The Perfect Pet Lesson Plan

The Perfect Pet

Created by Elana Himmelfarb, 2016


Applies to: Relationships, Understanding and Participating in Community, Self-Awareness, Critical Thinking

Purpose: Relationship-building, Activating Creativity


  1. Reflect on the personalities, needs, strengths and challenges of fellow 3LPlace members
  2. Vocabulary – building and applying descriptive language
  3. Visualizing & Verbalizing – using images to display meaning, verbalizing thoughts and opinions
  4. Creativity – creating visual representations from ideas, brainstorming
  5. Using humor to deepen connection and relational understanding
  6. Critical/Higher Order Thinking – idea-generation, symbolic thinking, analysis, parts-to-whole thinking, drawing conclusions
  7. Self-reflection and reflecting on others
  8. Following directions and guidelines
  9. Self-Management –maintaining regulation, sustaining participation & engagement

Materials needed:

  • One large poster board or a bulletin board for display
  • Markers, scissors
  • Computer & printer, internet access
  • List of descriptive terms for members (in case of difficulty generating words)
  • List of a wide animals (in case of difficulty generating ideas)

Activity Steps

  1. Set Climate and establish goal: Using our imagination to pick the perfect pet for each member
  2. Have each member (including group leader) share what pets they have had. Share what they liked and did not like about the pet.
  3. Generate a list of why people get pets (assistance, company, comfort, security, entertainment, etc.)
  4. Ask what the most unusual personal pet is they have seen someone have, write down. Discuss the benefits and challenges to those unusual pets
  5. To generate creativity, imagery and higher order thinking, go online and look at internet pictures and videos Top 10 Peculiar Pets and/or videos.
  6. Have each participant vote about whether they would want each of the unusual pet examples
  7. Go around the room and have the group decide what is the perfect pet for each member (including group leader) based on the following criteria: personality (try to generate 3-5 adjectives), strengths (2-3 things does well), challenges (2-3 things they need help with) and interests (2-3 things they love to do), what that person wants in a pet (reference what was discussed in step #3). They can pick a pet from the video, but offer up a wider variety of animals to consider (octopus, skunk, snake, monkey, etc.) so they don’t simply duplicate what they saw.
  8. Find an image online for each person’s Perfect Pet, print up, post on board under their name

Tips & Discussion Points:

  • Pull up images of every animal discussed to strengthen visualization
  • Suggest outrageous pet examples to increase humor, raise affect and provide contrast
  • For all discussion, write key words on a white board (for #2 and #7, write key words under each person’s name) to support thought organization, memory and to review at the end of the session


Carrying the concept forward:

  • Explore all the different types of assistance animals and the skills they can be trained to do
  • Watch videos of strange animal companions
  • Come up with fictional animals each would want as a pet (video games, movies, cartoons, etc.)
  • Watch videos of people and their odd pets
  • Go to the zoo, play with what it would be like to have some of the animals there as pets
  • If you could give pets human qualities, what would you want yours to be able to do? (talk, drive, clean my room, tell jokes, etc.)
  • Do an art project to visually represent or write a funny story about the members and their perfect pets
  • Get stuffed animals for each member of their Perfect Pet
  • Assign Perfect Pets to other 3LPlace staff, family members or favorite fictional characters


3LPlace Curriculum Wiki