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Have you seen the new desk pet idea that is all over social media? In this post I’ll explain to you what desk pets are and then I’ll show you some fun ideas to introduce them in your classroom this year and where to get them. You may just have more fun than the kids with this one!
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So, desk pets are basically a clever name for little animal erasers that you give your students for their desk. The original idea came from teacher, Marissa Begay on Tik-Tok and since then everyone fell in love with them. They can be used for an incentive, a classroom management tool or just for fun.
I’ll show you how some teachers are using their desk pets in this post to give you some great ideas to try it out in your class. At the end of this post, I’ll show you where you can get some for your class.
First step is to get a ton of cute mini erasers. A lot of teachers scored these in the Target dollar spot. But that is hit and miss. You can sometimes find them at the Dollar Store as well.
They have them on Amazon too, my favorites are at the end of the post. You can also choose to get desk pet homes. I’ll show you some different options for that too.
A great way to add an extra motivation for your students is to put the desk pets on display. I'm talking about a fun container that will get them excited about earning this incentive. Check out some ideas below.
I love the idea of displaying your desk pets in a pretty container like Janelle, a fourth-grade teacher from Oregon. Then the label just takes it over the top. How excited would your kids be to see this display in the class? Here’s a similar plastic apothecary jar that they would look great in.
It’s all in the presentation, right? Would your students love to see all the desk pets they can earn displayed in this cute cookie container? That might just up the motivation factor.
Jill, a 5th grade teacher from L.A. repurposed a cookie container from Target, added some cute googly eyes and created this fun container to hold the desk pet collection.
I love this idea from Kayla, a K-3rd SPED teacher. She organized her desk pets in a pocket chart from the Dollar Tree. This allows her students to easily see all of them at once.
When they find the one that they want they'll give her the number and they she can find the right one in the storage bin. This simple solution keeps the desk pet erasers organized and saves her time!
Brianna, a second-grade teacher has both the large erasers and the mini ones too. She lets her students earn a desk pet with a cute little home and then they can also earn as many as the mini ones as they want.
Another idea is to get these small plastic containers and then label them with the student’s name. It’s the perfect size to sit on their desk.
I’m also loving the little containers that Ms. Luis has for her desk pets. You can find similar little desk pet containers here. You can even secure them to students' desks with Velcro strips to keep them in place during the school day.
Desk pets can be used as a behavior system. Here’s what Emily, a Kindergarten teacher does. She sends this note home with the students and each student gets a desk pet and a plastic container for their pet.
When students follow rules in the class they earn points that they can use in the “Pet Shop.” The Pet shop has food for their pet, balls, accessories and more pets! If the student is not following the rules then she will have to babysit the pet for the day on her desk.
Tina a teacher in Greece realized the importance of providing a simple list of rules that are posted in the class. This keeps order to this fun reward system. If you want to add some desk pet rules here are some ideas:
I love the idea of creating an adoption center to get your students excited about earning their desk pets. Mrs. Castro, a kindergarten teacher, created a ticket system. When the students earn five tickets, they can purchase a desk pet.
The students are learning by practicing counting tickets and comparing with their friends to see how many they have!
Mrs. Castro’s students next get to fill out an adoption certificate. This includes their name, the pets name, the type of pet and the date of adoption. Then they can place them in their pet home.
This teacher changed the name from desk pet adoption center to rescue center. She did this because it occurred to her that it may be hurtful to children that are adopted. So now she has her students rescue a pet instead of adopting one.
Most teachers agree that it's a good idea to have limits on when the students can play with their pets. In Mrs. Castor’s classroom the pets can only come out to play on Fun Fridays. At the end of the day the pets will go back to their homes and watch the class throughout the week.
Other teachers allow students to play with their pets during free time or when they are finished with their work.
Here's a brilliant idea from Miss Lower, a fourth-grade teacher. If kids are misbehaving or if they have a messy desk the desk pets will have to go to the vet clinic for a short visit. When the students are ready the desk pets can be returned.
