Dog Theme Week Sensory Play and a Field Trip

It is dog theme week and we are having a ton of fun. Our current situation does not allow for us to have a dog, but LittleMan has been telling us for months what color and size dog he wants when we are able to get one. He even has a name picked out. We are all looking forward to the day that we will be ready and able to welcome a canine family member in, until then we are taking dog theme week as an opportunity to teach LittleMan some of the basics about dogs and their care.

When I got pregnant with LittleMan, and for several years before then, I was actually working as a dog groomer as well as being in school to become a vet tech. Being a stay at home mom was something we had agreed on before Marmaduke and I got married, so even though LittleMan’s conception came a couple years earlier than we were expecting, I put aside my career plans to focus on our growing family. I still miss my clients from time to time. Being a dog groomer was a lot of fun (and it paid pretty good too).
Dog Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler, Dog Wash Small World Sensory Play (1)
I put together this simple small world dog wash tray to get in some sensory play as well as get a conversation going with LittleMan about the different aspects of grooming.
Dog Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler, Dog Wash Small World Sensory Play (2)
There are little plastic toy dogs, dry cloth wipes, sponges, a bowl of shaving cream, and a bowl of water.
Dog Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler, Dog Wash Small World Sensory Play (3)
Of course, I never put out shaving cream without understanding that it might turn into a shaving cream fight. I’ve learned that it is nearly impossible for us to play with shaving cream without at least one person getting covered head to toe, usually SunnyGirl.
Dog Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler, Dog Wash Small World Sensory Play (4)

We also took a little field trip to PetCo.
Dog Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler, field trip to PetSmart (3)
I’m not trying to claim that all errands are field trips but we did go there specifically to walk up and down the dog aisles and discuss the various needs and expenses of a dog.
Dog Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler, field trip to PetSmart (1)
LittleMan spent some time flipping through a dog breed guide.
Dog Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler, field trip to PetSmart (2)
There were only 2 customers in the store besides us when we went, both of them had dogs! One of the dogs was quite confident and comfortable. The other dog was clearly nervous and unsure of the surroundings. I pointed out to LittleMan the body language of both the dogs and we talked about the importance of respecting a dog’s space if they are nervous.

There are so many people, even life-long dog owners, who don’t know what some of the basic dog body language cues mean, the difference between a happy tail wag and a nervous tail wag, etc.. I firmly believe that dogs are inherently good and the majority of bite-incidents could be prevented by better communication between the dog and their human. There is a wealth of information out there if you’d like to know more, the youtube video above is a good starting point.

Of course I can never let a theme week go by without making a sensory bin for it.
Go Dog Go Sensory Bin from Suzy Homeschooler
My original plan was to remake our old Go, Dog! Go! sensory binĀ (pictured above) but then I thought it would be fun to get some cheap dog bones and a dog bowl that we could also use for math props. About an hour before I was about to head to the store I came across an old cat food dish in our closet and decided to change direction.
Dog Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler, Sensory Bin (1)
Instead of using dog food, I used coco puffs cereal. And instead of using dog bones I dug our old bone-shaped cookie cutter out of the back of the drawer and made some tortilla cinnamon crisps in dog bone shapes. The result, a dog themed edible sensory bin.
Dog Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler, Sensory Bin (2)
To make the tortilla cinnamon crisps simply cut some shapes out of a flour tortilla with a cookie cutter, preheat your oven to 325F, place the tortilla shapes on a cookie sheet, spread a thin layer of butter over the top of the tortillas, sprinkle cinnamon, and bake until lightly crisped.
Dog Theme Week from Suzy Homeschooler, Sensory Bin (3)

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2 Comments to Dog Theme Week Sensory Play and a Field Trip

  1. pisforpreschooler says:

    This would have been my favorite theme, dog-lover that I am! I love that you pointed out the different body language in the confident dog and the nervous dog. We have a chihuahua, a breed notoriously bad with young children, and I’m always reminding my 4-year-old that we have to move quietly and slowly around the chihuahua (or any strange or nervous dog) so that they don’t get frightened. Also, I loved your dog-theme sensory bin!

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