50 Ways Kids Can Help Animals

50 Ways Kids Can Help Animals

Animals need our help—whether they are farm animals, animals in your backyard, wild animals whose habitat is endangered, domestic pets, animals used for entertainment, or abandoned and homeless animals. There are many impactful ways kids of all ages can help animals today and make a difference, from volunteering time, to raising awareness, launching campaigns, raising money, writing letters to elected officials or promoting issues on social media.

Here are some great ways kids can help animals today:

  1. Foster a cat or dog – Cats and dogs that come into shelters and rescue groups desperately need foster homes to care for them, while they get ready for adoption. Contact your local animal shelter or rescue group to learn about their foster programs. Fostering is only temporary until the animal gets adopted. When you foster a rescue pet you will be saving an animal’s life each time you foster!
  2. Volunteer to help a neighbor’s pet – Help infirm, immobile, or neighbors who have difficulty getting out by taking their dog for a walk and giving it attention. If you have neighbors that work long hours, then volunteer to take their dog for a walk midday. If the owner is going to be home late, volunteer to feed their dog or cat. Your kindness means the world to these animals.
  3. Learn to speak up for animals – Join the Humane Society’s Mission Humane specifically designed for kids. This Action Guide will help teach kids how to speak up for animals and make a difference for them. They will also learn effective ways to take action for animals. Download the Guide.
  4. Do something kind for an animal in the next week, and every week! – Then share the experience with family and friends, share on social media, and write about it for a class paper.
  5. Volunteer at a local wildlife preserve, hospital or rescue center, or animal sanctuary – Most need community support and volunteer help.
  6. Volunteer and support your local animal shelter – There are many ways kids can help local animal shelters. Kids can help by gathering and donating old blankets and towels, walking dogs, petting and playing with the cats so they feel less lonely, and raising and donating money. Call your local shelter today for ways to help. Check out how these kids are helping an animal rescue center in Hawaii.
  7. Adopt a pet – Thinking about getting a pet? Think shelter adoption first. Shelters across the country are full of abandoned, homeless pets that need a second chance. But first, be prepared to adopt a new pet by understanding the long-term financial and personal commitment involved. It’s a decision you want to give careful thought to and be prepared for. Here are some adoption tips.
  8. Learn how to be a responsible pet owner If you have a cat or dog at home, you can work to improve their lives. Make sure they are microchipped and spayed or neutered. Cats love to play, consider giving them play time. Try to groom your dog or cat gently everyday when you have free time, they will love it! Provide your dog with lots of exercise—dogs crave running, sniffing and exploring. Go for long walks daily. Never scold them, don’t leave them outside, and everyday make time for them by giving them loving attention and play with them. Make sure they know they are loved every day!
  9. Support wildlife in your yard – Create a wildlife sanctuary in your back and front yard, by choosing native and animal-friendly plants that attract hummingbirds, birds, bees, small wildlife, and insects. Learn about building a sustainable garden for wildlife. Then go a step further and encourage kids to write letters, make phone calls and sign petitions asking our legislators to outlaw pesticides and toxins that are killing pollinators.
  10. Build a Certified Wildlife Habitat – Turn your yard, balcony container pots, schoolyard, or roadside green space into a Certified Wildlife Habitat®. It’s easy and fun and helps wildlife. Learn how to Certify your garden here.
  11. Build a butterfly garden – Help the Monarch Butterfly survive by becoming a butterfly hero! Start with a Butterfly Starter Kit from the National Wildlife Federation and help plant food, water and safe places for Monarch Butterflies to lay their eggs.
  12. Leave wildlife (insects, frogs, lizards) in the wild – It is their home. Don’t keep wildlife as pets. It’s illegal in Washington State and many other places. Be nice to bugs and all wildlife. Checkout these cool bug facts!
  13. Put out water bowls in your backyard for wildlife – Urban and suburban development have encroached on wildlife habitat. Help protect animals from dehydration, drought, and severe and prolonged dry weather, and limited water supplies. When you provide clean, fresh water daily you help keep them alive and healthy.
  14. Want to learn more about wildlife? – The website All About Wildlife publishes a list of websites that include top wildlife organizations, environmental organizations, scientific websites, favorite wildlife blogs, green websites and governmental and non-profit websites for wildlife and animals. It’s a great way to get kids educated about wild animals.
  15. Go on family nature walks – Get connected with nature and wild spaces, and learn to love nature and become a steward for our earth. Scientific evidence suggests kids who spend more time in nature are healthier, happier, are more mentally focused and value and will safeguard wildlife and wild spaces.
  16. Found an orphaned or injured baby animal? Not sure if the baby animal you found is actually orphaned or injured? Here are some signs that a wild animal needs your help.
