Leopard Craft

I saw this awesome post using foam and a rolling pin on Dollar Store Crafts ages ago. I filed it away under things to do. When my son suggested we make a Leopard for “art project time”, it popped back into my head! We had so much fun , and found some great books at the library to go along with the theme!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a rolling pin, some sticky back foam, 2 pieces of construction paper, a marker, some brown paint, scissors, glue, black foam or paper, tape and some aluminum foil.
  2. Start by drawing an outline of a leopard. I drew a few before getting it right. Set aside.
  3. Cut spots out of your sticky back foam. Make them irregular.
  4. Next cover your rolling pin in aluminum foil. Tape the edge down.
  5. Peel off the backing and stick the foam onto your rolling pin.
  6. Brush your paint onto the foam pieces.
  7. Grab your leopard and roll!
  8. Add more paint and roll again.
  9. While your wee one is rolling, cut a nose out of black foam or paper.
  10. Cut the leopard out.
  11. Add glue to the leopard and add the eyes and nose.
  12. Glue onto the 2nd piece of paper and let dry.
Books!

“Lisa in the Jungle”by Anne Gutman made me giggle and my son really liked it to. It’s about Lisa who spent all summer at the pool instead of off on a wild vacation in the jungle. Lisa decides to ignore what she really did all summer and tell a tall tale to her classmates. It’s an endearing story because it’s told exactly the way a young child would tell such an outrageous story. My son loved the parts about stepping on sleeping crocodiles and feeding baby leopards.“Jungle Party” by Brian Wildsmith is a cautionary tale about a python and it’s tricky ways. In this book the jungle animals are tricked by a python into having a party with him, only to end up in his belly! Luckily a wise elephant is there to help and the animals get the last laugh. I liked this book although after about half way my wiggly 2 year old started loosing interest. I don’t think it’s the books fault, it’s just a little long for such a young audience. For slightly older kids this is a great book for making predictions about what will happen next.

“Deep In The Jungle” by Dan Yaccarino is a deceivingly deep book. While reading it to my son before nap today I was taken aback by how the Lion and the circus man in the book could be symbolic of so many historical and social things. However the surface story is about a Lion , the king of the jungle who is enticed out by a man who promises him a better life of fame in the big city. Soon the lion is in the circus, whipped, caged and with no power or fame. After eating the man and running back to the jungle he finds his subjects in cages as well. Although he was not a kind ruler before he saves his subjects from their captor. Seems all very heavy, but my son loved it. It is long and I was impressed he sat interested for the whole thing, he even said “Animals sad in cages!” proud moment for me!

Tiger Craft

tiger craft
My son has been talking a lot about tigers lately, so it was no shock to me when I asked him what he wanted to make for art and he replied “Tiger?”. He loved making this and even though we didn’t cut eyes out, he has been playing with it like a mask , pretending to be a ferocious tiger. If your child loves Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood ( which wasn’t on when this was first published) they will adore this paper plate tiger craft.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some orange and black paper, a paper plate, some orange paint ( or mix red and yellow like we did), scissors, googley eyes, and glue.
  2. Start by mixing your orange paint
  3. Paint your plate- we started out with the dainty brush,but finished with hands.
  4. While our child is painting, cut a nose and mouth.
  5. As well as some black stripes – we used 8
  6. And ears out of the orange paper.
  7. Add the stripes on either side by first adding glue
  8. Then the paper.
  9. Next add the mouth and nose.
  10. My son was begging to add the eyes before we finished the stripes, so we did it before we did the head stripes, it doesn’t really matter what order you do the gluing in.
  11. Add the stripes on the top of the head too.
  12. Next up, the ears, add two stripes on each ear.
  13. Glue the ears on and let everything dry.
Books !

“Tigress” by Helen Cowcher is a book that is definitely not for the sensitive child who is upset by animals killing other animals and talk of poisoning carcasses. I would have hated this book as a child, it would have put me in tears. However it is a realistic snippet of a tiger’s life, as well as the people who live nearby like herdsmen and game wardens. My son had no interest in this book , but an older child would appreciate it.

“If You See A Tiger” by Richard Powell is a cute book for babies and young toddlers. It’s a lift the flap book that encourages your child to do what the book suggests if you come across various animals. My son really liked this book when we read it a year ago when he was 18 months old.

“The Loudest Roar” by Thomas Taylor was given to me at my baby shower, recommended by a friend who’s son loved it. Sure enough my son does too, especially if I roar really really loudly along with Clovis the little tiger with the loudest roar of all. It’s a good book when toddlers are learning about when we can be loud and when we should be quiet.

Paper Plate Elephant Craft


  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, some construction paper( 2 white, 1 black), glue , scissors, a paint brush, jar or cup and paint.
  2. I like to make the gray paint by mixing different colors, your child will love this.
  3. Paint the paper plate.
  4. While your child is painting , cut out 2 ears and a trunk using the white construction paper.
  5. Paint the trunk and ears.
  6. While your child is painting, cut out 2 black circles and 2 slightly larger white ones for eyes, and some black strips for the trunk.
  7. Let everything dry.
  8. Glue the ears , trunk, strips and eyes on!

* To make this elephant into a mask, you can cut eye holes and attach ribbons on either side or a stick to the bottom !

Note about crafts: As a teacher I love to do open ended art projects that provide a wonderful creative experience for children so as you can imagine all these crafts I have done have gone against some of my teaching instincts. However when you are working one on one with a child you have so many opportunities to follow their lead, and make even a structured craft like this elephant into something creative. My son loved mixing the colors to make the gray paint, so after we were done we got a few more jars out and continued. Watch carefully and you too will find ways to turn these crafts into a whole host of fun!

 

Song!
One Elephant!

One elephant went out to play,
upon a spider’s web one day,
he had such enormous fun that he called for ______ to come!

Two elephants went out to play,
upon a spider’s web one day ,
they had such enormous fun that they called for ______ to come!

* I like to use the child’s/ children’s names but if you are singing this alone with your child you can use their stuffed animals/ toys names or simply say ” another elephant ” instead!

Books!

123 to the Zoo Board Book by Eric Carle is fun counting book perfect for toddlers. Actually as I type this my toddler is reading it. There are no words, just pictures and numbers and that makes it perfect for toddlers who are just learning both numbers and animals because parents can read it slowly counting , naming the animals and making the animal sounds, or more quickly just counting!

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is a silly story about a zookeeper and his charges that follow him home to bed. Luckily his wife is on her toes and gets those silly animals back to the zoo ! This book is good for the 1-3 crowd , after that most kids I know have lost interest in the limited text. I love to use this book as a bedtime story.
 Inside a Zoo in the City (A Rebus Read-Along Story) by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a rebus read along , so children who can’t read words yet can help read this with pictures put right into the text! The story is repetitive and builds with one animal and page at a time. Preschoolers love these books and the repetitive nature of it makes it interactive and fun!