A lot of kids love animals! Not all, of course, but a fair number of them.
I remember being 10 years old and being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Without blinking I replied - “a veterinarian”. Now...I want to be very clear...I knew nothing of what that really entailed. All I knew was it meant animals and stethoscopes (of which I was quite enthralled with as a child). I encounter that same fascination in many of my young clients today, which is why I created the Pet Vet party. Here's how I did it:
Welcome them with uniforms and paperwork - just like the hospital.
Invitation - Just plug the words “sick dog” (or any sick animal) into your favorite computer image search and you’ll find a wonderful array of cute animals bearing ice packs, thermometers, and slings. Print your favorite one. Then write up a little poem along the lines of -
“An epidemic has hit our town,
the animals are feeling down,
there’s just one thing to save the day,
come to our Vet Party right away!”
Party Decor: Transform your party space into your own Veterinary Office.
- Cover the tables with white tablecloths or sheets.
- Print up little signs with red crosses, or silhouettes of animals.
- Personalize the signs with the party child’s name: Caroline’s Clinic, Patrick’s Pet Zone, Vicky’s Vet Hospital.
- Set up an adoption center, with a little scale, measuring tape, stethoscope, jars of candy pills, and pretend shots.
- I had the most fun creating the operating room - I used plastic water bottles in a variety of shapes (my favorite was a square Pedialyte bottle I found) to make plasma and IV bags.
An outdoor clinic
Fun Activities: A few simple activities will help burn off some excess energy and focus the children on the important work of treating their patients.
- Pet Rescue - set up an obstacle course with things you’ve got around the house...I love using pool noodles to make my obstacle courses, but anything will do. Have them crawl under something, jump over something, walk a line or balance beam, turn over buckets or have them cross from one to the next. If you’ve got a tree and can suspend a rope that could be fun, have them hop from hula hoop to hula hoop, or climb up and over a ladder. The possibilities are endless, just make sure that everything is safe and secure.
- Pet Adoption - For this you will need quite a few stuffed animals (make sure they are all the same, or that you have multiples of each type plus a few extras, just to ensure no one is disappointed in their choice). As each child arrives let them choose an animal to adopt. Weigh the animal (we always turn ounces into pounds), measure the animal, and fill out all the paperwork. A template for the form you see below can be downloaded at the end of this post.
A standard adoption form.
- Pet Vet and beauty shop - set up a little space next to the adoption center where the pet can have their temperature taken, receive their shots, and get a good brushing. Pencils covered with tape or make great thermometers and hypodermic needles.
- Pet Surgery - Set up a little operating room, and let the kids go to town by playing Vet. Use popsicle sticks for tongue depressors, and plastic knives for scalpels. Make sure to use your best doctor lingo - and just have fun...
Fluids are crucial to the pet's recovery.
Pet Party Games: There are any number of games involving animals, both ill and well. Here are a few of my suggestions:
- Emergency relay - divide the group into teams of equal numbers. Have them line up in pairs. Give each team a towel. Set up a large display of stuffed animals at the far end of the playing field. On “go” the first pair from each team takes their towel and holding it taut between them (like a stretcher) runs to the animal display. When the pair arrives at the pile, they select an animal, place it on their "stretcher", and run back to their team as fast as they can. The animal is then placed in a safe zone (a hula hoop, box or some designated spot) and then next pair is handed the towel. You can play until each pair has gone (meaning the first team to sit down as a whole wins) or have the teams keep going until there are no animals left (in which case the team with the most saved animals would win).
- Bandage the puppy - Divide your group into teams. Each team will need a roll of crepe paper streamers, a roll of tape, and a half decent sized stuffed animal. This can either be done as a relay race or as a group activity...it’s up to you. If you are doing a relay race, set the stuffed animal at the far end of the playing space. On “go” have the first team member take the crepe paper and tape and run to the animal. Once there they will wrap a body part (arm, leg, tail) using the paper and tape. Once done they run back and hand off the supplies. The race is done when the animal is completely covered in bandages. If you choose to do it as group activity, have 3 or 4 guests work together at the same time to cover the entire animal.
- Catch the wild animal - Choose two guests to be the animal catchers. Have them hold hands to form a circle, they must always keep their hands joined at all times. The rest of the guests spread out in the playing area to become the animals. On “go” the animal catchers chase the animals trying to catch them in their circle. When an animal is caught, they sit down right where they are. As soon as a second animal is caught, they join with the first animal to become a new set of catchers. Play continues until everyone is a catcher, or only one animal remains free.
Adorable Pet Based Crafts
- Duct tape dog collars and leashes. Here's one my friend Hanna and I made.
- Decorate a Dog Bowl- Give each child a plain dog bowl and let them go to town decorating it with stickers and permanent markers. This can then become their serving dish for their cake.
Make a simple sheet cake, frost it white, and then using red “fruit by the foot” make a large “+” sign in the middle. You could do the same thing with cupcakes!
Personalized Goodie bags
If you are purchasing stuffed animals, those make a wonderful goodie gift. Or you can create a candy "kit" like you see below.
Chocolate speeds recovery.
- Take mini m&m’s and put a little label around them to turn them into puppy pills. I have provided you with a label example that I have used at the bottom of this post.
- Make dog bone shaped cookies or little bags of swedish fish
- Fill a little dog bowl with a few little fun goodies like a ball, whistle, and treats.
Your children and their pets will be so grateful.