If you’re anything like us, you treat your dog like another one of your children. During these times of social distancing, and really any time you’re cooped up in the house, you’ll want a list of activities for kids and dogs to do together.
I actually refer to my Penny girl as my “furst” baby. We’ll always have that special bond, as she will always remember those solo days of endless walks, treats, and attention. Although, she still finds her spot in the middle of the king bed juuuust fine.
However, as a mom of two little girls and a rambunctious Irish Setter, I find myself wanting to pull my hair out trying to think of ways to keep the whole crew entertained, dog included. I figured I’d compile a list of ways activities for kids and dogs, so we can all enjoy this time of social distancing and being home with everyone under one roof, all the time.
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For those whose kids can’t seem to get enough of their dogs, here is a list of fun and easy activities to break up your everyday routine and give your kid a chance to love on their dogs even more.
1. Teach Your Dog New Tricks
Teaching your dog to respond to commands can not only be helpful, but it can also be fun. Working with your dog can increase his attention span. He’ll likely sit nice, roll over, play dead, or give paw in order to get another tasty treat from your kid.
This is a great way for the two of them to bond. Plus, your kids will be beaming with pride when showing off what they taught their four-legged friend to perform. Check out this list of 50 YouTube channels that offer quality dog training tips!
This is at the top of the list of activities for kids and dogs, because it is extremely productive for everyone.
2. Watch a Movie or Show about Dogs
There are countless movies about pets, especially dogs, to keep your dog-loving kid happy throughout their time spent at home. Maybe your kid and dog will even enjoy some cuddling when they are watching.
Here’s a brief list of movies and shows that involve dogs:
- Paw Patrol (Nick Jr)
- Puppy Dog Pals (Disney+)
- Bluey (Disney+)
- Bolt (Disney+ and Netflix)
- The Lady and the Tramp (Disney+)
- 101 Dalmatians (Disney +)
- The Fox and the Hound (Disney+ and Netflix)
- Space Dogs (Netflix)
- Clifford the Big Red Dog (Netflix)
For older kids:
- Togo (Disney+)
- Dogs with Jobs (Amazon Prime and Netflix)
- Puppy Academy: Dog Training Guide (Amazon Prime)
- Marley and Me
- Old Yeller (Disney+)
- Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (Netflix)
- Pick of the Litter (Disney+)
Right now, you can even get a free 7-day trial of Disney+ while you’re staying home!
3. Bake Dog Treats
Setting aside time to bake for your dog will not only save you a trip to the store for dog bones, it will also save you money. Most dog treats can be made from ingredients you likely already keep in the house. You might want to snag these awesome bone-shaped cookie cutters for these delicious treats. We have them and love them!
Here are some recipes you can make with five ingredients or less. You can even make extras to freeze and bag for later. If you have dogs in your family, you can make up a bag to give them too!
4. Create a Scrapbook of Your Dog
This is one of the most fun activities for kids and dogs, and it creates a lasting keepsake. Take some time to collect pictures of your dog from puppyhood till now. Then, grab your kid’s favorite art supplies, like markers, crayons, glue, glitter, and other coloring utensils, and get to work assembling a scrapbook of your dog’s life.
This is a great opportunity to talk about the memories your family has created with your four-legged friend. Also, you’ll have a creatively assembled final project to showcase and enjoy for many years to come.
5. Read Books about Dogs
This is great for kids of any age. There are many books about dogs and pets for all ages, starting with babies.
Picture books, like the Clifford series, and chapter books about your dog breed in particular. They will be able to learn about the qualities and traits of their best friend and what sets him apart from other dogs.
For older kids, you might want to sit down with them and read articles about dogs or even chapter books, like Where the Red Fern Grows.
This is a great opportunity to expand their knowledge and understanding of dogs in general, and it may create a newfound love of their best bud.
6. Paint a Portrait of Your Dog
If you are up for the challenge, take out the paint (preferably washable) and let your kids paint a portrait of their dog. Your kids will have such a great time using their creativity to paint a picture of how the dog — and you might get a good laugh out of it too.
You’ll be able to see how they view their dog and also give them a chance to be an artist for a day.
Also, you can turn this into wall art if you have any canvases or frames. This activity, like most when dogs and children mix, may require some additional parental guidance.
The last thing you want is to walk into a room and realize that your furry bud is covered in purple paint. If I let Lily do this unattended, I’m pretty sure everything in the surrounding area would be covered in paint.
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7. Have a Dog Photoshoot
Nowadays, kids are pros at stealing our iPhones and cameras to take a look at the screens and the world around them. They probably know how to use our cameras better than we do. So, let them have at it.
Set up a doggie photoshoot for your kids and your dog. Let your kids go behind the camera to capture their furry friend in different poses and in different settings. This can happen at home, or for those of you who are more adventurous, you can go outside to capture the scenery.
Your kids will go wild with this activity, because it combines a few of their favorite things all in one: their dog and the ability to use your devices.
Now, my dog would want NOTHING to do with this activity, so make sure your dog isn’t like mine and will actually tolerate such an activity!
