PETS, Animals & Insects

One of the issues we currently face is the dramatic bio-diversity damage that humans have caused. We build towns and cities, make roads and car parks, dig into land and under the sea, damage corals, burn and cut forests down, desertify large areas, make land and sea radioactive, produce new organisms, transport foreign species that may overtake local nature, and so on.

Perhaps if we can teach our youngest children to care for animals, insects and plants, they will do better than we have done. I do hope it’s not too late for them to turn things around, and I do believe that every little thing that each of us does can help.

Pets in a day nursery need to be big enough to withstand little uncoordinated treatments, here are a few examples of pets that Tops Day Nurseries have had within their settings:

Guinea pigs

Guinea Pigs are great because they communicate verbally and we can see and hear when they are happy or distressed.


They aren’t verbal but they are that much bigger and can be easier to tame and cuddle, and they can even be toilet trained to use an outside area rather than inside.

Giant African land snails

They are huge (for snails), easy to look after and they breed when they are happy and properly fed so you can spread the love – all the nursery rooms can have giant snails!

NB: Giant African land snails are considered to be an invasive species that could significantly affect the ecosystem of your local area if released into the wild, decimating greenery and removing food sources from our native snails. 


Goldfish are easy to look after and pretty; children find them calming to watch and like feeding them

Chickens and ducks

Domesticated fowl are great for observing the life cycle from eggs to chicks/ducklings and to fully grown hens/ducks.


Another of nature’s wonders that young children love to observe is the life cycle of the frog – and each spring several of our nurseries collect frogspawn or tadpoles from local ponds, bring them up, and release them back as frogs in the same pond.

A helping hand for nature – if left in the pond only around one in 50 frogspawn eggs will survive into adulthood due to predation. In many areas of the countryside frogs have completely disappeared due to agricultural pesticides, draining of wetland habitats and filling-in of small ponds.


Children are naturally curious, and it is important for us to nurture this interest. Outside in the garden we have the opportunity to watch insects. Many staff are unfamiliar with the names of the insects or their habits so it is an opportunity for everyone to learn.

Some children may go on to develop hobbies or professions based around insects and lifecycles, which can all start in a nursery garden studying the bugs they find in the bug hotel, or in the flower beds, under logs and bricks.

If parents allow, you should try and implement trips to meadows, forests, streams, and the beach to really experience nature.