Let's face it: young children are awfully cute, but they can be pretty self-absorbed. As with all skills, learning empathy takes practice—the more, the better.
One of the best ways to get kids thinking beyond themselves is through their relationships with animals. Kids everywhere love pets—both the real and stuffed varieties—and this deep connection often represents the first real opportunity to practice caretaking behaviors that nurture empathy and burgeoning social skills. Pets Unleashed channels this natural affinity for animals into an immersive environment designed to inspire open-ended, empathy-building play.
Little ones will be wide-eyed with wonder when they enter this fantastical pet paradise. Filled with climbable dwellings, caretaking props, wearable animal accessories, movable structures, and "pets" of all types and sizes, this exhibit provides a platform for boundless self-expression and imaginative play.
Kids can brush, feed, bath, bandage, and otherwise care for their "pets." Or they can be a pet and experience life from an animal's perspective. Whatever roles they choose, Pets Unleashed offers a pathway to developing compassion, empathy and respect, for others and themselves.
Pets Unleashed will be open at Chicago Children's Museum through May 1.
Support for Pets Unleashed is generously provided by South Loop Animal Hospital.
Meet and greet a furry friend! Thanks to our partnership with The Anti-Cruelty Society, you can interact with a real dog or guinea pig each week in the Pets Unleashed exhibit.
Expertise and program support provided by:
The Impact of Social-Emotional Skills on Academic Success
How “Soft Skills” Learned in Childhood Prevent Hard Problems Later
Unexpected Developmental Benefits of Having a Pet
How Pets Instill Compassion and Integrity