Creatures that Crawl
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By Karen Hart

Create some creeping, crawling creatures with these Expressive Arts and Design activity ideas.

Activities in this article:

  1. Patchwork tortoises
  2. Caterpillar name-card game
  3. Hedgehog garden
  4. Mexican crawling lizards
  5. Pom pom snails

The term ‘creatures that crawl’, that is those that move slowly and low to the ground, covers a very diverse range of animals and bugs – from bats and lizards to bees, flies – even some fish! The activities here, although aimed primarily at covering Expressive Arts and Design EYFS goals, can be used to cover multiple areas of the curriculum. They are especially good for incorporating into P.E. sessions, where children can imagine themselves as all sorts of crawling, creeping bugs and animals. Children could start off as crawling caterpillars, then sleep in their cocoons, before eventually bursting out as beautiful butterflies! Or maybe they could crawl slowly like tortoises or snails, carrying their homes on their back. A good topic to have fun with, all activities in this article are suitable for children of two years and upwards (when given help as needed).

Patchwork tortoises

Tortoise 3

The well-loved picture book, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, is great for pre-schoolers with its message of being proud of who you are and what makes you unique. It is a great book to use for covering the Understanding the World criteria.

This simple craft uses the Elmer patchwork idea and can be used as a follow-up activity to a circle-time reading of Elmer. Swap elephants for tortoises so that it ties-in with the creatures that crawl theme.

This activity is also perfect for colour recognition practice, with children telling you the names of the colours they are using, talking about their favourite colours and matching one colour with another etc.

In keeping with the theme, it would be good to share some pictures of tortoises so children can see what a real tortoise looks like. You could also check out the following picture books that contain some lovely stories and photographs:
  • The Tortoise and the Hare – Bernadette Watts, North-South Books
  • Tortoise – Pet Expert: Understanding and Caring for Your Pet – Lance Jepson, Magnet & Steel Publishing Ltd
  • Tricky Tortoise (African Animal Tales) – Mwenye Hadithi, Hodder Children’s Books

You will need:

Tortoise 1
  • 1 small paper bowl per tortoise
  • Scrap card
  • Coloured paper
  • PVA glue and spreaders
  • Stapler
  • Googly eyes
  • Felt tipped pen
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