You've taken your children to the zoo, you've done the museum thing, so what else can you do with your toddlers and preschoolers to teach them about different animals? Think crafts; animal collage activities can help children think about animals in a creative way, and can help them appreciate these beasts of the wild in a way that will last them their whole lives.
1. Animal Collages With Paper
As a mom, you probably see all different kinds of paper laying around your house ideal for craft projects, like construction paper, tissue paper and even toilet paper! Show your little ones how to use paper to make animal collages. Start by helping your children color strips and dots onto different types of paper, then cut out shapes from the paper, like circles, triangles and squares. Help your children paste the shapes on to pieces of construction paper to form an animal. If you like, draw the outline of an animal on the paper before your children glue down the shapes to make it easier. You can also help your little ones cut out pictures of animals from magazines or catalogs, then glue them on to a piece of paper, a wooden display board or a plastic tray to create a collage. Once dry, cover the collage with a layer of clear artist's varnish to protect the paper.
2. Animal Collages With Clay
Clay is an extremely flexible and transformable craft material that your children can mold and shape into different animals, but you can also show them how to make a clay animal collage with all of their creations. Roll out a sheet of self-hardening clay using a rolling pin, and let your children cut out animal shapes using cookie cutters or stencils. Press the sides of the animals together, or stack them on top of each other in a staggered manner to create a dynamic collage of animals. Once dry, help your children paint the animal collage using tempera paint. You can also show your child how to form clay into animals freehand, and use the animals to create a 3D collage by arranging them close together on a wooden board. Try to help your child create animals from similar areas if you want the animal collage to be regional, such as a lion, giraffe and zebra for an African animal collage.
3. Animal Collages With Food
Say you don't have any craft materials on hand to make a collage with -- no problem! Just get out a few of your kids' favorite foods and you can put together a fun animal collage that they can eat. Use foods that you already know are a big hit at your house, like goldfish crackers, pieces of cut-up fruit, cheese and shredded carrot. Lay out a clean place mat in front of your child, and form an outline of an animal using pieces of shredded carrot. Let your child fill in the animal using the different foods to create a delicious and nutritious animal collage. Or, instead of a whole animal, trying making just the animal's face using food. Steam broccoli to use for the mane of a lion, and arrange banana slices for the lion's fur.
4. Animal Collages With Nature
Have you ever looked at a leaf and thought that it looked just like a little bird or mouse? When you use materials found in nature, you can create an animal collage that is both earthy and biodegradable -- don't you just love that! Collect a bunch of natural materials with your little ones from around your yard or on a nature walk, such as leaves, acorns, pine cones, seed pods and stones. Help your child arrange the materials to create an animal collage using craft glue. If you glue an acorn to the top of a pine cone, and glue a large leaf onto its back, it looks like a little squirrel. You don't have to stick with a small creation either -- go big! Get out a sheet of plywood, and arrange the natural materials around the plywood with your child to form different 2D animals. You can make different birds by arranging seed pods to look like the bird's body and colorful leaves to form the bird's wings and tail feathers.
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