.......................................................pet for a day
From Superkids by Jean Marzollo - Illustrations by Irene Trivas

Many of the activities on these pages may require adult supervision.
Be sure to tell a grown-up about what you're planning and ask for permission before getting started.

Find animals outside and "borrow" them for observation; then let them go.

There are a lot of books that tell you how to make fancy cages for animals you catch in the woods, but the problem is that unless you take good care of the animals, they usually die. They're too cold or too hot, too dry or too wet, or they haven't got the right food to eat. Why not just keep them for a few hours and then let them go? This way you don't have to worry about them, and they don't have to worry about you.

For your next birthday present, ask for a glass aquarium and aquarium cover. But instead of filling it up with water and keeping fish in it, keep it in a safe, clean place and save it for live animals. Let's say one day you're outside and see a toad. Catch it. Put the toad in a loosely covered bucket or give it to a friend to hold. Now look around you. What is the toad's world like? Does it have plants, dirt, and stones? Good. Collect these things from the toad's world. Bring them and the toad home. Get out your aquarium and turn it into a toad's home for an afternoon. Then put the toad in it. If you like, catch some bugs for the toad to eat. But you don't have to worry about feeding it. If you keep it only a few hours, it'll be okay. Just be sure to remember to turn it loose.

In the springtime it's fun to take a bucket to a pond, fill it with pond water, and catch tadpoles and salamanders. Bring the bucket home and gently pour it into your aquarium. Watch the water settle. You'll be able to see your tadpoles swimming around. First they have no legs, then they grow back legs, then front ones. You may find you have caught some at different stages. If you catch salamanders, put a big rock in the water and only fill the aquarium about one third full. This way the salamanders, which are amphibians (can live both in water and on land), can climb out of the water. Watch the salamanders swim around. They come up to the surface to breathe air. Once you have tadpoles and salamanders swimming around in your aquarium, you may not want to let them go. If you keep them a day and a half or even two days, they will be all right. There are enough organisms in the pond water for them to survive. But please return them to the pond within 48 hours.

Many insects are easy to catch. Put them in a glass jar. Poke a few holes in the lid so the insects have fresh air. After you finish observing them, let them go.


pet for a day




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Based on the book SUPERKIDS: Creative Learning Activities for Children 5-15
Text © Jean Marzollo, Illustrations © Irene Trivas

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