How Your Family Pet Can Get Your Kids To Do Math & Read

How Your Family Pet Can Get Your Kids To Do Math & Read

Boy and girl with dog


Most kids will agree – pets are more fun than school work. However, school work is something that needs to get done (especially if you are a homeschooling mom). Bring a fuzzy twist to your homeschool curriculum or at home supplemental academics and incorporate your family pet (or the possibility of getting one) into these fun pet related academic activities.

Disclosure: This post was written by a member of the Trigger Memory team – founders of Times Tales, Pet Math and the Kids Chore Chart.

Times Tables Mastery

Units of Measurement

Walking the Dog

This is a great activity if you have a dog that needs to get walked each day. If you don’t have a dog, but are considering getting one, this can be a great incentive activity for kids to do before adopting that furry family member.

  1. Choose a path to walk the dog each day and determine how long the path is in miles (1/4 mile, ½ mile, 1 mile, etc.).
  2. Each day, have the children walk the dog on the same path. Pick a different unit of measure each day (feet, yards, inches, meters, centimeters) and have the children convert the distance of the walk to the specified unit of measure.
  3. Have the children record the walks and measurement conversions in a journal.
  4. Choose a different path each week (or each month) with a different walking distance.
  5. Repeat the process of walking the dog on the same path and converting the distance to a specified unit of measure each day.

Feeding Time

Pets need to eat and incorporating your children into feeding time is a great way to work in some lessons on measurement.

  1. Explain to your children how much food your pet is fed at each feeding (1 cup, 2 cups, etc.).
  2. Create 5 slips of paper marked ¼ cup, 1/3 cup, ½ cup, 2/3 cup and ¾ cup.
  3. Make sure you have a corresponding measuring cup for each slip of paper.
  4. Each day, have your children select a slip of paper and read the measurement listed on it.
  5. The children then need to use the corresponding measuring cup to measure the correct amount of food for the pet’s feeding. For example, if the pet is fed 1 cup at each feeding, and the children select the ¼ cup that day, they will need to give the pet four scoops of pet food with the ¼ cup measuring cup.
  6. Have the children record the activity in a journal.


Story Time

Everyone loves a good book – including your pet! Add pet story time to your daily routine and watch your child’s interest in reading blossom. This is a great independent activity that children can do on their own (yay!).

  1. Have each child select a book to read alone to your pet.
  2. Encourage your children to show pictures and use expression while reading to make the story interesting.
  3. For children who can’t read independently yet, have them choose a picture book and make up and tell a story to their pet as they look at the pictures.
  4. If you don’t have a pet yet, but have decided to get one, have the children read to a stuffed animal and use this activity as an incentive toward showing readiness for a pet.

The Book Tail

The Book Tail is an activity that can be used as an incentive for kids who don’t have a pet (but you have decided to get one) or for kids who may have a second pet on the horizon (or just for fun!). Your children will have a new passion for reading knowing that each book is getting them closer to that new furry family member!

  1. Have your children create a picture of their dream pet on a piece of poster board or cardstock. Encourage them to include a lot of detail but to leave off the tail.
  2. Determine a number of books that need to read before a new pet arrives (only do this if you are truly planning to get a new pet).
  3. For each book that the children read, have them attach a paper chain link with the name of the book written on it to the tail.
  4. Before a new pet can join the family, the tail must be complete with the number of links you specified.

Skip Counting

Skip counting is a great activity to help children develop an understanding of the number patterns that lead to multiplication. Instead of just reciting the numbers, it is always more fun to have something to skip count to – especially when it involves your pet. Dogs and cats need to be brushed regularly. Make this chore an academic activity by incorporating skip counting into the brushing process.

  1. Determine how many brush strokes your pet should get with each brushing.
  2. Have your child create a chart showing how many brush strokes they would need if they were skip counting by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s or 10’s. For example, if the pet needs 20 brush strokes, the chart will look something like this:

  1. Each time the child brushes the pet, tell them what number you want them to skip count to. They can check the chart to determine how high they need to count to ensure their pet gets the right number of brush strokes and then put an X mark in the corresponding column.

Pet Math

Pet Math is a workbook designed for kids in grades 3 – 5 that incorporates real life scenarios of owning at pet into mathematical situations. Each lesson offers the student a different day-to-day scenario in which math can be applied to calculate the cost of various pet related activities such as the cost of dog food, grooming and veterinarian bills.

The Pet Math workbook is 44 pages with 31 pet-related math lessons and it includes 3 fictional pet business pamphlets that are used throughout the workbook.

Kids LOVE this workbook, and it covers critical math skills such as:

  • Area & Perimeter
  • Data Analysis
  • Story Problems
  • Charts & Graphs
  • Greater Than / Less Than
  • Multiplication
  • Division

Pet Math also covers real-life applications such as:

  • Money Computation
  • Check Writing
  • Budgeting Money
  • Discount Shopping
  • Price Comparison
  • Shopping Online
  • Critical Thinking

Pet Math is so fun that kids actually forget they are doing math! If you are planning to get a pet, this is another great incentive to add to the list of “must-dos” for your children to prove their readiness for caring for a pet.

Academics can be fun and can incorporate things kids love, such as pets! A little creativity can get your children onboard with the learning process. Additionally, as an added bonus, you can cross some of the pet chores off your to-do list!

Have you involved your pet in getting your kids to read or do math? Share your experience in the comments.

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Tired of trying to get your kids to read and do math? Involve your pet and watch how the family dog or cat can add a little motivation.




    Colleen Dahlgren is a credentialed elementary school teacher and consultant for Times Tales®. She has experience teaching kindergarten, first grade and second grade and has two children who are in their late elementary and early middle school years. She enjoys helping small businesses grow and supporting her children in living their best lives!

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