Crafting with kids: Recycled Lion

My Boy's homework this weekend was to make a model animal. He knew he definitely wanted to make a cat, and we decided to upcycle some of his old clothes to do it. I was very keen not to go down the route of a model made from junk packaging which would then need to be kept and not recycled.

We had already scoured the internet and Pinned some cats he liked the look of for inspiration, then set about looking for suitable fabrics. He decided an old yellow t-shirt would make a great lion and a brown one would be good for his mane and "the fluffy bits on his tail".  

After we designed the lion together this morning, he drew the face on with an air erasable pen and embroidered it by hand, using a little felt triangle for his nose. He recycled some stuffing from an Ikea cushion which cost 89p as that worked out much cheaper than the filler I use for my hexipuffs. My sewing machine was a bit too fast for him - especially with this stretchy jersey fabric - so after trying to sew the head with me, I had to sew the body parts together after he'd filled them all. I think it was a really good experience for him, as it's the first time he's really made anything like this. (Me too.) In a society where things are mass produced and are largely disposable, I think it's important for children to understand how things are made and to appreciate the time and effort that goes into them.

This afternoon both of the kids want to make some lion paintings - hopefully that'll keep them occupied while I cook the roast! 


  1. The face is adorable! He did a great job. I reckon it'll be the most admired model in class on Monday.

  2. The lion is great. And obviously your son and you have had fun making it! I would be very pleased and surprised if a student of mine made such a lovely animal. :-)

  3. It is very adorable! I agree with Tink in that it will be the most admired model in the class. I think this is a wonderful homework task for young children too!!

  4. what a great idea! & great toy to keep at the end too, i bet he's really proud of his lion x

  5. What an awesome idea, it turned out so well, he will be so proud! Hope you are feeling much better now, just think spring is just around the corner ... Unfortunately that means autumn for us! Jxo

  6. That lion is brilliant, I bet it will be the talk of the classroom.

  7. Crochet with Raymond29 January 2012 at 19:11

    awesome Sarah! He looks like he is having a wonderful time too!
    Love your lion and the messages you are teaching your kids!

  8. As a teacher, (who admitedly doesnt have any children of her own yet so finds it very easy to judge ;) ) I think activities like this are invaluable to the development of our children. Not only their fine motor skills but their speaking and listening and cooperation. It is SO important that children are given opportunities like this. Not only does it look like a lot of fun but he will be so proud of himself and will probably value that lion far more than any of the mass produced toys and games he may own. (But dont tell my Hubby I said that, he works for a rather large national toy retailer!)
    I find it incredible how many children are just left to entertain themselves infront of the telly or games console. I wish more parents were like you.

    1. Thank you. I had a good role model - my mum was trained as a Nursery Nurse before she had me and we did lots of things together - we were always reading and making things, having "unbirthday parties" (when it's no one's birthday) and playing together when I was little.

      Of course, it's not ALL guided activities here, they do have access to selected children's TV channels, our laptops/ iPads and LOTS of toys too - but I think it's all about moderation and am careful with it all. They are given choices and mostly choose well - we mix it up. There are a lot of hours in the day, and some are spent relaxing on a beanbag with TV on a suitable programme (necessary for them as much as me!), but they are curious and intelligent little creatures and if they have the option of painting, doing something together, going out etc it will usually be selected over the more sedentary options. If they look like they need to chill out because they are exhausted I encourage that too - it's important for them to learn to listen to their bodies and their physical needs as well.


    2. Oh yes totally, I wasnt saying all tv is bad. (it certainly hasnt done me any harm! :) )
      And children need to be able to join the playground conversations about Dr Who or what ever it is their friends are talking about
      But I've heard so many parents say they dont have time to read with their children or that it's too much of a battle to get them to read.
      Such a shame for their reading and their quality time together.

      I suppose too much of anything isn't good.

      Rant over ;)

    3. *chuckle* I completely agree with you - it is an unfortunate state of affairs

      Although Dr Who isn't on the "acceptable" list here yet - or anything with killing actually, although we talk about animals killing others to eat and we are meat eaters. Apparently he isn't very "street wise" compared with many in his class. Long may it continue!!!


  9. Replies
    1. I love this. I have a 7 year old and my inclination with such homework is to always go to the stash and scraps and see what we can rustle up together. My son loves it and it now adept on the sewing machine. I get my craft fix. The teachers always seem to love getting something a little different (although when one Dad is a professional chain saw carver .....!). However ... I work (more than) full time and despite my absolute best intentions, feel I never give enough time to this sort of activity with the little one. It's nothing but a permanent guilt trip ...


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