of writing practice too!
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading Instructor.