ACTIVITY: Pretend Pet Play-creating and caring for pretend pets.

Pretend Pet Play

This is an edited version of an activity I originally wrote for  Bug in a Book magazine- Pet Issue.

We don’t own a pet, but  we read about pets in books EVERY DAY.  I don’t really want a pet but Daddy and Cam do, which might explain why they choose to read these books on a daily basis. From these books alone, we have learned that pets make wonderful friends, and that animals need to be loved and cared for.

Much like  the characters in many of these pet-friendly books, Cam went through a phase a couple of years ago of pestering me for a pet. We wanted to know a little more about what it would be like to care for a pet (without actually buying one), so we created our own pet rocks. We played with the pets, took them on adventures and helped them with tasks they couldn’t do on their own.

Having pretend pets is a great starting point when learning how to care for animals.  They can be great for preparing kids for real pets, and they can also help children practise taking more responsibility in caring for a family pet.


Coupled with reading some pet themed books, creating and caring for pretend pets is a great way to stimulate thoughts and discussions in your home, and helps children to connect with the stories.


  • Rocks
  • Paint, paint pens or permanent markers
  • Googly eyes
  • Feathers, glitter etc.
  • Glue


1)      Find some suitable rocks

2)      Paint and decorate the rocks

Paint pet rocks

3)      Add some googly eyes and hair (feathers)

4)      Take your pet rocks on an adventure with you; Help your pet rock with tasks he can’t do on his own.

5) You could even make a special bed for your pet rock.

Pretend Pet Bed

Click the image below for more books about pets and caring for animals:

A Pet-Friendly Book List compiled by My Little Bookcase

Check out these fabulous blogs for more pretend pet ideas:

Gumnut Babies by My Little Bookcase

Crafty Little Critters by Learn with Play at Home

Wooly Monsters by Laughing Kids Learn

ACTIVITY: Pretend Pet Play-creating and caring for pretend pets.


  1. How adorable! I love the idea of taking rock pets on special adventures. Great idea. The books look like get additions to any bookshelf too.

  2. Debs said: On June 4, 2013

    Great book suggestions. My daughter spied your gumnut babies and has insisted we make some now. thanks for including our little critters. :)

  3. Robyn said: On June 5, 2013

    I love the pet book collection you’ve come up with here! We adore books about pets… and I haven’t read many from your list! Funny thing, we have pets. LOTS of pets. And my kids STILL ask for pets, all the time. :) Also, I love all the play that surrounds pretend pets and making your own- just wonderful!

  4. Jode said: On June 6, 2013

    We have so many rocks at our place at the moment that this will be a fantastic idea to share with my girls….thanks so much for the inspiration Jackie…really love the concept of looking after them too!

  5. This is too adorable Jackie! We are looking into getting a pet for R, (a goldfish to start with) and your book list will be a great resource when that happens.

  6. Ashley said: On June 9, 2013

    Those look like pretty easy to care for pets! Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library!

  7. These are adorable pets. I love the habitat you created for them. Thank you for sharing this post on Read.Explore.Learn. I will be sharing it on Pinterest.

Leave a Reply

ACTIVITY: Pretend Pet Play-creating and caring for pretend pets.

2 Trackbacks