Pretend Play Veterinarian

Any age can pretend play animal hospital doctor or veterinarian.  Use your love for animals and let my 3 p’s of pretend play — props, plan and play — guide your make-believe time into a delightful journey of imagination.


– stuffed animals
– pillows and blankets
– band-aids of all sizes
– doctor’s kit
- lab coat or large white shirt
– clipboards
– paper, pencils
– needle and thread for older kids to sew up holes

. . . and next time you’re at the pediatrician, ask for gloves and a surgical mask for your doctor’s kit


Watch as Tom takes his dog to the veterinarian in this kid friendly video.  As you watch, listen for new vocabulary words the animal doctor does in her job.  Read books about animals and veterinarians.  Look up information about real veterinarians.

Make a waiting room and hospital rooms.  Have a clipboard sign in sheet for the patient and owners.   Use the pillows for hospital beds.


Now that you know what an animal doctor does, use your imagination with your own stuffed animals to give check ups, diagnosis and treat your animal patients. You have the knowledge and the props to imagine wonderful scenarios and include many friends in this fun pretend play activity.

Imaginative play benefits kids.  And, I don’t think it’s so bad for us adults.  Do you?


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  • Whitney Trujillo

    That is such a cute idea!

  • Elise

    In our house we love letting our imagination take us on all sorts of adventures and to places far and near.

    I like your 3 p’s idea.

  • Dawn R. Morris

    Yes, the 3 p’s idea is great! And I love how you added the book connection. Maybe you could add a 4th p for picture books, and even a 5th p for pictures (they could draw the animals and the story too). You’ve combined so many aspects of literacy here – listening, speaking, reading, writing, and creative thinking – as well as science. I love it!

    My children used to love to play with Beanie Babies all the time. They’re past the stuffed animal stage now, but thank you so much for stirring up so many pleasant memories. These are great suggestions. Thanks!

  • Melissa Taylor

    Thanks, Dawn, I love your ideas. (As always.)

  • Ilene Fine

    Picture books, especially where animals are concerned, are a great way to teach children how to care for animals or learn about the responsibility of having a pet. If the books about animals have tie-in toys all the better since it encourages the reading of the books and makes it easier for children to make up their own stories about the characters. The veterinarian idea is fantastic.

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  • jojoebi

    Looks like your vet will need some play x-rays, I made some for my boy, big hit. Don’t think giraffe was impressed though! There is a tutorial on my blog if any of your readers are interested