  17. Join a cleanup effort! – Help keep our environment clean and safe for wildlife. Join a cleanup day, or just be a citizen hero and pick up trash on trails, in parks, along rivers and creeks, ocean beaches, and even off streets. Trash from streets and sidewalks ends up in storm drains that wash into our waterways and eventually the ocean, killing wildlife and marine mammals. Here’s a fun worksheet for young kids to track the types of trash they find.
  18. Don’t litter, it’s deadly to animals – Teach kids never to litter, those everyday items on the ground, streets, waterways and ocean beaches are deadly to animals. Our garbage and trash can be completely lethal to unsuspecting wildlife and even to dogs and cats. If you’re a parent or teacher, here’s a good lesson plan. If you’re a student, see how litter hurts animals.
  19. Start an animal rights group at your school – Join like-minded animal advocates and budding activists at your school and start advocating for animals. Speak up and spread the importance of protecting animals. They need our help. Here’s how to start a group.
  20. Start a campaign to save animals – Join the many kids today who are speaking up, creating simple videos, and posting on social media protesting against any form of animal abuse and cruelty, whether a rodeo, circus, horse race or dolphinarium. And it’s working! Here’s how some kids are speaking up!
  21. Don’t attend or support events where animals are used for entertainment Animals used to entertain humans is driven by money and profits and the animals are the ones that suffer. Performing animals are almost always trained using inhumane and cruel training practices, are punished, denied their natural environment, denied natural behaviors, denied their families, and are forced against their will to entertain us. Refuse to support this form of cruelty to animals by NOT attending rodeos, horse races, circuses, marine parks, dolphinariums, theme parks that use animals, or zoos. Instead attend human performances like Cirque du Soleil and Circus Vargas where no animals are used, abused and exploited. Here are more ideas.
  22. Choose animal-free adventures! – Stand up for animals in captivity by not lending your support or attendance. Tell your parent or teacher that animals aren’t ours to use for entertainment and suggest animal-free adventures instead, like going to your local park, local museums, or a positive animal experience like the shelter or animal sanctuary.
  23. Watch animal documentaries – There are many enlightening, informative and powerful animal documentaries available today that provide insight into animals and ways humans are impacting them and their world. Here’s a list of nature documentaries for kids and films that will raise consciousness. Here’s a list of animal-rights movies to show in classrooms.
  24. Read books about animals and how to care for pets – Here are some fun books for kids from 1st through 6th grade about caring for pets. Here’s a list of books for young kids that love animals.
  25. Go cruelty-free when you shop! – Many products are tested on animals that are available to buy. How do you know if your product is tested on animals? Check the packaging for the Leaping Bunny logo, and make sure it says “Not Tested on Animals.” Learn about buying only cruelty-free labels and products. And take this fun Quiz to see how many cruelty-free products you own! Take the Pledge to go cruelty-free!
  26. Make your closet cruelty-free – Avoid buying or wearing clothing or products that have caused animals to suffer. When you see cruelly produced clothing and accessories in stores let the manager and clerks know you object to the sale of any animal parts and animal cruelty involved. Choose non-animal fabrics (no angora, feathers, pearls, eel skin, ivory, leather etc.). Avoid down, instead by polyester fill. Don’t buy tortoiseshell. Never buy or wear fur. Here’s a list of fur-free brands and retailers. Take the Pledge not to wear animals!
  27. Report animal abuse and neglect – If you see an animal suffering from neglect – lack of food and water, chained up without access to shelter and food/water, or is being abused by a person—report it immediately to the police (911) and your local county or city animal shelter. Take photos or better, video, to record any mistreatment or neglect. Be their voice. They have no ability to speak on their own behalf. Report the abuse!
  28. How to help a backyard dog – If you know of a dog that lives outside in a backyard, try to convince owners to bring the dog inside. Offer to take the dog for walks, and bring treats and toys to him or her. Make sure that there is proper shelter and fresh water always, and call the authorities if there isn’t. Document everything.
  29. Help neglected animals —You can help neglected animals by notifying your County or City Animal Control or animal shelter and the police, when you see an animal being seriously neglected – chained in a backyard without food and water, inside a car on a hot day, wandering or running the streets, or if you know people who abandoned their pet and left them behind. Notify authorities and get help!
  30. Refuse to dissect – If you are in any grade from kindergarten through 12th grade and attend public school, then you are entitled to an alternative to dissection. This is your legal right, not to mention moral right. Refuse to dissect. Put it into writing, involve your parents. If you attend private school, ask for an alternative. Animals should never be killed for classroom dissection. Ask for the right to nonviolent education. Ask about alternatives. Call the Dissection Hotline at 800-922-FROG (3764). Here is all about dissection alternatives and here.
