Animal-friendly alternatives

There are a whole host of fantastic ideas for children’s parties that don’t involve animals at all. Magicians, performers, puppet shows, pool parties and traditional party games are all great ways to entertain youngsters. But if you want something specifically tailored to the young animal lover in your family, or if you want an activity for your class which is fun but educational, why not choose from some of the following ideas?

If you are a teacher or group leader, you can also download our free teaching packs for a great curriculum-based alternative to live animal shows.

Become a wildlife detective!

Nature reserve1Get outdoors in the fresh air and explore the local wildlife of your nearest nature reserve or wild area. If you have a back garden, you can even start there! Insects, birds, amphibians and mammals are all around us; we just need to look for them. There are a fantastic range of books, games, equipment and even mobile phone apps which can help to make an afternoon searching for wildlife rewarding, exciting and educative.

Create your own wild space!

If you don’t have a wild space near you, then why not create one! Even if you live in an apartment with no outside space, you can create a window box which will encourage birds and insects to visit you. Each child can make their own window box, bird or bug house and take it home with them. Not only will this be great fun to do, but will create a lasting home for wildlife!

Educational talks from an animal charity (no live animals required!)


This activity is particularly good for school groups! Many animal or conservation charities offer school talks, youth group presentations or activities with other groups of young people. Combining exciting activities and great opportunities for education, your children will have fun, learn and perhaps even build a lasting connection with a charitable cause. It may take a little research to find the right talk for you but it will be worth it! Be sure that the talks do not include live animals before booking!

Animal fancy dress!

You don’t need live animals when you have a room full of little monkeys! Why not have an animal-themed fancy dress party where each child becomes their favourite animal? Animal themed games and prizes will add to the excitement.

A great film or documentary


If you have time to plan ahead, keep an eye out for screenings of nature films at cinemas near to you. Teachers may want to see what is coming up during the year and plan a class trip to see a really great nature documentary. With increasingly technical and advanced filming techniques, the learning opportunities are immense. Particularly good for older children but there are an increasing number of animated films which deal with important animal and conservation issues aimed at younger audiences.

Animal face painting!

Perfect to go with a fancy dress theme you can either hire an entertainer to paint faces at your child’s party or, if you have an artistic flair, you can have a go yourself!

Balloon animals!

A party classic and sure to delight younger children! Instead of live animals, go for balloon animals that everyone can take home with them!

Story time

A good book

Tried, tested and loved. Many people develop love and respect for animals by learning about them in books. Don’t overlook this simple and effective way to teach your child about the natural world!

Teaching packs

Thanks to SoWhatUK, we are able to offer a range of free teaching packs all about conservation and some of the world’s most fascinating animals. Curriculum-based and suitable for children aged 7-11, these packs can be used by teachers and group leaders as an animal-friendly alternative to booking a live animal event. 

Have a look what is available HERE and start planning your exciting animal-friendly lessons!