Uluru Camel Cup: Encouraging children’s interest in animals

There are so many benefits to encouraging children to have a healthy relationship with the natural world and this includes all types of animals. Australia has some of the most fascinating animals in the world and children often love learning facts about their colours, capabilities and habitats.

Now in its tenth year, the Uluru Camel Cup held from 28th – 30th May 2021 features these desert animals that most children can easily identify through the famous humps they have on their backs. The event is held in true Aussie outback style with lots of activities including a Camel Cup Calcutta and a Camel Cup Race Day.

Benefits of children being around animals

Children and animals have coexisted together since time began. It’s amazing to see certain animals interacting with babies, toddlers and even teenagers. Animals can often have an extremely calming effect on children, yet there are multiple other benefits including: 

  • Improving confidence: animals do not judge children and rarely offer negative feedback so they can be excellent for improving children’s confidence and encouraging them to try out new games or practice new skills like running or throwing.
  • Offering comfort: it’s been scientifically proven that animals can help to reduce stress levels, anxiety and even high blood pressure. It’s the same in young children – animals can be incredibly soothing and comforting in a busy and uncertain world.
  • Teaching empathy: the relationship between an animal and a child can be incredible. Animals can help to teach children to have empathy with others and to act with kindness to other beings. Providing care and positive attention for an animal is an excellent practice for any young child.
  • Encouraging respect: animals must be treated with respect and they’ll quickly make it known to a child if they are unhappy with certain behaviours. Healthy, respectful relationships with animals such as a pet dog or cat at home can be used as models for interacting with children and adults outside the home.
  • Understanding the circle of life: the birth, life, death or even reproducing of a pet or animal provides vital life lessons to children. When adults deal with these in a sensitive manner, children can learn a huge amount about the circle of life which many parents otherwise find hard to convey.
  • Teaching responsibility: if you have a pet, children will quickly learn that they require a certain amount of responsibility. For older children, they can be great for encouraging them to clean out cages, take them for walks or simply spend more time outside. For younger children, it can simply be the responsibility of being kind and gentle to something smaller than themselves.
  • Help with communication: many children like to read aloud to their pets at home and this could be down to the fact that they know an animal won’t judge or correct them. Similarly, if children have worries or concerns, they’ve often been found to confide in animals, which can help them to offload. Giving commands to a dog or finding a way to convey an instruction to an animal is also a useful skill for children to develop.

Engaging with the natural world

Children love specific activity filled events such as the Uluru Camel Cup – yet if you can’t get to the Northern Territory to watch this spectacle, don’t panic! 

Getting outside into nature is one of the best things you can do with children. Whether you live by the coast or inland, there will always be something to see. 

Waves at the beach, trees at the park, flowers by the side of the road, bird spotting from out of a window or reading about different animal habitats – it all adds up to children having an understanding of the natural world and the environment.