Create nighttime scenes and nocturnal animals with a
variety of “loose parts” with this animal crafts art activity.
What are loose parts? Loose parts are open-ended and versatile materials that can be used in a variety of ways. They can be found, bought, taken out of your recycling bin, or even taken from other art projects and repurposed. With loose parts children can use their imaginations to create in endless ways. Some examples of loose parts can be found in our materials list below.
Create nighttime scenes and nocturnal animals with a variety of “loose parts” Loose parts are open-ended and versatile materials that can be used in a variety of ways. They can be found, bought, taken out of your recycling bin, or even taken from other art projects and repurposed. With loose parts children can use their imaginations to create in endless ways including fun animal crafts like the one below. Some examples of loose parts can be found in our materials list below.
Preschool, Early Elementary
Cognitive/Science, Fine Motor, Language
• Pom poms
• Objects found in nature, such as seeds, sticks, samaras (Maple tree seeds), pebbles, acorn tops, etc. (optional)
Ready, Set, Create!
Discuss what the word “nocturnal” means and brainstorm some animals that are active at night. Provide photographs of nocturnal animals for children to view for inspiration.
Cover your work surface with a tablecloth or table paper for easy cleanup.
Place all the collage materials out on your work surface.
Organize the materials in an interesting and enticing way to create an “Invitation to Play.” Try grouping together similar materials in bowls or other containers or arranging them by size or color.
Provide a piece of dark-colored construction paper for each child. Also, provide glue sticks, glue bottles, or glue in shallow bowls with paint brushes.
Encourage children to create nocturnal animals by gluing the loose parts to their papers. The dark-colored construction paper acts as the nighttime background.
Children might want to draw in scenery details with light-colored crayons or chalk.
Engage Children in Conversation
Ask children what it means for an animal to be nocturnal. Why are certain animals nocturnal? And some not?
Place photographs of nocturnal animals around the work area for inspiration
Comment on what you observe, such as “I notice you glued feathers to your fluffs” or “I see you looking at this photo of a bat. I’m wondering if you are creating your own bat.”
Ask children open ended questions that encourage critical thinking, such as:
Which materials will you use to create your animal? Why will you choose these materials?
Where does your animal live?
What foods does your animal eat?
For very young children, try asking “either/or” questions, such as “are you using the white or the pink fluffs?” “Does your animal walk or fly?"
Children can create other types of nighttime or winter scenes such as making snow people or a snowy day.
Craft sticks, modeling dough, and other materials can be used to create caves or other habitats for nocturnal animals. These creations can be 3D or created on pieces of paper.
Children who have difficulty squeezing glue bottles can dip paint brushes into cups of glue or use glue sticks to adhere the materials to their paper.
Try providing large and more graspable loose parts, as well as smaller pieces, so that children have a variety of options depending upon their motor abilities.
When using larger loose parts, children can refrain from touching the glue with their fingers when placing objects onto the paper.