It’s that lovely time of year when the temperatures change, the leaves turn color and our little ones board the big, yellow school bus to begin new adventures in school. We fill their backpacks with school supplies and dreams for a successful year of learning. Just because the summer has come to end doesn’t mean your crafting time has to. Elmer’s asked me to share this fun animal craft with you featuring their new Early Learners glue stick and glue pen.
Elmer’s glue sticks are always top on the list for little ones heading back to class. My daughter was excited to share her new Elmer’s Early Learners glue sticks with her class. Elmer’s sent us a craft kit in this awesome “vintage” lunchbox providing inspiration for the animal craft of our choice.We quickly set to work cutting our paper bag into a long rectangle. Nora wanted to make a giraffe paper bag animal (one of her favorites) which worked well with our pieces of yellow and orange construction paper. Of course you could use any color paper for your animal. I drew a the basic form of the giraffe on her page keeping in mind the shape of our papers and she set to work gluing.
We used long strips of construction paper for the base of the neck, body and legs. A fun zigzag patterned paper made a cute little head. Then we started applying smaller torn pieces of paper for the spots. Nora tried applying the paper to the Elmer’s glue stick but found it easier to put the glue right on the paper animal and then apply the spots to it so her fingers didn’t get so messy. I helped her cut out small ears and horns and we finished it off with a white star (left over from our last Elmer’s craft tutorial!) for the eye. Wiggly eyes would be pretty cute too!When our giraffe was complete she proudly put her on our refrigerator and gave her a name. Zoe seemed to fit well and Nora liked that all of the letters in her name were readable for her. The “O” and “E” say their name.
What kind of animal would you make with these simple supplies?
giraffe paper bag animal craft supplies needed
- No-Run Washable School Glue
- brown paper grocery bag
- construction paper
- wiggly eyes (optional)
Here’s another cute idea using the same supplies: Elmer’s Mosaic Animal
Cognitive Benefits of Crafting
I love my time crafting with my daughter. It’s a great creative outlet for both of us and gives dedicated time to something she loves. Elmer’s points out some additional benefits of this one on one time with your child:
- Encourage visual processing: Emphasize opportunities for kids to absorb visuals when crafting by making specific references to shapes used. (i.e. Where are you going to place that circle?) This encourages things like pattern recognition and spatial rotation. Math and reading share these same skills.
- Emphasize tactile/fine motor skills: Let kids take the lead by using their hands. Crafting encourages the development of fine motor skills, which then supports academic readiness. Since Early Learners is specially designed for those little hands, kids can be more independent as they craft, helping to further hone these important skills.
- Use language: Talk with your children while crafting. These simple exchanges encourage cognitive development and using language in natural settings is the best way to promote vocabulary and expressive language.
- Promote imaginative thinking and problem solving: Encourage imaginative thinking by asking your children questions while crafting. If you keep these conversations fun (it’s not a test), crafting can give kids a chance to imagine and represent in their brains what they are going to create before they create it. Next, move from what’s in mind to making a plan to get there. Make the problem-solving steps transparent and encourage kids to talk about this process.
- Encourage self-regulation: Letting kids take the lead while guiding their steps reinforces self-regulation. For example, remind them to consider what they might need to do next when working on a craft to help them integrate their creative thinking, problem-solving instincts, and the follow through with planned out motor behavior.
Disclosure: I received a crafting kit in exchange for my time creating this craft tutorial as part of #EarlyLearnersAcademy.