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Illustration for article titled The Inventory Gift Guide for Kids Who Loooove Animals
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

If you have kids who like to pretend to be dogs and eat dinner off the floor — I’m not the only one with kids like that, right? — you can redirect nurture their love for pets and animals with these gifts.

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These Melissa & Doug Chunky Puzzles — including pet, safari and farm animals — are great beginner’s puzzles for toddlers, with big wooden pieces that are easy for little hands to grasp.

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Preschoolers will get a thrill out of opening each door of this Melissa & Doug Hide & Seek Farm Puzzle. What’s behind the door? A pig! A sheep! A cow! The nine magnetic farm animals can be taken out and put back in, helping to develop fine motor and memory skills for young kids.

For kids about 4 and older who are ready for the challenge of a jigsaw puzzle, this Melissa & Doug 4-1 Set includes four pet and farm-themed puzzles, each with 12 pieces that can be conveniently stored in a little wooden box.

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Schylling Veterinarian Kit, $17 
B.Pet Vet Toy , $27
Schylling Veterinarian Kit, $17
B.Pet Vet Toy , $27
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

This Schylling Veterinarian Kit gives kids the “tools” to pretend to be a veterinarian, like a stethoscope and an x-ray. No stuffed animals are included — but chances are, your child will already have a favorite one that needs tender, loving care.

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This B.Pet Vet Toy also comes with a few doctor tools, but the fun part is locking and unlocking the doors, and hiding toys inside.

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This simple 16-piece Lego Duplo Farm Animal set is a nice starter for toddlers, with a little bit of building and a ton of imaginary play.

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Older kids can piece together the Lego Friends Olivia’s Hamster Playground, which comes with three cute hamsters and a wheel that spins.

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Backyard Safari Critter Shack, $7
Backyard Safari Critter Shack, $7
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez

Encourage kids to go outside and temporarily catch a few creepie crawlies with this Backyard Safari Critter Shack. It’s a good size for small creatures, like a little lizard or spider.

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Perfect for kids getting the hang of reading on their own, the My Furry Foster Family chapter book series follows 8-year-old girl Kaita Takano on her adventures fostering all kinds of pets with her family.

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Introduce your animal-loving kid to real-life animal stories and interesting factoids with National Geographic Kids 125 True Stories of Amazing Animals or National Geographic Kids 125 True Stories of Amazing Pets.

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Rat-a-Tat-Cat, $9
Exploding Kittens, $20
Rat-a-Tat-Cat, $9
Exploding Kittens, $20
Graphic: Ana Luisa Suarez
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Rat-a-Tat-Cat is a little bit like poker or blackjack for kids. Given four numbered cards, players try to remember which ones others might have and compete to have the hand with the lowest score.

Try not to draw a card with an exploding kitten in the popular Exploding Kittens card game, aimed at kids ages 7 and older through adults.

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Ellen Lee is a freelance writer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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