This week’s Virtual Book Club for Kids is featuring Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion. We’re sharing a pet store shopping game for preschool that practices counting and number recognition. Be sure to check out all of the pet themed activities at the end. I get commissions for purchases made through the affiliate links in this post.
Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Harry the Dirty Dog was one of my husband’s favorite books as a child (according to his mom). We still have his childhood copy with his sister’s name printed inside. We have been reading about Harry every day for the last week. The kids just love the story about a little dog with white spots who runs away because he doesn’t want to take a bath. Harry has fun playing and getting dirty all over town. He eventually gets hungry and misses home. When he returns no one recognizes him because he’s now a black dog with white spots! I need to look for the rest of the books in the series. I’m sure my kids will love those, too.
Pet Store Shopping Game for Preschool
I set this game up for Lily (almost 4) and Elon (almost 2) one afternoon when Elon was choosing not to take a nap. They were still playing when Aiden (age 8) can home from school and he immediately joined in the play. I created the shopping game with some counting practice and number recognition embedded in the game. The kids didn’t exactly like my idea, so I adapted the game and still got some counting practice in there.
We used little cards to play the game. The cards have pets, pet supplies, and numbers on them. You can download the Pet Store Shopping Game cards PDF for personal or classroom use only.
Cut apart the cards and make three piles (one for pets, one for pet supplies, and one for numbers). Set up your pet store with pets and supplies around the room. Take out any cards that don’t match what’s in your room. Here’s a little tour of our pet store. The first shelves have the pet supplies, birds, mice, and a hamster. The paper bags represent bags of food. They can be anything the child imagines.
The puppies are in a box on the floor.
The cats have their own place.
This shelf has a duck, bunnies, and another dog. We have one more table with a fish, turtle, snake, and spider.
How to Play the Pet Store Shopping Game
Choose one pet card. Select a number card. Say the number on the card. Choose that number of pet supplies. Go shopping for the pet and pet supplies in your pretend pet store. In the picture below, we chose a dog and the number 1. This meant we had to choose one pet supply – the carrot. We went shopping for a dog and a carrot.
Watch the video to see how to play.
My kids played this way for a little while.
Then, they each changed the game in their own way. Elon liked taking the cards around the room and matching them to the pets and supplies.
Lily liked choosing the pet card (or more then one) and then shopping for whatever she wanted. She then took the items to the checkout. I asked her to count how many things she bought.
Aiden was very thoughtful with his shopping. He would choose a pet and then decide exactly what the pet needed – what food it ate, what toys it would play with, etc.
Looking for more ways to practice counting? You’ll want to check out our Counting Ducks Toddler Math Game.
More Activities from the Virtual Book Club for Kids
See more pet themed activities inspired by Harry the Dirty Dog:
Give a Dog a Bone Number Game – Rainy Day Mum
Harry the Dirty Dog Printable Counting Activity – JDaniel4’s Mom
Dog Washing Sensory Play – Views From a Step Stool
Biology for Kids: Animal Observation Activity – Mama Smiles
Alliteration Jumping Game – Sugar, Spice & Glitter
Also stop by the Virtual Book Club for Kids Facebook group to see what others are sharing!
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