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Early Years Calendar - International Cat Day 2021

Created 19 years ago in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, International Cat Day celebrates our feline friends and acknowledges what we can be doing to protect them. Cats are incredible animals and have become part of many families. They are intelligent, nimble and hilarious all at the same time and are adored by many.

Children especially love animals and enjoy learning about them, so here are some fun ways they can get involved this August 8th to acknowledge just how special cats are:

Photographer: Amber Kipp | Source: Unsplash

· Make a Mask

Using paper plates, paint and triangular card cut outs (for the ears), support children to make their own cat masks. Photographs of real cats can be provided to show children how diverse and beautiful cats are with their varying colours and patterns. Pieces of string can be added for whiskers and adult assistance will be needed to cut out holes for the eyes.

· Everybody Wants to be a Cat

Encourage the children to get moving in this physical activity. For this one, children need to try and move like a cat. They can express their own ideas of how cats walk, jump and stretch, or videos of cats can be played for children to mimic. Use a selection of words to describe their movements to support language development; for example, slow, swift, agile, sneaky.

Photographer: Zdeněk Macháček | Source: Unsplash

· Big Cats

As well as our domesticated felines, children should learn about the vast types of cats that live in the wild. Most will be familiar with lions and tigers, but what about cheetahs, jaguars, snow leopards and cougars? Find some books or images of the big cats that children might not be aware of and educate them about their names and habitats.

· Nine Lives

Cats are notorious for having nine lives, so many activities can be done focusing on the number nine, considering the children’s ages and abilities. Children can be supported to find nine items (such as nine flowers outside), they can try and count independently to nine, they might try and stand on one leg for nine seconds or collectively try and think of nine words that start with the letter ‘C’.

Photographer: Yerlin Matu | Source: Unsplash

· Pets at Home

If children are able to communicate back and forth, have a discussion with them about what pets they have at home. Some might have cats, others might have dogs, and some won’t have any. Their answer is not the focus here; rather, developing their language skills and helping them to think about what is unique to their home life. Practitioners should also share their own experiences to set an example for the children, being enthusiastic to share information about any pets they have (or had) and articulating themselves appropriately.