When I make animal crafts with kids, there are two ways I do not make paper plate animal crafts or any of those copycat crafts that you will find all over the web. One way to way to work on animal crafts is to have the children make animal sculptures with clay. I discuss this a bit in my post on clay modeling for kids and you can find out more details about it there.
Sometimes you can make dioramas with the children that are scenes including animals and the children can make them out of polymer clay as well.
Very often this will come after taking a trip to a farm or to the zoo.
Most of these projects work best when based on something like a trip to these places but, if you don’t actually go there then you will need lots of pictures and maybe even a video to spark their imaginations.
You can have general images of the types of scenes that these different animals would inhabit. Zoos, farms, jungles and under the sea scenes are all vastly different habitats for the various animals. Below are just a few images to give you an idea of the type of pictures you may want to share with the children.
After you know the type of animals and scene you will have the children recreate, you would then discuss with the children the kind of backgrounds we need to create for the animals that they are going to make.These backgrounds will be a combination of painting and some added collage work followed by the creation of the animals.
I would start out by having them paint their backgrounds. Some kind of blue for under the sea, mixtures of green and brown for the bottoms of the zoo and farm scenes and blue for the sky. For the jungles I would giv them a few different shades of greens.(This is the method I use when creating murals with groups of children as well)
I would then give the children various items that would help them decorate their backgrounds. If its a zoo scene I may give them a bunch of things like craft sticks, toothpicks and other straight things that will help them make cages. For jungles maybe lots of brown rectangles and green shaped leaves to add as trees. For farms, maybe shapes they can use to make farmhouse etc.
If you like doing recycled crafts then you will most probably have lots of materials hanging around that you can use. Maybe that seaweed looking stuff that can be added to some of the scenes.
After that is done I would work with them on the animals. There are two ways to do that. You can either just give them animal print papers, some googly eyes and scissors and tell them to make animals. Or you can give them pictures of the different animals and discuss how they would make them. Or both. Then they can cut out the animals and past them into their pictures.
I once had a little boy who wanted to make a giraffe. So I said to him “What does a giraffe have?” so he said ” along neck” I said “so make that” and he did. I then asked him what else the giraffe had and he said a head and feet etc. and he kept adding to the image until he had a very satisfactory giraffe. Sometimes all l kids need is a little direction to get going. They are not perfectionists like we are.
The animals don’t have to be sophisticated and if you give them images of animals make sure you give them the animals in different positions. They then draw the animals on paper with markers and cut them out.
The images below were zoo animal crafts that we did after going on a trip to the zoo.
For this activity we didn’t do an elaborate background treatment. We just gave them materials like window screen netting, sticks of different thicknesses and animal papers.
We then went over with them the things they saw at the zoo and told them to try to recreate some of their experiences using the materials we had given them. Below are some of their results.
Don’t forget that you are always going to get a variety of results based on the ages of the children. The image above with the animal paper just slapped on was of course, much younger that the one of the animal above behind the fence. The only way I advice to direct them is to help them think what parts the animal that they want to make has and to keep them thinking it through on their own.
(Below are later pictures with animal print paper)
I just found this post called elephant art project from Deep Space Sparkle that is somewhat similar to what I talked about here that will really add to your animal crafts. Check it out.
And if you like these ideas…please share 🙂