8. Have a Doggie Spa Day
There’s no better smell than a recently-shampooed dog. On a nice, warm day, let your kids take their furry best friend outside and create a spa day for your dog. Let them give your dog a bath, dry him off, and brush him.
If it’s a rainy or cold day, you can set up a doggy spa inside, but make sure you have a large area that you won’t mind cleaning, because a wet dog and kids could make for a messy spa session. Grab your favorite dog shampoo (we LOVE Burt’s Bees dog shampoos) and get to it!
This is a win-win for you, because you’ll reap the benefits of a grooming service without having to fork out money for the bill (if you can even access these grooming services right now). This is also a productive addition to the list of activities for kids and dogs.
9. Take Your Dog to the Park (or for a Walk around the Neighborhood)
Taking your dog outdoors for some adventures is great for the entire family. The outdoors offers many benefits to renew your energy and connect with nature, and your dog will love the attention and fresh air just as much as your kids. If your dog walks well on a leash, let your kids lead them on a walk through a local park. If your dog walks well without a leash, you can get out to some local hiking trails. These are all great places to go right now, as the people here are scarce. It gives you space to run free and stay healthy.
10. Play in the Yard
Personally, this is my absolute favorite on the list of activities for kids and dogs. This one is easy, and it might even give you a few quiet moments to yourself to enjoy that cup of coffee while it’s still hot. Get your dog and kids outside to burn off some extra energy when it’s nice outside.
Here are a few easy outdoor activities for your kids and dog:
- Play fetch
- Chase each other
- Give your dog a bath
- Have a picnic
- Splash around in a little pool
- Go for a walk
- Teach outdoor tricks, like jumping over sticks or through hula hoops
And just think of how tired everyone will be once they all come in later!
11. Run through the Sprinklers
On a nice, sunny day, turn on the sprinklers so everyone can enjoy a little water play. Your furry friend will thank you as they stay cool with the water, and your kids will love to splash with their best bud. Everyone will enjoy running through the sprinklers and staying refreshed from the heat. You may even have a few laughs if your dog tries to drink the water straight from the spraying sprinkler itself! Dogs and kids will have a blast in this water activity that could provide countless hours of afternoon fun.
12. Go for a Ride
Sometimes, it’s okay to stick to the basics. So, your dog loves riding in the car? Easy solution. Take your dog and kids for a ride. To make it more enjoyable than a boring car ride, crank up their favorite music and roll the windows down to enjoy the breeze. This simple event can make everyone sing at the top of their lungs and smile throughout the whole journey. It’s an easy way to get everyone out of the house and give your kids and dog a chance to share the backseat and do some quality bonding. Plus, you’ll even get a little break from having to chase them all around the house for a little while.
13. Make Dog Ornaments
Okay, sure, so it’s not Christmas, but the holiday season brings up feelings of good times and happy memories. So why not channel some of that energy during this time? Print off some pictures of your children and their dog, and let them create photo ornaments to hang on your tree this year. Get out some glitter, glue, crayons, markets, pipe cleaners, and popsicle sticks for them to design their own creation. This will be fun for everyone, and it will create something positive to remind you of this quality time each year.
14. Make Brain Teasers for Your Dog
Dogs exert much energy mentally in order to solve puzzles to earn those drool-worthy treats, so have your kids create a few puzzles or hide-and-seek games for your dog. There are a few cool brain teasers that can be made using treats and toys that you likely already have at home anyways.
Here are a few examples:
Muffin Tray Matching Game – All you need is a muffin tray, training treats, and a few tennis balls for this one. Put some treats in a few of the muffin spots, and then load the tray with balls, covering up the treats. Present this to your furry friend and let them search for the treats by pawing at the balls until they uncover the treats. Repeat until full.
Laundry “Treasure” Hunt – If you have a pile of laundry that still needs cleaned, let your kids use this as a place to bury some “treasure” for your dog. Give them a bone or two and let them bury it in the laundry hamper or piles of laundry on the floor. Then, see how long it takes for your dog to find the bone. This way, you won’t be worried about the mess left behind, since it’s full of dirty laundry anyways.
Here are some dog training treats our Penny girl loves!
Check out this cool article on dog toys you can make from everyday household items.
Then, after they do these, let your children be inventive and see what puzzle they can come up with! Maybe you can even have a friendly competition for who comes up with the best game.
15. Create a Balancing Act on Your Dog
This is a great one for moms who just want their kids and dog to stay put for just a little while. Give your kids various, safe items to balance on their dog. Practice balancing these lightweight items on their heads and snouts. You can even create a game for who can balance the most items or for the longest amount of time. Start with small training treats and work your way up to lightweight items, like folders, sticks, and small toys.
Have your kids take pictures and post them on Instagram using the hashtag #StuffonMyDog. Check it out. They’ll be smiling the whole morning as they scroll through that feed!
Enjoy these activities for kids and dogs!
There are countless activities for kids and dogs to keep them happy and engaged. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and get outside in the backyard, neighborhood, or nearby park for a little change of scenery.
This will also help cultivate a positive relationship between both your dog and your kids, which will truly last a lot longer than this situation.
Give your entire family some enjoyment during these tough times, and you’ll be better for it later.
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