Critter Camp Lesson Plan

Grade level
All grades

Character Concepts Taught
Responsibility and Critical Thinking


  1. Students will learn about the 5 Freedoms that every animal is entitled to under human care
  2. Students will apply the 5 Freedoms to their foster pet and take responsibility for it’s needs

Materials Needed (included in the bag)

  1. Posters (optional)
  2. Craft supplies (optional)

Lesson Procedure

Ask students to give you examples of things they need to be happy and healthy. After students have covered everything (food, water, shelter, love, medical care, exercise, etc.) ask them what it means to be responsible for a pet. When you have a pet, is that animal able to get itself everything it needs to be happy and healthy or do they need our help?

Explain to students that there are 5 things every animal deserves to be happy and healthy, these 5 things are called the 5 Freedoms. Review the 5 Freedoms with students.

The Five Freedoms

The 5 freedoms are a set of internationally recognized animal welfare standards. They outline what we as responsible pet owners must provide. They are not just things we want to do for our animals, but also things we must do in order to keep our animals healthy and happy.

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst: by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor. Every animal must always have access to clean, fresh water. A sufficient amount of food must be provided to your pet to help keep it in good health and also at a healthy weight.
  2. Freedom from discomfort: by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. Having an appropriate shelter for your pet is very important. If you are caring for an animal that lives outdoors, the shelter you provide must be weather proof, free from drafts, wind, rain and excessive heat from the sun. Dogs must be able to stand up and comfortably be able to turn around in their kennel. Make sure your pet has a warm, comfortable place to live.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease: by prevention through rapid diagnosis and treatment. It is very important to know signs of illness in your pet. The number one sign of illness in animals is acting lethargic, tired or sluggish. Another way to help your pet is by keeping their environment clean and free from any hazards that might cause injury.
  4. Freedom to express normal behavior: by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind. Knowing your pet’s normal behavior comes easy when you give it a lot of attention and spend lots of quality time with it. Just like people, animals can get bored and lonely. Providing things like a cat tree for your cat to climb or access to a window to watch the birds would be a great example of this. Toys are also a great way to keep your pet mentally stimulated!
  5. Freedom from fear and distress: by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering. All animals deserve to be happy so give them lots of love. Ensuring conditions that avoid unnecessary anxiety and stress will help to provide freedom from mental suffering. Remember, you mean the world to your pet, always strive to make them feel as special as they make you feel!


  1. Split kids into 5 groups.
  2. Assign each group a different freedom.
  3. Ask students to research their freedom and come up with ways to meet it for their specific critter camp animal. (Students are more than welcome to make posters for each to hang up in the classroom as a reminder)
  4. When the ARL comes to bring the animal, the groups will present their freedoms to show that they have done the research and are responsible enough to care for the pet while it’s in the classroom.


Explain that a lot of research needs to go into getting a pet. We always want to meet the 5 Freedoms of any animal in our care. In order to do that, we need to know what makes them happy, healthy and comfortable in their environment. Tell the children that they are playing a crucial role in getting this pet adopted. Explain that sometimes, when an animal’s freedoms are not met, it can cause them to develop behavior issues which can make them less adoptable.


Brainstorm ways to promote your classroom pet! (examples: blogging, making adoption posters to hang in the community, word of mouth, etc.)