Duration: 5 minutes
Learning Outcomes: Practice following directions as you fold these together as a class. Exercise fine motor skills to fold and crease neatly.
- R15219 Elementary Origami Animals
- Washable Markers
- Glue stick
- Googly Eyes
Start by choosing a sheet of the double-sided origami paper. Here is the video tutorial for folding the elephant:
Once you have folded your elephant, use a glue stick to put google eyes on him! You can also use washable marker.
Once all the kids have their elephants, the question is, what book do you pair your elephant with? For very young readers, picture books read with reading buddies are a great option. Independent learners might also enjoy exploring the images in an elephant reference book on their own! Some of my favorite elephant books include:
- The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
- Dumbo by the Walt Disney Company
- Elephant Family by Jane Goodall
- Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
If you want to fold the puppy instead, start with a sheet of origami paper. Here is the video tutorial for folding the puppy:
Once your puppy is folded, give him eyes and a nose!
There have been many, many picture books about dogs and puppies written, so feel free to choose your favorite! Here are some of my favorites:
- Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
- Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
- Go, Dog, Go! By P.D. Eastman
Challenge students to practice letter recognition with their origami pals!
We’ll start with the fish today. Under “You’ll Need” is the instruction sheet, with step-by-step instructions and illustrations for students who want to experiment on their own. I have also created an instruction video for you:
Once your fish is all folded up, give him eyes and a smile! The fish will lay flat, so you can also extend the exercise by decorating your fish. Use small pieces of tinfoil or glitter, and students will have their own rainbow fish! The picture book The Rainbow Fish is one of my favorites, and it’s an excellent book to use with this project. Some of my other favorite fish-themed books are:
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
- The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
- Fish by Steve Parker (An Eyewitness Book)
If fish don’t fit your curriculum, fold up a fabulous fox! Under “You’ll Need” is the instruction sheet, with step-by-step instructions and illustrations for students who want to experiment on their own. I have also created an instruction video for you:
I love how cute the finished fox is! And your fox is a perfect companion for many different books. A great lunchtime read for the whole class and their fox friends is Roald Dhal’s Fantastic Mr. Fox! Some of my favorite picture books with foxes include:
- Chanticleer and the Fox by Geoffrey Chaucer, adapted and illustrated by Barbara Cooney
- Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss
- Fables and fairy tales, like “The Gingerbread Man” or “The Fox and and the Scorpion”
Challenge your students to read aloud and practice word recognition with their fantastic folded friends!
With second graders, this activity can be individual, done in small groups OR done as a class. If you are structuring this activity individually or in small groups, first download the instruction sheet (Click on the link under “You’ll Need”), and print off copies for each student or group of students. The fully illustrated and easy to follow instruction sheets allow students to problem-solve and work independently to create an adorable finished product. If students get stuck, direct them to the video tutorials.
Our first project today is the penguin.
Once students have successfully folded their penguins, there are some great options for books to pair their animals with! One of my favorite books was read to me by my teacher during our lunch break, and it has penguins galore. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater is a fantastic book to pair with penguin pals. Other great books about penguins include:
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Henry Cole and Peter Parnell
- One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo
- Eve of the Emperor Penguin by Mary Pope Osborne (A Magic Tree House Book)
Today’s second project is the swan.
Once everyone has their folded swans, pair them with a book! Hans Christian Anderson was a big fan of swans, and he wrote fairy tales that have been adapted into picture books including familiar titles like The Ugly Duckling and Wild Swans. Other excellent titles featuring swans include:
- The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White
- The Swan Princess by Rosie Dickins
- Although it’s not a book, Swan Lake the ballet is a great addition to children’s cultural education. It’s also a great way to get kids interested in literature as well as dance and theater!
As always, challenge your students to read independently with a little help from their winged pals!
Start by downloading and printing the mouse folding instructions. This fully illustrated, step-by-step instruction sheet allows students to work independently to create an adorable mouse pal. We have also created a step-by-step video for visual learners:
These adorable mouse pals can serve as take-home art projects in and of themselves. However, if you want to extend the activity, challenge students to use their mice to recreate a favorite scene from their favorite mouse book! Our Set the Scene! Diorama Boxes are an excellent tool for this project. Some great books to use for this project include:
- Stuart Little by EB White
- The Tale of Desperaux by Kate Dicamillo
- The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
If you structure this activity as a small group or individual project, start by downloading and printing the fully illustrated instruction sheet for your students. The easy to follow instruction sheets allow students to independently work to create an adorable pig pal. If they get stumped, however, direct them to the video:
The completed pig pals can serve as a take-home project in and of themselves, but if you want to extend the activity, challenge your students to use diorama boxes to recreate their favorite scene from their favorite pig-themed book! Some of those books might include:
- Charlotte’s Web by EB White
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
- The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman
- Pigs By Robert Munsch