Animal Service Projects, Animals, Book Corner, Kindness, Seasonal

The Iditarod with Kids

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March is one of my family’s favorite months of the year.  This is because we LOVE to follow the Iditarod.  What is the Iditarod you ask? The Iditarod is a 938 mile, Alaskan sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome.  Mushers take teams of 16 dogs on an 8-15 day race through the Alaskan wilderness.  This race commemorates Balto and the great Serum Race that happened in 1925.  The Great Serum Race involved many mushers and dog teams in a relay to deliver medicine to Nome to battle a diphtheria outbreak.

The Iditarod started in 1973 to keep the sport of sled dog racing alive.  Dogs and mushers  all test their strength and ability during the race and try to be the first to cross through the arch in Nome. Animal safety is of the utmost importance during the Iditarod and all animals are checked carefully at each checkpoint by veterinarians.  Mushers develop such tight bonds with their teams of dogs and most of them treat their dogs like family.

This year over 50 teams will leave on March 2nd for the Ceremonial Start from Anchorage.  This part of the race is broadcast for FREE on the Iditarod website.  The official start happens on March 3rd.  My children and I will be glued to the GPS tracker on the Iditarod website, as we follow our favorite Mushers through the race.

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In honor of the Iditarod, we wanted to share some of our favorite Animal Service Projects (click on the picture above) and our family’s favorite Iditarod books.  Click on the book pictures below to learn more.

Iditarod Books

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This is my FAVORITE Iditarod book of all time.  I have read this book so many times and still cry at the end.  This book is about a teamwork, determination and the love and trust between animals and humans.  This story is sure to have you cheering on Akiak and would be perfect for children ages 3 and up.

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This book was written by Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985.  This book is the true, historic story of that race and includes photographs and beautiful illustrations.  Storm Run is an inspirational story of a determined woman and her beloved dog team, who fought their way to victory.  I would recommend this book for anyone ages 4 and up.

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This is another great Iditarod story that puts you on the trail with the dogs and musher.  This book was written by Shelly Gill, who was the fifth woman to ever complete the Iditarod.  This book is based off of her experience and is filled with the action that these teams face on the trail.  This book would be great for children ages 3 and up.


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The Iditarod race commemorates the Great Serum Race from 1925 where mushers and dog teams set up a relay to get medicine to Nome for a diphtheria outbreak.  The hero of the Great Race is Balto.  You can learn more about his brave story and of the Great Serum Race is in this book.  This book would be great for ages 5 and up.

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Jack and Annie fans will love this tale of Balto, the famous sled dog.  We are BIG Magic Treehouse fans in this house and this book was exciting from start to end.  Magic Treehouse books are fun and engaging ways for children to learn about historic times.  This book and the rest of the series would be great for children ages 5 and up.

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This great book will bring you behind the scenes of the life of an Iditarod sled dog.  You will learn about their training, their care, their determined spirits and the love and trust they share with their human mushers.  These dogs are some of the most athletic animals in the world and this book is filled with dog facts and beautiful photographs.  This book would be great for ages 3 and up.  Younger listeners will enjoy the pictures and a brief summary of the text.

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to our charity of the season.  You can see the current charity on our Book Corner page.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)  

 

 

Animal Service Projects, Animals, Kindness, Quick Service Projects, Service Projects for Families

Animal Service Projects

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Contact your local SPCA and Humane Society to see if they have any projects that you and your family can participate in.  Here are some suggestions from our local branch.

Host a Fundraiser–A lemonade stand is a great way for kids to raise money to support the animal shelters in your area.  Our center will even allow families to sign up for a date and time to host the lemonade stand at the center.  Other fundraiser ideas are bake sales, change drives or make and sell homemade dog treats and cat toys.

Make Blankets or Cat Toys--Many shelters are looking for 2x3ft  fleece blankets for the dog cages.  Children can easily make tie blankets following these directions (keep in mind that these dog blankets will be much smaller).  Catnip socks are another easy project that kids can work on to deliver to the local shelter.  Here are the directions for catnip socks.  Here is a link to order catnip in bulk.

Organize a Food and Supply Drive–Most shelters have a wishlist of supplies that they are in need of.  Work as a family to organize a pet food and supply drive. Make collection boxes and ask local businesses to put them out for you.  Create fliers to hang up around town, write a letter to the editor in the newspaper and have parents announce the drive through email and social media.

Host a Birthday Party to Benefit the Shelter–Have your child help you to create an animal themed birthday party to celebrate their birthday.  Instead of gifts, have each party guest bring a donation for the animal shelter.  After the party, create a special moment for your child to deliver the donations to the shelter.

Volunteer Your Time--Many shelters have opportunities for families and older children to volunteer their time.  Our shelter has family days once a month where children and a caregiver can sign up to volunteer.  They also have programs for teens to volunteer weekly in the center.  Check out your local shelter and see if there is a way that you and your family can donate your time.

What service projects can you recommend to fellow animal lovers? 

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the image of the books above you will be taken to Amazon.  20% of all profits made through this site will be donated to LOVE Does.  Thank you for supporting our site and a very noble charity.)