An unexpected friendship blossomed in a marine park, a boy and a dolphin bond over a game of catch. You can watch them play ball in the video below. But beyond the video, we explore how positive interactions with animals can impact the developing minds of children.
Let The Games Begins
Dolphins are innately curious. This dolphin decided to initiate a game with a young boy standing in front of it. The dolphin tossed a bright pink ball towards the boy, inviting him to play a game.
The boy was gleaming with excitement. He picked up the pink ball, accepting the dolphin’s invitation to play. What happened next was a few minutes of sheer delight. The dolphin and the young boy tossed the ball back and forth.
A Possible Understanding
In the video, it is clear that the dolphin understood the game of catch. When the boy’s throws missed the dolphin, the dolphin would eagerly swim to retrieve the ball and toss it back to the boy.
This interaction is a likely sign of mutual understanding between the dolphin and the boy. This is again seen by the dolphin’s patience in waiting for the boy to throw. The dolphin also shared its amusement by omitting a series of squeaks. You can listen to the dolphin’s squeaks in the video below.
Nurturing Empathy and Compassion
It is known that children who interact with animals tend to foster a deep sense of empathy. Children begin to recognize emotions and feelings in another being. They learn that animals too can feel joy, sadness, excitement and patience. It is thought that this recognition of complex emotions in animals can lead to a more compassionate outlook as young children grow up.
What do you think about the boy’s interaction with the dolphin? Leave a comment at the end of the article.
Boosting Cognitive Development
Beyond emotional development, animal interaction can play a role in cognitive development. This game of catch wasn’t just play, it was a lesson for the boy in cause and effect. The boy learned to anticipate the dolphin’s moves, adjust his throws and understand the dolphin’s cues.
Watch Boy and Dolphin Play Ball
Building a Foundation for Environmental Awareness
Children’s interaction with animals can also sow seeds of environmental consciousness. Children who grow up connected to animals are often more aware of the importance of preserving natural habitats and protecting endangered species. They recognize the intrinsic value of all life.
The Role of Marine Parks
The ethical nature of marine life parks is heavily debated. However, we can to some degree, recognise the role they play in fostering human-animal interactions. They create moments for people to connect with animals that might not be possible in the wild. They also provide a controlled and safe environment for children to learn about marine life, animal behaviour and conservation.
This story of the boy and the dolphin playing a game of catch is a lovely reminder of the impact animal interactions can have on young children. We have no doubt, that the boy will carry these memories with him into adulthood and likely go on to share the lessons learnt with others.
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