Whats a desk pet shop? You may be saying to yourself, “Not only am I wondering what's a desk pet SHOP – but just WHAT is a DESK PET?”
Aha. Good question. If you aren't sure what a desk pet is…check out this post first!
Now, let's say that you DO know what a desk pet is. You are enjoying them, and your kids love them, but you're wondering what else you can do with these little animal erasers. I'm going to share my KIDS' current TOP 10 picks in my pet shop, give you a FREEBIE writing activity, and leave you with so many desk pet ideas that you'll be saying, “What AREN'T desk pets?” 😉
I originally learned about this from Hillary Kiser on IG. She was using them with her 4th graders – but I had NO idea if they would work with my five-year-olds. My ONLY regret is not knowing about these sooner. This is my third year to roll them out during the 4th quarter (that's a KEY component for kinder btw) and I can say that we are 3 for 3 in the “over-the-moon EXCITED” department. If you have a question about ANYTHING regarding desk pets – just drop it in the comment bar, and I'll be more than happy to give you my thoughts!
A Few Desk Pet Ideas for you
I talk about desk pets with my new kindergarteners during the FIRST WEEK of school. I let them know what they can look forward to by showing them a few pics from previous years. Then, I'm very clear about what a long-term goal is, how they can achieve this goal, and what it will look like once they achieve the goal…and let's just say that they are HOOKED.
If you want to try it out, and don't have pictures of your own to show your kids, feel free to use mine! You can just see their little wheels turning. They plot and plan through fall and winter, dreaming up what pet they will get, what they will name it, how they will decorate their home…it's endless!
The REASON I don't start the year with them is…well… if you've ever taught kindergarten – it's obvious. They just can't handle it yet.
1st-4th graders – I would think that you'd want to get the classroom expectations established for a few weeks at a minimum before you start. And to be honest, my kinders love their pets MORE since they've worked SO HARD for them. So, consider setting up a class goal before you just give them these little guys! I promise they will take WAY better care of them – and not destroy them within a week. (or hour – let's be honest…;) )
To read more about HOW desk pets can actually TEACH responsibility – read this!
Whats a desk pet shop?
When I present their pets to them, I also present them with a little home. Their home is a clear, plastic box with a hinged lid that I get off of Amazon. They love the clear boxes because they love to keep an eye on their pets – even when they are hanging out in the pet parking lot. (Yep – that's where they live overnight, or if they've become a distraction during work.) You can see examples of this as you scroll through these pics.
But – what do the pets eat? Wouldn't they like their home decorated? Maybe they'd like a pet friend or a hobby?
We have a school-wide behavior incentive system called “lion bucks”. Students can earn these bucks throughout the entire school for all kinds of awesome reasons – the cafeteria being a big one! Every Friday I let them spend their bucks in my “lion buck store”. (Think stuffie passes, pajama passes, lunch bunch, etc.)
Once we earn our desk pets as a class, my “lion buck store” turns into my “DESK PET SHOP”!
Here are the TOP 10 things my kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to buy from my shop. Yes, there are some things I buy off of Amazon and pick up at The Dollar Store or Target, but a LOT of these things you may already have lying around. Get creative – look in your arts and crafts bins at school. Ask your art teacher or your parents if they have anything to donate.
Some of my parents will send in a $10 Target or Amazon card – or will send in something they've spotted in the dollar bins. So…let's get started!
My Desk Pet SHOP MENU
As you can see here – it's not fancy. I sometimes throw a sale to mix it up a bit – or if I know they haven't had as much opportunity to earn bucks that week.
What if they really want an item, have been saving up, and are just a few bucks short? I think of a job they can do to earn some moo-lah! For instance – hand them a wipe and see how dirty they can get it! (I teach in a very old, historical building – and the amount of dust that can show up is mind-blowing) Also – you are teaching that wonderful thing that is character building – get paid for a job well done!
10 TOp Desk Pet Ideas to shop for
Whats a desk pet gonna eat? LOTS of little food of course! There are TONS of options out there. Some of my favorites are on Amazon – you can find them by clicking any picture. The little mini erasers are practically everywhere these days. I charge less for the “little food” than the “big food”. The big food is pretty much the size of the pet – but hey…we make it work. Some of the other things in these bulk eraser packs might be hobbies (see the bowling pins with the polar bear?) or transportation. In the last pack I bought off of Amazon, it included pets as well as things like a jam box, headphones, and some holiday decorations! Those went FAST. 😉
FUR & FELT
The shag rugs…slay me quite honestly. I used to buy a square of it and then just trim it down, but then found this EXCELLENT roll on Amazon! (click the pic and it will take you to my store) It comes in plenty of colors and is the PERFECT size for the homes. You just roll a small piece off and ta-dah! They love felt pieces for rugs, blankets, yoga mats…you name it, they imagine it! And there is usually a whole backstory too!
