Fun Stuff for Kids Who Like Dogs
Nurturing the Imagination... and Some Career Interests, Too
My niece is allergic to dogs, but she likes to create a vicarious dog-filled world. Surprisingly, dog stories and toys don't make her mope. When I saw her last Christmas, one of her favorite series was Puppy Place. And now? Now she wants an American Girl doll that looks like her, a second self who sports two dresses... and a dog.
Dogs fascinate kids who have them and kids who yearn. I have been browsing around. There sure are a lot of things for elementary kids who love dogs. They go far beyond the basics -- far beyond those ubiuitous plush animals and just-the-facts nonfiction books that I remember from childhood. There are also play sets that nourish kids' career aspirations or just let them go in-depth into play.
Of course there are DIY options for crafty kids (or moms).
The 'Puppy Place' Series
Puppy Place teaches lessons -- including the value of fostering needy puppies. Each book in the series is about a different puppy that lives with Charles and his sister Lizzie on its way to a permanent home.
I read Snowball with my niece last Christmas. She was in second grade at the time and just reaching the point where she was beginning to read chapter books. Thus I ended up reading a lot of the book to her out loud -- and noticing how she responded line by line. She wanted to hear chapters at various points through the day, not just as her nighttime read. She found parts of it humorous, starting at the beginning when Charles got carried away writing a pen pal letter to an elderly woman. All about his favorite subject: dogs.
Snowball has two plot lines that slowly weave their way together. Charles is a little intimidated about making friends an elderly woman in assisted living, until he realizes they have something big in common. She loves dogs, too — and greatly misses the one she had to leave behind.
Meanwhile, the little Westie pup Charles is fostering is turning out to be a handful. Charles’ mother is having a hard time having him in the house — he makes big messes out of things like Christmas trimming.
But all works out. The elderly woman and the puppy were meant to be together. Big dogs aren’t allowed in her community, but she can have the little Westie.
There is a tense moment when a woman from the community comes to meet Snowball — and the family realizes he has again slipped into the room with the Christmas wrap. Will the visitor be greeted with utter disarray? No, she sees a snoozy puppy.
Dog Academy Play Set
In one scene of Snowball, Charles visits a place where animals are trained to be helpers. This is a learning experience for kids. It's also something they can act out in their play.
Snowball is not unique in bringing in this future-oriented element. Through storybooks and chapter books, children can meet dogs who are in training for various special roles in the community. Play sets allow them to extend the story: internalizing as well as dramatizing.
The Seeds of Imagination
My Best Friend Dog Figurines
Just having some little dogs in a variety of breeds and types... That goes a long way to helping kids act out those doggy stories and adventures.
The My Best Friend playsets each come with two or more dogs of different types and some basic accessories to help your child get started caring for them.
Crafting Your Own Little Toy Dogs - Pipe Cleaner Dog
This little pipe cleaner dog is surprisingly realistic. It was created by an adult who knows just where to to wistand where to turn. She begins with the muzzle area and works backwards.
These little dogs could work in a Barbie or dollhouse scale world.
Dogs to Befriend 18 Inch Dolls
Chelsea's mom said if she buys her that doll, she'll need to save up for the dog herself. I don't know what kind of dog Chelsea has in mind -- I was surprised to see how many types there were!
These dog and activity sets are reasonably economical ordered from Amazon, but be aware that they don't come with the AG collar. Your child may use some ingenuity, though, in designing her own...
A Christmas Gift
Chelsea did indeed get both the doll and the dog. It's Pepper!
Kids Creating: Crafting a Toy Dog Collar
It was surprise to realize that this little girl was only five. Here she demonstrates how to make a toy dog collar with a tag. (Yes, she does have some fancy materials to help her do her crafting.)
The Hundred and One Dalmations
The Hundred and One Dalmations was one of my favorites as a child. I always wanted a set of play figures -- like the Schleich dogs to act it out. Here is a reflection on the story -- and tips for making a book basket.
- The Hundred and one Dalmations
For reading and play.
Lego Heartlands Vet
The Lego Heartlands Vet kit is another play set that "big kids" may enjoy -- it's recommended for ages 6 - 12. Some parents and daughters enjoy putting it together as a team. It can feel less babyish to have a model one made oneself, if a girl has some aptitudeand interest in building.