Kindergarten teacher, Katie has the same idea as the vet clinic, but she calls her Desk Pet Day care. If students are not being responsible pet owners, the pets will stay at the daycare for the day and can return to the owner at the end of the day.
She uses these magnetic tins to keep the little pets at the day care center.
As a fun extra project Emily encouraged her students to create a habitat for their pets with construction paper, Q-tips, cotton balls, popsicle sticks or anything else that they have around the house.
Not only can creating a habitat be a fun activity you can also make it a learning activity. A science unit on habitats could involve students creating a habitat for their pet.
As an extra incentive you can have your children earn food items for their pet with a reward system. Wouldn’t they have so much fun with this?
Creating a pet shop is another way to reinforce positive behavior in the class. You can find tiny erasers that are food, toys, treats and even decorations for their home!
Mrs. Castro’s students can purchase anything from the pet shop with 2 tickets that they have earned for good behavior. Read on to discover where to get items for your pet shop.
Here’s another super fun way to run your class desk pet shop. Ms. Luis, a second-grade teacher, has coins that the students can earn for positive behaviors that they can spend to adopt a pet. She also discusses the rules and responsibilities of adopting a pet with the class. (So important!)
If you love the coins, she uses for her class store you can find similar ones on Amazon. Here are some realistic ones if you want to incorporate learning to count money and here are some generic ones.
Third grade teacher, Stephanie gives each student a desk pet punch card. When the first card is filled up, they earn a desk pet of their choosing and a home as well. When they get the next card filled up, they will earn a trip to the desk pet store where they can purchase food, toys, bedding and other items for the desk pet home.
By now you know that desk pets work well as a positive reinforcement strategy. But there are a few more creative ways that teachers are using desk pets in the classroom as well.
You can create a writing activity around desk pets. Have students write about the day in the life of their desk pet or a story of what their desk pet did before they became their pet. Students will enjoy writing about something that they love!
I created this fun set of printables to get you started with desk pets! You can find it in my Etsy shop here.
This printable set includes:
If I’ve convinced you to jump on this bandwagon then below check out the best miniature erasers for your classroom that you can get on Amazon.
If that last set just wasn’t quite enough for you, this one includes 62 little pets.
This one is fun because you can get a combo of small animal erasers and food too! There are 100 small erasers in this pack.
If you want to create a pet shop with extra items that your students can purchase, then check out below links to my favorite desk pet accessories.
This is a fun combo pack of 60 erasers, and it includes animals, food, toys and even musical instruments!
This pack has 60 small erasers and I love that it includes all that yummy food that will sure to be your students' favorites. Plus, it also includes some healthy food too!
Below check out some options to contain the animals. They come in different sizes so be sure to check the measurements.
DESK PET HOMES | WHERE TO FIND
ONE | 24 PACK CLEAR CONTAINERS
THREE | 12 COLORFUL CONTAINERS WITH LIDS
To start using desk pets in your classroom, begin by selecting small animal erasers. Introduce the concept to your students and create a set of criteria for earning desk pets and accessories.
These criteria can reinforce positive behaviors like staying on task, making a smooth transition, and working well with a partner. Consider using a punch card or desk pet money to help kids keep track of positive behavior.
Desk pets are an excellent positive reinforcement tool for primary classrooms, such as kindergarten through third grade. They help engage younger students and encourage them to develop good habits and behaviors during their early years of education.
Establishing rules for desk pets is an important part of your classroom management strategy. Here are some ideas for rules:
Creating a DIY desk pet container is a fun and easy project for your students. You can follow these simple steps:
I hope you like this fun idea of adding desk pets to your classroom this year. I really think it’ll make a memorable experience and will be so much fun for your students. If you like this post, click on the social icons below to share it on your favorite social or click on your favorite picture to save it to your Pinterest boards!
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