Crafts make a great accompaniment to areas of interest and study for children. Generally I wouldn't be doing a craft just for the sake of doing a craft, but more as a way to take learning further and to continue to consolidate ideas and understandings on a particular topic/subject. As an example, when teaching the Early Years the letter "S," we would do a number of different fun activities focussing around this letter and the sound that it makes to engage children and help them to learn and retain the information. One of the activities would be making a paper plate ssss-snake that we'd hang by ssss-strings and watch them ssss-spin!
The process of making the crafts engages fine-motor skills and creativity as well as encouraging children to follow instructions. With crafts, there is often an order to what needs to be done, ie. cutting before painting, that children learn, as well as specific skills like cutting, pasting, etc.
Depending on the craft and your focus, you can use the time creating to talk about things like what you're making, what letter it begins with, what classification it falls under, what sound it makes, how to spell/write/read the word and so on.
As animals are something that children are always going to be interested in and will always be learning about, here I've compiled my favourite paper-plate animal ideas from around the web.
Paper Plate Butterflies by Krokotak (love the spoon body!)
Paper Plate Cat by Danielle's Place
Paper Plate Cow by Housing a Forest
Paper Plate Dinosaur by The Craft Train for Learn with Play at Home (with free printable templates)
Paper Plate Elephant by Activity Bucket (with free printable template)
Paper Plate Hippopotamus by I Heart Crafty Things
Paper Plate Lion by Preschool Corner (perfect for practicing scissor skills!)
Paper Plate Mouse by We Made That
Paper Plate Owl by Happy Hooligans
Paper Plate Panda by Danya Banya (great for practicing some simple sewing skills too)
Paper Plate Peacock by I Heart Crafty Things
Paper Plate Penguin by Learn with Play at Home
Paper Plate Rabbit by Laughing Kids Learn
Paper Plate Sheep by Housing a Forest (these would have been great as a "Where's the Green Sheep" Party activity!)
Paper Plate Snake by Crafty Morning (see their fun way of printing on these snakes. This craft is also great for patterning)
Paper Plate Tiger by No Time for Flash Cards
Paper Plate Toucan by Pink Stripey Socks (so cute! And still only uses the one plate)
Paper Plate Turtle by Artsy Momma
Paper Plate Whale by In the Playroom
- Simplify these paper plate animal crafts for younger children by helping with any tasks that they're still to develop the fine-motor skills and coordination for, like the cutting. Really young children can help with decorating and sticking on parts and those children developing skills can use the experience to practice cutting and positioning.
- Extend the learning before or after making your paper plate animals by encouraging things like:
- Dramatic play with the animals. eg. Put on a puppet show
- Writing or story-telling about your animal. eg. Tell a story about the day your animal got lost
- Making animal sounds
- Reading fictional stories that include your animal
- Reading and researching non-fiction stories and information about your animal. eg. Find out more about their habitat, location, food etc.
- Listing 3 facts about your animal
- Writing or reading the letters/name of your animal
- Allow creativity by not insisting that their animal craft look exactly like the pictures. What colour could their animal be? How is it the same or different from the real life animal? How could you make the craft a little different to add your own spin on it?
More ideas using paper plates:
- Use paper plates in a travel activity pack
- Get arty with some paper plate painting
- Make a paper plate bag
- Explore emotions with paper plate faces
- Set up a pretend play pizza shop with paper plates
Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)
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