Something's Fishy! Teaching Kids About Pets

Who knew getting Alec a fish tank for his birthday would lead to so many great learning opportunities?

I knew pets were great for kids.  I even knew they were educational.  I just never really thought about just how much we'd learn by getting some fish!

My boys have always wanted more pets and Alec in particular has been begging for something he could keep in his room and have a pet of his own.  After looking at all our options we chose fish; thinking they would be fairly cheap and easy.

It didn't dawn on me until last night when we were sitting there at the computer just how involved we were getting with the whole thing.  In order to fit a tank in his room we first had to clear off a space in his room. We then used a tape measure to see what size tank would fit where we cleared it off.  I asked Alec to help me figure out the volume of his tank so we worked together to find the area multiplying 18x14.  Then we multiplied that answer by the height he was hoping for-- 20.  He told me that he just had to multiply the first answer by 2 and add a zero to the end since multiplying by 20 would be like multiplying by 10.  Once we had our total cubic volume we looked up on Google how many gallons of water that would hold.  We discovered he was looking at a 10-20 gallon tank size depending on what we would find at the stores. (So much MATH!)

Alec and I then spent the next 30 minutes or so reading up on starter tanks, taking care of fish, keeping the tank clean, checking the Ph level's, and more.  He had lots of questions and we talked about the responsibility of owning any pet.  We discussed proper feeding and nutrition.  We discussed keeping the fish calm, happy and stress free.  We read up on what types of fish make good pets, what types of fish prefer to live in schools and tried to look up how many fish can safely live in one tank. (Reading)

We headed to the store and he picked out his tank, the stones he wanted, a few decorations and plants.  We looked at the fish but knew we needed to set up the tank first before adding any live animals to it.  We spent the morning washing off all the stones and plants and getting the tank just right.  It took him a very long time to get everything just where he wanted it.  He wants the fish to feel safe and secure and have a lot of hiding places.  He used different voices and acted out different scenarios in his tank.  When he was sure that everything was just the way he wanted it we started slowly and carefully putting water in the tank being careful not to disturb any of the stones or plants.  He called his brothers in to see the final project once he had turned on the lights and shut the curtains.  We read all the care tips included with the tank and he's already asking so many questions about when to feed the fish, how much to feed them, how to know if they're getting enough food. (Science)

All set and we're just waiting 24 hours to get some fish in it! 



  1. I love this post! It's so important to teach kids about pets rather than just get them one! Will Pin this post even if I have to create a new category for it.

    1. Thank you! I ended up pinning it under parenting...


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