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Crafty Symmetric Skeletons

By Genia Connell on October 23, 2013
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

In this day and age of hard Core teaching, it can be challenging to find time for holiday-themed crafts and activities. Over the years I’ve become more creative in weaving these types of activities into the curriculum so goals and objectives are being met while my students joyfully paint, cut, and paste.

I’ve fine-tuned a Halloween themed activity that demonstrates symmetry, teaches my students the names and location of major bones in the body, and even practices a bit of cursive writing. The best part of this project just may be the "aha" moment I can hear whenever people looking at the display realize the skeletons’ bodies are actually student names.

Watch the step-by-step video tutorial below to learn how your students can make these crafty, name-brand skeletons. (Mobile users, please go to: http://bcove.me/h6snwyl9 )My favorite moment is when the students first realize their names have created skeleton bodies. 



Crafty Skeleton Tips

Fold the paper before the paint dries 

Some students with long names may want to fold every few letters, then continue painting. If the dried paint doesn't transfer, have students go over their original work with a bit more paint. 

Step outside the box when it comes to color

When I first did these a few years ago, I was planning to do white skeletons on black paper. At the last minute I realized I didn't have enough white paint for whole class. Looking at my meager paint collection, I asked who wanted a yellow, orange, or magenta skeleton. The kids loved the different colors, and I loved the colorful results. 

Have students work in pairs or small groups

Connecting the skeleton is not as easy as it may seem. There are a lot of bones! Partners can help each other make sure the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone's connected to the knee bone . . . you get the idea. 

Take a Skeleton Dance Brain Break

We played the ageless song, "Dem Bones" while kids were connecting their skeleton, and they kept humming it for days. They also loved taking a brain break, dancing along with their skeletons to a Skeleton Dance clip that we played on our SmartBoard.


Scholastic Printables to Use

Mr. SkeletonSkeleton MatchSkeleton Reference Guide

Download your own printables by clicking the images above.


Add a Dash of Creative Writing

Using clip art from Scholastic Printables, I created this story map for my students to use to plan a fictional Halloween story. Because we are spending so much time on narratives this first quarter, they loved having the opportunity to write a creative story. You can download a copy by clicking the image below. 

Bare Bones Story Map


Quick At-a-Glance Guide

Directions for Cursive Symmetric SkeletonsDirections for Symmetric Skeletons

Directions for Symmetric SkeletonsDirections for Symmetric Skeletons


name brand skeletonskids with skeleton bodies


The Finished Product

The skeletons make a great hallway display for all the visitors coming to our Halloween parade and parties. I like displaying the skeletons on black paper to make the bones stand out, but my teaching partner has hers on yellow and they look great too!

Name Brand SkeletonsName Brand Skeletons


For Your Classroom Library

I pull out these books for my October book basket. Click on each book cover below to learn more. 

50 QuestionsskeletonsSkeleton Catmagic school bus search for missing bonescinderella skeleton


Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below. Let me know if you've given the Name Brand Skeletons a try with your class, or perhaps you have a special project you like to do this time of year that you'd like to share. I know I'm always looking for new ideas! ~Genia


Comments (12)

Bone-tastic! Question: What type of paint are you using?

Hi Christy,

My kids used tempera paint on the skeletons. It can be put on thick and it transfers really well. My third graders made them on Friday. They are always a huge hit with the kids! Take care, Genia

Hi Christy,

My kids used tempera paint on the skeletons. It can be put on thick and it transfers really well. My third graders made them on Friday. They are always a huge hit with the kids! Take care, Genia

Hi Christy,

My kids used tempra paint on the skeletons. It can be put on thick and it transfers really well. My third graders made them on Friday. They are always a huge hit with the kids! Take care, Genia

This has to be the neatest project ever! I absolutely love it and will be doing this with my 4th grade students. Thank you for sharing!

Hope your kids have fun with it, Kerri!

Such a cool project for Halloween - and science class! (Plus, the Sammy Keyes books are so fun!)

Thanks! And I love the Sammy Keyes books too!

Hi Genia - I'm just curious, but do your students use cursive in all their writing in class? Great project, btw!

Hi Dean,

We teach the cursive letters but we don't require cursive writing in our school. :) Thanks for reading! ~Geniq

I love your idea! There is such a great connection here between learning and art and oh so much fun! I can't wait to try this with my class. Thank you for sharing and being so detailed in how to incorporate this into my classroom!

Hi Kriscia,
Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope your class enjoys this project as much as mine did! Let me know how it goes. Take care, Genia

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