As children’s thinking abilities develop through the adolescent and teenage years, kids begin to think about the world around them in increasingly abstract and sophisticated ways. Animals, which, during childhood, were little more than plush friends, are now fascinating creatures whose distinct characteristics represent and symbolize different things to young adults. Encourage your child to capture those ideas in craft projects that promote creative thinking.
1. Paper Crafts
Paper crafts make for simple, mess-free projects for teens to enjoy. Inspire your teen to create decorative animal garland for her bedroom or school locker. Choose a favorite animal, or make garland comprised of several different animals from a specific habitat, like the farm or the jungle. Use a template to trace animal shapes onto card stock, and then cut them out. Decorate the paper animals with markers, glitter glue, felt or other embellishments. Make a hole with a hole punch at the top of each paper animal and then thread each one onto a long, thick piece or yarn, ribbon or organic rope. Use the decorated paper animals to create other room accessory crafts, such as wildlife conservation posters, window decorations or framed wall art. Animal origami is another paper craft idea that can double as room decor.
2. Fabric Crafts
Bold animal prints coupled with loud, neon colors are a big hit among teenage girls, who often incorporate the combination in their fashion, jewelry, room decor and other accessories. Challenge a teen to make her own two-tone animal print throw pillow with some fabric, stuffing and thread. Cut a large square from animal print fabric and another square of the same size from a solid, brightly colored fabric. Put one square flush on top of the other so that the top side of each square faces outward, and then use a needle and thread to stitch three of the four sides together. Stuff the pillow with cotton stuffing and then stitch the pillow closed. Alternatively, cut small animal shapes from templates out of fabric squares and use them as patches and embellishments by stitching onto curtains, purses and other cloth items.
3. Painting Projects
Animals make interesting art topics for teenage painting projects. Challenge a teen to paint a self-portrait of himself as any animal or encourage him to paint an abstract artwork inspired by a specific animal’s distinct qualities or physical traits. Paint a collage or a multiple-canvas wall mural that features different animal colors and patterns, such as the giraffe’s brown spots against yellow fur or the zebra’s black and white stripes.
4. Other Craft Ideas
Inspire your teen to get creative with other craft project ideas, such as sculpting animal figurines from modeling clay or recreating an animal habitat in a diorama. For a unique wall hanging, take an animal-shaped, connect-the-dots picture from an activity workbook and trace the dots onto a piece of construction paper. Use a needle and yarn to connect the dots, stitching the yarn through the paper.