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Anima What?

Animaplates are animals and objects represented using simple materials like paper plates, cardboard rolls, felt, etc.  These crafts are an enjoyable activity for children and adults. The results can be used as toys or as decorations. But these crafts are also a powerful tool for teaching visual arts, science, language and even music.

Teaching art with Animaplates

In and educational context, Animaplates crafts are intended primarily for children 3 to 12 years of age. Not all designs are suitable for all ages, so the degree of difficulty and the approach should be adapted to the age of the kids. Many Animaplates project guides contain simplified versions (indicated by the “tiny hands” symbol).

Depending on their dexterity, very young children (3-4 years) may need adult help to cut out the shapes. Kids of any age enjoy painting and gluing the pieces in place themselves.

At 5-6 years of age, most kids are able to cut pre-drawn pieces.  From the age of 7, they are usually able to draw the shapes themselves and use their imagination and creativity.

These approaches match the child’s evolution in terms of fine motor skills, shape conceptualization and three-dimensional representation.

Teaching science with Animaplates

Animaplates animals retain the essential characteristics of the animals they represent, so that they can be used to illustrate a science class.  For instance, the frog can be used as a teaching aid to show the position, shape and function of the frog’s legs.

An even greater benefit can be derived from using these crafts in an integrated arts and science class.  Depending on the time you have and on what you want to emphasize, you may or may not want to give patterns to the students.  If you don’t hand out patterns, you may want to use the Animaplates project guides to make sample projects which demonstrate the techniques and which help the students with the relative scale of the body parts.  In any case, make sure the students have access to pictures and descriptions the chosen animal.

In the process of creating a representation of the chosen animal, a lot of questions will come up.  In the case of a fish, this would be for instance: the number, names and shapes of the various fins, the reasons for special colours, the functions of the nostrils and the gills, etc.  Actively searching for the answers to these questions will provide the students with knowledge that is more lasting that they would get from passively listening to a lesson.

Throughout this integrated activity, the students are encouraged to research and observe the specific features of each animal and to invent their own way of representing shape and colour.

Teaching language arts with Animaplates

The creative research activity outlined above is a very motivating opportunity to acquire new vocabulary: the names of the animals, their body parts, etc.

Another application of Animaplates crafts is to illustrate fables, stories or songs.

Animaplates masks or puppets can be used to act out stories.  You can use existing stories or let the kids write their own sketch or play and for which they design their own masks or puppets.

Teaching music with Animaplates

Several percussion instruments can be made with paper plates. When the kids make their own instrument, they’ll be even more proud to play it.

This is truly an arts activity that stimulates all the senses!

Arts, science and language can be integrated in a learning activity that enhances the teaching of all subjects while stimulating the student’s creativity and interest.

Animaplates save time and money. You save time because your subscription gives you access to beautifully designed craft projects. You save money because Animaplates crafts are made with inexpensive materials.

The Animaplates website contains many kids craft projects that can be the starting point of exciting lessons



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