What Pet Should I Get? Decision Making and Graphing with Preschoolers

by Meghan

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In 2013, a box of Ted Geisel’s work was rediscovered by his widow and longtime secretary.  In that box, they found the nearly complete text and illustrations for What Pet Should I Get?, released just last week by Random House.

It quickly became the #1 best selling book on Amazon – and not just for Children’s Books – ALL books!  No surprise – it is already a hit in our house too.  The Ms have asked me to read it at least once (if not 3-4 times) every single day since I brought it home.

It tells the tale of a brother and sister sent to the pet shop to pick out a pet.  Surrounded by all sorts of animals, including a few fanciful creatures we’ve all come to love and expect from Dr. Seuss works, they must decide on just one.  The story ends with them leaving with an unseen pet in a basket, leaving it up to the readers to determine what pet they selected.  This week, Big M, my almost 4 year old, and I have used the book to explore decision making and graphing. Grab your FREE printable graph to go with the story at the end of this post.

What Pet Should I Get - Decision Making and Graphing

Decision Making and Graphing with Preschoolers

The plot and open-ended conclusion of What Pet Should I Get? provides a great launching point for talking about decision making with young children.  Increasing in independence and developing their own opinions and personalities, preschoolers often feel empowered when given the opportunity to make decisions for themselves, even if you are pre-defining the options.

The end of the story begs the question, “What pet do you think they got?”  Big M immediately declared it to be a dog, while Lil’ M changes her answer with every reading.  I asked them if we were picking out a pet for our family, how we could decide?  Big M thought we should all vote.  In a preschool classroom, this would make for a great group activity, plotting everyone’s choice in a bar graph.  However, since there were only two kids in our house to vote, we made it into a bit more of a game, using a die, which has become a new favorite thing since we played our Crown Jewels game last week.


In addition to reading the book, for our graphing game, we used a few simple, additional supplies.


Learning Resources Domestic Animals
What Pet Should I Get? Printable Graph

Cost: $20 for animals (or use paper cut-outs for free)
Prep Time:
Less than 5 minutes

Clean-Up Time: Less than 5 minutes

Download your FREE printable graph at the end of this post!

Making Our Bar Graph

After reading the story, we put all 6 animals in our set (dog, cat, guinea pig, bird, rabbit and fish) into a basket.  Big M rolled the die 4 times.  She pulled out as many animals as she rolled each time, and colored a box for the appropriate animal in her graph.

The first time, she rolled a 3 and pulled the rabbit, parrot and guinea pig from the basket.  I had to show her how to color one box for each of the animals selected the first time, but she quickly caught on.

After 4 rolls, we discussed the outcome.  We talked about which animal was selected the most, and which was selected the least, or fewest, number of times.  Then, I had her circle all the ones that were selected the same number of times.

What Pet Should I Get - Discussing Bar Graph

Finally, I asked her what pet she would want to get?  And despite it having one of the least picks in our game, she chose the fish!  Given our move this month, and new baby due a month later, there are no plans for any pets in our near-future… but the girls sure do love carrying around the ones from our game!

Get Your Printable Graph for Preschoolers

You can download your FREE printable graph to use alongside Dr. Seuss’ What Pet Should I Get? directly from our Printables store. Note this is a virtual product for download only. Complete the checkout process, and download your file from the order confirmation page.

Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

Want more Dr. Seuss fun? Make your own Cat in the Hat hat to celebrate Read Across America Day!

Are you a Dr. Seuss fan? Have you read the new Dr. Seuss book yet?  The end of the book also includes an awesome write-up about Dr. Seuss, his love of pets, and his writing process. And great news… there are at least two more works to be published from the materials discovered!

What Pet Should I Get - Graphing and Decision Making

Don’t miss these other great What Pet Should I Get? activities from our friends!

Match the Pet! Preschool Learning Activity by Sunny Day Family

What Pet Should I Get? A Read Aloud from Our Good Life

What Pet Should I Get Guessing Game by Munchkins and Moms

What Pet Should I Get? Book Activity from Mom Inspired Life

What Pet Should I Get? Paper Plate Pets by Crafty Kids at Home

You can find all of these, as well as all our book-inspired activities on our Read! Read! Read! board on Pinterest.

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6 Activities for Kids Inspired by Dr. Seuss - What Pet Should I Get

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Nicola August 6, 2015 - 2:07 pm

A great idea! I need to try this with my daughter who is a big pets fan!

Mary Wright August 6, 2015 - 10:15 am

One of my kindergarteners’ favorite unit is Pets. They get to sign up for a 15 minute time to share a pet that their parent brings from home. This past year we had a chicken, ferret and dogs as well as cats. The graph for What Let Would You Get? Is awesome. Miss that don’t have a pet can bring a stuffed one or a picture from a magazine. Hyper pets can be shared via an emailed video or picture. So much fun and learning: responsibility, animal groups, baby and mommy names I.e. dog- puppy. I love this unit if study. Plus can have a vet visit your classroom and talk about safety around unknown pets.


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