Cardboard tubes are an inexpensive, versatile, durable and eco-friendly craft supply.

Toilet Paper Roll Animal Arts & Craft Ideas for Pre-K Children

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Recycled craft supplies are inexpensive and ecologically friendly, so you can feel good about saying “yes” when your preschooler begs to do crafts. Toilet paper roll crafts utilize the rolls you probably toss in the trash or recycle bin. Additional supplies for most toilet paper crafts include glue, paper and scissors, supplies you probably have in abundance. Save room on your display shelf because your little one can make many toilet paper roll animals!!

Domestic Animals

Most domestic animals walk on four legs, so your preschooler can turn the toilet paper roll horizontal for these crafts. He can draw the head on a piece of paper, or cut the head from a magazine or you can create an assortment of animal heads on your computer and print them off. He can make the legs and feet from small thread spools glued to the bottom side of the roll, or from clay or pipe cleaners stuck into the roll. Tails created from pipe cleaners or paper work equally well. He can draw the fur or hide on with markers or glue a texture to the roll, such as cotton balls for sheep and a slick fabric or craft foam for horses, cows or pigs.

Cats and Dogs Abound

Your child has many options to create wild or tame cats and dogs for her menagerie. A generic cat or dog face can begin many pet crafts, from lions and tigers to puppies and kittens. Your little one can use yarn, craft foam or construction paper to create manes, whiskers and tails. Crumpled paper balls, clay or pipe cleaners form feet. She can utilize markers or quilt batting to create the fur markings or texture.

More Pets

Your preschooler can make a replica of a favorite pet, such as a gerbil, guinea pig, rabbit, lizard or snake. For the rodent pets, the kind of tails -- or lack of them, and ears will determine which animal your little one makes. A cotton ball makes a great rabbit tail and your child can make long paper ears. Around Easter, he can make the rabbit upright and add an Easter basket. The gerbil or guinea pig can have the short ears drawn on the rodent face. For a lizard, your child can make a long tail out of a paper cone attached to the back of the cardboard roll. You can connect several cardboard rolls together with tape to make a snake, and he won’t need legs.

More Animals

Your preschooler can create a zoo by adding large triangle ears, a trunk and spool legs for an elephant. She can add stripes to the roll and horse face, with short yarn for a mane and tail, to create a zebra. Pipe cleaners make excellent horns for animals such as a deer, elk or goat. Straw segments and clay feet make handy legs for giraffes, deer and other slender-legged animals.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images