At The Art Farm NYC, we don’t promote childhood interaction with animals just because it’s fun for our guests. It certainly is, but it’s also a valuable way to help children reach developmental milestones and gain an appreciation of the natural world. In this post, you’ll learn about the connection between animal interaction and child development, and how The Art Farm NYC is fostering growth by providing children with educational, well-rounded classes that offer a break from city life.
Respect for Nature
We don’t get much exposure to nature here in the city. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons why we started offering classes for kids and built our indoor petting zoo. We saw that children in NYC didn’t have the opportunity to experience nature and all of its wonderful inhabitants on a regular basis, so we decided to bring nature to the city!
Up-close-and-personal experiences with animals broaden children’s experiential horizons and show them that the natural world is something to be respected and cared for. This is a lesson that’s extremely important and, unfortunately, extremely difficult to teach without direct access to animals.
Empathy for Others
If you’ve ever watched a child interact with animals you’ll notice that they’re instantly curious about them. In the process, they’re developing the ability to put themselves in the shoes of others and develop empathy. Empathy is one of the most important skills a child can develop, and introducing your child to animals at an early age is one of the best ways to help them develop a caring, empathetic attitude toward the natural world as a whole.
At one point or another, most children ask their parents for a pet. Maybe it’s a dog or a cat, or perhaps it’s an exotic animal from our petting zoo! No matter what your child is asking for, exposure to real-life animals is a great way to open the door to conversations about what it takes to actually care for a pet. In-person interactions show children that pets are living, breathing beings just like us, and that those beings deserve a high level of care. At The Art Farm NYC, we love helping children develop the skills necessary to become responsible pet owners!
Some children are, understandably, afraid of certain animals with which they haven’t had any prior experience. Visiting a petting zoo provides them with a safe, non-judgmental environment in which to confront that fear and develop a healthier relationship with those animals.
We never push children to interact with animals they’re afraid of, but we do encourage them to explore and become curious about the animals in our petting zoo, even if it’s from a distance. A small amount of time around an animal is, in many cases, the first step to dissolving that fear and becoming more comfortable around animals in general.
We believe that a love of lifelong learning is one of the most important skills we can teach to the children we serve. In one way or another, all of our classes and programs for kids are designed to spark curiosity about the world around us, especially in areas that vastly differ from the city. We try to provide children with opportunities to find inspiration and creativity in all of our classes, and a session in our programs might be just what it takes to inspire a future zoologist!
Come to The Art Farm NYC for a Class!
We hope that today’s post has helped you understand just how important and valuable animal interaction is for children’s development. We plan to continue discussing this topic in future posts, so be sure to come back to our blog in the coming weeks and months for additional information!
We’re also taking strict precautions to protect our guests and staff from COVID-19. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have about how we’re keeping our community safe.