Animal Sculptures Activity Plan
Stir children’s imaginations with this animal sculpture activity.
- Grades: PreK–K
- Mix up a batch of salt dough to create animal sculptures
- Practice scientific observation
- Think creatively
- Engage in imaginative play
- Improve fine-motor skills
- Salt dough (follow recipe below) or air drying clay
- Tempera paint or food coloring
- Materials to decorate sculptures, such as feathers, art wire, toothpicks, smooth small wood shapes, buttons, and rocks
Step 1: Explain to children that they will make salt dough and then use the dough to create animal sculptures. Illustrate the salt dough recipe. Discuss the different ingredients and how they change as the mixture is prepared.
Step 2: Invite children to assist you in preparing the salt dough recipe.
Salt Dough Recipe:
- 4 cups of flour
- 2 cups of salt
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
- 2 cups of water
- Optional: tempera paint or food coloring
Combine the ingredients in a large plastic bowl. Tempera paint or food coloring can be mixed into the water and added to the ingredients to make colored salt dough. If you are making several batches of dough, each batch can be made into a different color. Pass the bowl around for children to take turns kneading the dough. (This recipe should make enough clay for 10 to 12 children.)
Step 3: Invite small groups of children to the art area. Provide the children with salt dough and art materials so that they can make animal sculptures. Encourage the children to experiment and investigate the materials. Place the animal sculptures in a safe area to dry.
Remember: Some children do not enjoy working with clay, so provide paper and collage or drawing materials as an alternative.
Step 4: Invite the children to share their salt dough animals during group time. Does each animal have a special name? Does it speak a special language? What type of animal sound does it make? Use the children's sculptures to develop additional creative and imaginative-play activities. Children can tell stories about their animals, create conversations with their classmates' animals, or use blocks to create animal homes.
Dramatic Play: Animal Pantomimes
Invite the children to act out different animals without using sounds or words. Ask the children to guess what animal their classmate is pretending to be. Continue with the pantomime until all everyone has had a turn.
Animal Sculptures by Susan Canizares and Pamela Chanko
The Beak Book by Pamela Chanko
Cat's Colors by Jane Cabrera