Here’s a quick, easy, and FREE field-trip you can take with your child that can have an eternal impact. For more ideas like this one, check out my book Faith-Filled Moments.
Bunnies, Turtles, and Puppies…Oh My!
Visit a pet store to explore together God’s tender care for us.
Take a trip to a pet store with your child; It may not be as exotic as the zoo, but it’s free! On your way there, talk about this question: “If you could have any animal in the world for a pet, what would it be? Why?”
When you get to the pet store, allow time for your child to look at every animal. If you can, ask an employee to let your child pet a puppy, kitten, or rabbit. Talk together about what you like (or dislike) about each animal. Then take a quick tour through some of the pet supplies in the store: cage/aquarium, food, grooming products, etc. Wrap up your time by sharing with each other which creature was your favorite.
Caring for a pet requires a lot of work; whether you already have a pet or a visit to the pet store is as far as it goes in your family, you can use the topic of pets to help your child begin to grasp the truth that God cares for us everyday. Share with your child that a good pet owner provides daily feeding, affection, grooming, and cleaning up after her pet. She does so because she loves her pet.
Help your child think through the many ways God cares for us; lead her to come up with concrete examples of ways God meets our daily needs and shows us love and kindness. (If you already have a pet, talk through all the tasks that need to be done to care for it and invite your child to share how she feels about the pet.)
Obviously this analogy only goes so far; we’re much more than “pets” to God! But Scripture repeatedly uses the image of God as a shepherd who cares for us, his sheep (see Psalm 95:6-7). And taking care of a pet (or imagining what care for a pet might involve) is often a child’s first real encounter with something akin to parental love. Discussion of this topic can help your child realize that God doesn’t just “feel” affection for us—God daily demonstrates his love and care for us in a myriad of ways.
You may want to ask your child questions like…
- Which animal from the store do you think would require the most work to take care of it? What are all the things a pet owner would need to do for it?
- What do people do to care for pets?
- What does God do to care for us?