In the mid-’90S, Japanese toymaker Bandai pioneered the first-ever handheld digital or “virtual” pet. Tamagotchi started on tiny keychain devices as a virtual egg that owners hatched and nurtured into adulthood by offering food and care. Owners were periodically reminded to feed it, play with it, and even clean up its waste. Assuming you were a diligent pet owner, Tamagotchi stayed happy and healthy for the entirety of its programmed lifespan. It was the perfect toy to help kids learn about caring for a pet without the responsibility of owning a live animal. Your students can learn the same kind of caring and compassion for animals in the classroom today. Virtual pet apps on smart phones have vastly improved — owners can interact with pets in a multitude of ways. Here are a few ideas.
Dog Town: Pet Simulation Game (iOS and Android)
Feed your pets to level them up and send them on unique adventures. Explore a pet world where your dogs can live and happily wag their tails.
My Tamagotchi Forever (iOS and Android)
Your Tamagotchi character needs your daily care to stay healthy and happy. Keep it well fed, washed and entertained, and meet other Tamagotchi friends in town for more fun.
Talking Tom Cat 2 (iOS and Android)
Talk to Talking Tom, play with him, poke him, and dress him in cool outfits. Customize his home. Make funny videos and share them with your friends.
Are your students interested in tracking real animals? Another way to engage them about animal needs and development is through live cams. Many zoos and aquariums offer live streams of their animal tanks, cages and habitats. Designate a few minutes each day or week to check in on your classroom’s favorite wild animals.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
San Diego Zoo