World Animal Day is a fantastic opportunity for children of all ages to learn more about the importance of animal welfare and to enhance their relationship with animals. Read on for some suggestions on World Animal Day school activities and assembly ideas that are both fun and educational.
As part of the international celebration of World Animal Day observed by organisations and individuals on 4 October, get your school talking about the important role that both wild and domestic animals play in their lives. Regardless of age, children will benefit from animal day activities and the simple message that all animals deserve a good standard of welfare and quality of care. There are dozens of assembly ideas for celebrating the day with your school or classroom. Wish students in your community a “happy World Animal Day” and take inspiration from some of the ideas below:
Watch a film: There are hundreds of informative and inspiring documentaries online for all ages. Check out short films produced by well-loved nature documentarians like David Attenborough introducing younger audiences to the beauty of the nature world and wildlife behaviour.
Put on a show: School assemblies are a great opportunity to use the performing arts to get children excited and talking about animals. A school-wide presentation using music, poetry, dance, or art might introduce younger children to concepts like food chains or the role of animal products in daily life. Have children brainstorm their own performance or find a song or poem that explores an issue around animal welfare. Teachers in SPANA Animal Clubs across Africa and the Middle East regularly use drama to instil the Five Animal Freedoms into their students.
Explore the Five Welfare Needs: The Five Welfare Needs refer to a set of principles adopted by many charities and organisations. These principles include an animal’s right to drinking water, shelter, veterinary care, company of fellow animals and freedom from physical harm. Have students research these principles and speak to assemblies about the importance of these welfare needs and how they think they can be achieved for domestic or wild animals.
Take a trip: Schools might organise a trip to a local city farm, wildlife sanctuary, or shelter where children can enjoy hands on experience learning about different species. For many children in urban areas, city farms might be the first time they have had a chance to see where the food they eat comes from, bringing them closer to understanding our role in the food chain.
Have a debate: For older students, a moderated debate on an ethical issue around animal welfare like animal testing or the meat industry can push boys and girls to think more critically about the way in which humans interact with the environment and animals.
Show off your pets: Have students bring in photos of their pets or favourite animal to showcase outside of the assembly hall. Organise discussion groups or presentations about how students care for their animals and what animal welfare means to them.
Fundraise for a chosen charity: In many schools, World Animal Day is marked with a school or class-wide fundraiser on behalf of a chosen animal charity. This is a great opportunity for children to produce reports and participate in teacher-led workshops about issues that their given charity combats and is a fun way for kids to pull together toward a shared animal welfare cause.
Talk to your class or school about ways to get involved in this important day. By planting the seeds of animal welfare awareness at a young age, children can start to develop a deep-rooted appreciation for the importance of animals in their lives.