Saturday, August 11, 2018

Kids Stuff || Summer Holiday Fun - Pets At Home 'My Pet Pals' Free Workshop

We are loving the Summer holidays and have been SO busy so far. We are already running a little low on funds as well as energy, so always on the look out for free or cheap days out locally that will keep the kids entertained and give us new ideas to spend our time.

Last week I was contacted by Pets At Home, inviting us to try out one of their free 'My Pet Pal' workshops in our local store. These workshops are running all over the country, you can book in on the website (click here) and spend time in store with the kids petting some small furries and learning all about how to care for them, what their characteristics are like and what they like for dinner. As well as the workshop itself, kids will receive a few goodies at the end such as an activity book to work through with stickers to reward each one they achieve.

We headed along to our local store and had a good browse while we waited for the workshop to begin. The kids were super excited, they love a visit to the store anyway when we go to stock up on things for our pets but never usually get more than a quick look in the cages before we head on home.

The Workshop

During the workshop, the kids sat in a circle of around 10 and got to pass round some of the pets that were for sale, as well as a rescue animal that was up for adoption. Up first was an albino rabbit and a brown brindle looking bunny. The kids see their grannies rabbits all the time, but it never fails to make them happy when one is placed on their lap!

They then got to hold a classic, super relaxed and tame guinea pig, followed by a gerbil. I didn't know much about gerbils but we all left with a new found love for them and knowing a lot more about where they come from and their habits.

The last ball of fluff to come out was a dinky Russian dwarf hamster which the shop lady held onto because they are SO active and super hard to stop from running. This was their favourite animal of the day and they loved that they live in groups and run all over each other on the wheel. I think they would have happily sat and watched these little guys all day long! 

Workshops are 30 minutes long and in restricted numbers as you need to book your place. This was the perfect amount of time, with some of the tiny kids getting ready to release some energy and us bigger kids getting ready to head for some dinner.

For a free activity this was really fun, the workshops no doubt generate lots of new interest in family pets, but there is no selling or persuading to buy, just a nice informative chat and some animal cuddles. These are well worth booking in for if you have one nearby, it's always good to keep the kids busy, especially for free. The kids learnt so much and haven't stopped rabbiting on about it since (pun-tastic!).

I got this picture of an adorable yawning rat, so thought I'd share the cuteness!

The Challenges

In the Summer workshop book the kids were given, there's lots to keep them busy, with quizzes, areas to fill in with all the things they learnt from the session, a word search, facts, animal drawing practise, colouring, craft ideas and of course the ten challenges. The challenges kept us busy and we still have more fun in the book to complete. Some of the challenges are outdoors based so it means our lovely pooch Peg gets extra walks and the kids can get out in the fresh air even more.

Attend a workshop - 3 things

The first challenge is to attend a workshop, so the kids had that one straight down. They had to write down three things that they'd learnt while they were there, they'd picked up a lot like the little sponges they are and here's a few they remembered between them;

  • White rabbits with red eyes are called albino
  • Gerbils live in the desert in the wild
  • Gerbils like to dig
  • Russian hamsters are super fast
  • Guinea pigs make great first pets for children
  • Gerbils don't drink as much as hamsters

I was really impressed to see what the kids had remembered. They know a lot about animals as we have lots of pets and come from families of animal fanatics, so it's even more special that they picked up some new facts. It was lovely seeing them learn new things, but also share all the bits they knew already (possibly a little too much!) with the staff and other kids.

Find the perfect hamster home in store

Whilst in store another challenge was to act like a hamster and find the perfect home for a hamster. The kids enjoyed looking at the cages, choosing which they would have and finding little beds, bottle and bowls that they would need. How we left without a new pet is beyond me!

Hold a bug in your hand

The kids love holding bugs and lately it's been ALL the ladybirds as there seems to be an abundance this year, as well as a giant beetle their friend found!

Make a pebble pal

We didn't have an option to do this one in store, but as we are constantly painting for #WilliamRocks our local group to remember their little friend, this was a great one for us to do at home and gave us another excuse to get the paints out.

Go on a nature walk

This challenge was to go on a family nature walk, something we do a lot! The kids had to write down what noises they heard from nature and what they think they were. While we were out we were pretty sure we heard a bird of prey of some kind as well as bees, wood pigeons and pesky mosquitoes.

Do 20 bunny hops! 

The hop little bunnies song is a favourite of the kids, so this one was an easy one to burn off a bit of energy on our nature walk. The kids had to time themselves to do it and will no doubt keep competing all summer!

Feed the birds

We live right in the city so don't tend to feed the birds in the garden as there's so many domestic and stray cats in a small area. We did head to our local park though to feed the pigeons, moorhens and ducks with some healthy friendly food in the form of sunflower seeds and wild bird seed.

Complete the gerbil maze

This one is a puzzle in the book, a good one to pull out when it starts to rain to keep them busy indoors! Alf in particular is really enjoying the book (more so than Soph as he can read fluently) and loving all the puzzles and animal spotting!

Go on litter picking patrol

The kids are forever picking up rubbish in our local park, it always tends to be plastic bottles as we have to be pretty careful here what they pick up until we get our hands on some proper littler picking grabbers. The kids understand the impact littering has on nature as well as to us humans, so they get as angry about it as I do!

Overall, I've been really happy with the Pets At Home workshop. I know ours didn't have quite as much as some bigger stores, but it was really fun, the kids loved it and having something to take away to keep them entertained even more is always helpful. We love the outdoors and nature, so this just gave us a few more ideas, the kids feel proud they're filling in their book and completing their challenges and best of all, it was free entertainment with lots of fluffy cute animals, what could be better? This is perfect for all ages, so don't worry if you have tiny tots or pre-teens, they will all have fun.

If your looking for ideas in the holidays, these workshops are well worth checking out. Just head over to the Pets At Home website to see when and where your nearest ones will be held. 

Would your kids enjoy the Pet Pals work shop?

*This is a sponsored post with Pets At Home, all words, images and thoughts are our own.