Make-up sponges (or sponges)
Ok, this item also gives me the giggles and brings me GREAT joy. It is one of THE MOST POPULAR items. It is usually one of the first go-to choices. Make-up sponges. Get a bag that has multiple sizes and shapes and colors – and you will see rugs, pillows, beanbag chairs, and even pool floats come to life. I'm sure you could also cut up kitchen sponges – but these are pretty perfect!
Polaroid stickers (or decorative stickers)
I ordered a pack of these stickers that are technically for those mini polaroid camera pics. You peel off the center (seen here in their homes), and then you have a frame to put on the polaroid pic. I bought a pack of 100 – I've had it for 3 years and never run out. They LOVE them. They will sometimes put up and say they are “hanging art” or putting up a poster for their pet. Sometimes they want to stick it on the floor as a rug or play mat. They even like to buy multiples and put one on the top of their home, so when it's closed there is a cool sticker. Any sticker will do – but these have a LONG life, and a pack of 100 is around $10.
Side note – that little black “home” in the pic above? I found them in the dollar bins at Target and bought a bunch. They started buying them as a “vacation home” – more on that later. Also…note that little pink felt piece that I fringed the edges…that's a beach towel. 😉
Scrap material (quilting squares work too!)
Scrap material is also an easy thing that goes a LONG, long, long way. This year I found little rolls at the dollar store (see the butterfly print above), and it will be way more than enough to get me through the year, and probably next. For $5 I got a bright green, a charcoal plaid, a bright rubix cube pattern, and the butterflies. So far the “rubix cube blankets” have been selling like hotcakes. 😉
You could order quilting squares, find them at a craft store, or you may even have old blankets or sheets at home you could use. Goodwill would probably have some GREAT scores!
Mini Books (either buy off amazon or make!)
Ok, this was quite possibly one of the sweetest moments of the first year I had desk pets. A kindergartener MADE MINI BOOKS for each pet. Yep. My eyes leaked a little. It was the sweetest thing. Little, stapled books that they would then create for their pets. I would catch them quietly talking to their pets at their desk, doing a whisper read-aloud, and pointing out words to their pets.
Seriously. I mean…come on with the cuteness.
I also found these TINY books already made on Amazon that I put into my pet store. They are a lot smaller than the ones in the pictures above – more pet-sized. But they will sell like crazy.
Whats a dollhouse have to do with a desk pet? Quite a bit! The dollhouse accessories are a PERFECT fit for desk pets! I don't have these items all the time – but when I do – they sell instantly.
plastic bins aka vacation homes
I mentioned vacation homes above – and that is definitely something I have from time to time. It depends on what I've stumbled across at Target or the Dollar Store. But an idea that I'm kind of crazy about, is to have a fenced-in yard! (ha ha!!) Yep, I'm laughing as I type this – but get a mini plastic bin, slats are ideal as it looks like a fence, and lay down some green felt, green fur, or even green ‘fairy grass' and then they can have some desk pet playdates! The hobbies they buy would be perfect for this too. 😉
Drink umbrellas or cupcake toppers
On the last full day of school, my entire classroom turns into…PET TOWN. I move tables back, and they turn legos and cardboard boxes into buildings – I simply have to do an entire blog post on this alone as you won't believe their creativity. But – I have a paint tray that has dried paint in it still, from painting the bathroom in my classroom. It's a bright turquoise. But to the pets…it's…a POOL of course. You'll see them floating on their make-up sponges, and who wouldn't want a pool umbrella to shade the sun?
Uh-huh. You know they'll love it. My sister and I were obsessed with these when we'd come across them. My parents used to bring them back to us from their fancy drinks on my dad's work trips. Start paying attention to cupcake toppers too – I bet the desk pets would LOVE them. 😉
Nametags or labels
And finally – good ole trusty nametags. They LOVE to name their pets. Maybe they want this on the bottom of their home – or the top! They love it when I write their name “fancy” – so let them pick out a color, their favorite flair pen, and write Wolverine the Frog, Brownie the Pig, or Fiesty the Dolphin on the label. They'll LOVE IT. (Yes – these are all current names of desk pets in my room.)
Got any desk pet ideas? Got questions? Leave them below!
Ok – so now you should have a great start to opening your very own DESK PET SHOP! My kids love their desk pets so much, that I created a little “ALL ABOUT ME” – for the pets! This freebie is for grades K-4 (or heck, even 5 & 6!) All prompts have dotted or regular lines. Print the cover, and you have yourself a little keepsake book!
Bonus…you can get some good writing practice in.
So, what's a desk pet? AWESOME. A desk pet is AWESOME.