  31. Join PETA KIDS missions to save animals! Check out their list of super-easy ways to help animals and earn stickers and comic books for doing it! They post new missions all the time, so there are always new ways for kids to spread the word about animal rights and get free stuff.
  32. Join Peta2’s Youth Advisory Board – Are you between the ages of 13 and 21, are active in the animal rights movement, a student in school, and live in the United States or Canada? Then you qualify! You’ll learn the skills and resources to be the best advocate for animals you can be. Apply now!
  33. Talk to teachers about incorporating animal issues into the curriculum – Visit org for more information on humane education, and visit this Action Guide, for everything kids need to know to speak up for animals.
  34. Subscribe to KIND NEWS magazine – See profiles of amazing kids who are helping animals, features about rescued animals, pet care tips and how-tos to help backyard wildlife. Kind News is available in three reading levels: Primary Edition (grades K-2), Junior Edition (grades 3-4), and Senior Edition (grades 5-6). Kind News is available for a Home Subscription by clicking here and is published 6 times per year. Here’s an article about teaching children to be kind, in an unkind world.
  35. Grow your own organic food – When you grow your own organic food, you help animals by not causing pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and insecticides from harming animals in the environment. Plus many of these organic food plants attract bees and other pollinators. Learn how to grow your own garden for kids!
  36. Learn about farm animal cruelty for food – The meat, dairy and egg industries are some of the biggest contributors to serious environmental problems, pollution, global warming and deep animal cruelty. You can help by keeping all animals off your plate, and instead eat plant-based meat, cheese and egg substitutes. Read the 13 Reasons to Keep Bacon Off Your Plate just for kids, 5 Ways Drinking Milk Hurts Cows for kids, and how Eating Animals is Ruining the Planet – just for kids!
  37. Go vegan!This is one of the best and most effective ways that kids can help animals today. When you go vegan, you don’t eat any products including meat, fish, poultry, dairy or eggs, and you don’t buy or wear or use anything that comes from an animal like leather, fur, feathers etc. By not eating animals you can save 100-200 animals per year! Animals want to live and value their lives as much as you do. See what other kids are saying today about GOING VEGAN! Take the Vegan Pledge for 30 Days!
  38. Get your school to add vegan options to the lunch menu! – Ask your school principal to add meat-and-dairy free options like veggie burgers to your school’s cafeteria menu. To take it further, ask your school to honor Meatless Mondays too! Then work on them to add even more vegan options to the menu!
  39. Celebrate the holidays with kindness to animals – Think about the animals during special holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. Enjoy an animal-free Thanksgiving dinner; give toys, blankets and donations to your local animal shelter; visit an animal sanctuary and think of the many ways you can extend kindness to animals.
  40. Teach kindness, respect, compassion, and responsibility for animals – Here are some great humane lesson plans for teachers and parents that teach humane education for all grades of kids. Here are some downloadable worksheets that teach about caring for animals up to Grade 6.
  41. Help kids get connected to wildlife – Help kids get connected to wildlife through wildlife and nature lesson plans and resources. Visit National Wildlife Federation for resources and ways to connect kids with nature and conservation.
  42. Help kids learn more about animals – Here is a great list of animal-related websites that are educational, provide loads of resources, animal facts and tools for teachers.
  43. Get kids involved with animals – Visit animal sanctuaries in your area, animal rescue groups during adoption days, and join activities that support the wellbeing of animals in your community.
  44. Avoid feeding mammals – Mammals such as deer, raccoons, skunks and possums should never be fed by humans. By feeding them, they become dependent on humans, will lose their fear of us, and can lose their ability and desire to find their own food sources. Feeding them leaves them more vulnerable to starvation and harm by humans.
  45. Learn about the legislative issues impacting animals and their welfare – Read about the issues then get involved!
  46. Write letters to your legislators – Speak up about animal welfare issues that concern you. Write, email and call your state and federal elected representatives. Be brief but express your concern. It counts and will make a big difference!
  47. Check out animal-rights themed online games! – Have fun learning about ways to help animals by playing games!
  48. Watch the film “Their Future in Your Hands” – You can learn about the animal rights movement and the inhumane uses of animals practiced throughout history as well as today, that are legal and standard procedure.
  49. Never use poisons, guns, traps that can injure, maim and kill wildlife – Don’t cause injury or suffering to animals under any conditions. There are always non-harmful and non-toxic ways to address keeping insects or animals out of your yard. Learn about humane and non-lethal ways to solve problems wit wildlife in your yard.
  50. Donate! – Teach kids how to donate to animal or charities that work to help animals, preserve wildlife and the environment.

50 Ways Kids Can Help Animals

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