Outdoor Classroom and Guinea Pig Love!

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A CLASSROOM PET, THE GUINEA PIG IS A REAL WINNER! Plus, these creatures love being outdoors. Luckily,  that's the best place to change their bedding, bathe them, brush them, and allow them to exercise.  Also, gathering greens from the class garden (or grass from the backyard) is one of the most fun ways to provide a healthy diet for your pet Guinea Pig. The Outdoor Classroom loves the Guinea Pig and vice versa!

The PreK class pet "Peanut," the best Guinea Pig ever

Over the years, I have enjoyed a variety of pets with children in the classroom as well as my own children at home.

~ Rabbits are darling, but if they get away they are very fast runners and next to impossible to catch! (and they kick!)
Photos from the artists at Dollar Photo Club unless otherwise indicated.

~ Rats are fairly quiet and clean, but basically they are nocturnal and so like to sleep during the day...

~ Hamsters are so adorable running across the room in one of those clear plexiglass globes, but they are also known for biting when handled!

~ Snakes are great pets since they require minimal care and eat only once a week or so, but they must have live food and some snakes are smelly...

~ Frogs are fun, but tricky to raise from eggs & the tadpoles may suddenly jump out of the bowl when they have completed their metamorphosis into a frog!

~ Turtles are very easy to keep happy and lots of fun to observe, but they are not very "pet-able"...

~ Goldfish are a good, all-round fish to raise and since their life span is only about a year or two, you will eventually have the important opportunity to discuss the cycle of life and death with the children...Once again, fish are not "pet-able!"

Flowers and a sweet song as we bury our pet, "Fishity-Fish."

Photo taken by Carolyn

~ Chickens will lay eggs for you! However, they require quite a bit of maintenance and it's possible that Community Care Licensing may not allow them.

~ Goats & Sheep are real farm animals and will bring so many wonderful experiences to the children caring for them...alas, they do require space to graze. (a lot of it!)

~ Parakeets & Finch are beautiful and may nest and have a family!..but they can be a bit noisy and require cage maintenance every day...

~ Geese & Ducks are lovely, however they must have a body of water to be really happy...and they will bite!

~ Parrots & Macaws are amazing and lots of fun, just bear in mind that they may live to be 70 yrs old and their bites are vicious! (take a look at the macaw's beak in the photo)

~ Lizards are amazing pets that require very little maintenance, but the temperature and lighting of the habitat can be a bit tricky and these creatures are not easy to hold and "pet"...

~ Hermit Crabs don't seem to live very long in captivity but are so fun to observe!

~ Tarantulas are interesting and fairly easy to care for, but definitely in the category of "un-pet-able!"

First of all, they are so cute! They seem to love to be held and stroked or brushed. They are a nice size: not too big and not too small. 

I have only been bitten once by a Guinea Pig and that was when I was clipping his nails a little too close. (Poor thing, it was bleeding!) I've never had a Guinea Pig that ever bit a child in all my many years of classroom pets! 

Guinea Pigs will thrive indoors in a cage, and you can also take them out into the grass and they will graze and be so happy! Also, they are not too fast when you need to catch them and put them back in the cage. Watch out for hawks as they prey on creatures like Guinea Pigs. For that reason, Guinea Pigs should never be left outside unattended.  

And, Guinea Pigs make the most adorable little squeak!

One of the best parts about having a Guinea Pig as a classroom pet, is the maintenance that the children can perform:

The cage will need changing about once a week (twice a week is even better.)

Don't forget the gloves...the children love that part of the process!

Photos following were taken by Carolyn

Changing the bedding is definitely a two-person job!

Spreading the hay is the finishing touch! And, of course, the water bottle and feeding dish must be washed out as well.

Guinea Pigs are basically vegetarians and they love to have fresh greens from the garden once or twice a day. 

And, in true Montessori tradition, don't forget to provide "Parts of the Guinea Pig" 3-part card materials with booklets for the children to make! Here's a link for Montessori 3 part cards: Montessori eBook Downloads of "Parts of" Set
I hope you have enjoyed this post and discovered the great value of having classroom pets that fit in well with the Outdoor Classroom. I would love to hear some of your ideas about the best classroom pets...please leave a comment or two!

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