Alligator Crafts for Preschoolers

by Tamara Van Hooser Google

    Alligators' rarity in the world wildlife population creates an air of exotic mystique that ignites many preschoolers' imaginations. Unless your family is of an adventurous stripe and regularly travels in the area of the southeastern United States or the Yangtze River in China, your youngster is unlikely to ever come face to face with an alligator or even see one first hand from a safe distance. But alligator crafts for preschoolers bring the reptiles directly into your home where you can safely supervise the alligator wrestling and cheer as your young adventurer triumphs over the mighty beast.

    Alligator Model

    Alligator models made of simple, sturdy materials just call out to preschool zoophiles for creative and dramatic play. Cardboard tube and paper crafts are easy enough for little hands to create with a little guidance and supervision from the zookeeper. To add a cardboard tube alligator to the bevy of your child's imaginary pets, draw a long narrow V about one-third the length of the tube opposite one another on one end. Draw zigzag triangles along the edges of both long triangle sides, top and bottom. Make the call as to your tyke's motor skills and either pre-cut this mouth opening and teeth or let her cut out the Vs and triangles. Wrap your little artist in a paint smock and cover the table or floor with newspaper and let Monet go to work painting his alligator green and brown. Draw an alligator tail shape on green construction paper or craft foam and cut it out, too. Tape it on the back end of the alligator tube body. Under careful supervision, let your preschooler attach wiggly eyes or small button eyes. For a choking hazard-free option, cut small black paper circles and let your preschooler glue them in place.

    Moveable Alligator

    If you are of an artistic bent, you can sketch out the outline of separated alligator head, body, legs and tail on poster board. But for a quick craft, DLTK Kids provides an alligator template that will suit this craft if printed on heavy paper or card stock. Let your preschooler paint or color the alligator and cut out each part separately. Attach the pieces together with brads for an instant story telling aid your preschooler can use to act out her fondest fantasies of alligator adventures.

    Puppets

    Whether you draw your own alligator, use a template or cut out a picture of a real alligator and glue it to poster board or card stock, it instantly becomes a puppet by taping a craft stick or paint stirrer to the back. Your preschooler can contribute the coloring, and possibly the cutting if his motor skills allow. He can also glue and tape. Another puppet option is to cut the alligator into head, body, legs and tail after your young artist colors it, of course, and glue the pieces to a small paper bag for a bag puppet. The head goes on the flap, the body under the flap extending down the length of the bag, the legs opposite one another on both sides and the tail hanging off the bottom, open edge. Encourage your junior puppeteer to expand his language skills by making up alligator stories and acting them out with the puppets. You can make a simple puppet theater out of a large appliance box and let your budding artist put on an evening's entertainment with puppets.

    Edible Alligators

    Nothing says dominance like eating the seemingly unassailable predator. While many real alligators are endangered and cannot be actually hunted or consumed, your alligator-loving preschooler can make an alligator snack while dreaming of wrestling an alligator and coming up triumphant. Make up a batch of sugar cookie dough or crispy rice mix colored with green food coloring. Help your preschooler wash her hands and give her a blunt edge or plastic knife. She can use the dough or cereal mix to sculpt the shape of an alligator or cut an alligator outline with the knife. The alligator krispy treats will be ready to eat immediately. For cookie dough alligators, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 12 minutes or until baked through. You may add raisin, M and M or chocolate chip eyes.

    About the Author

    Tamara Van Hooser counts publishing credits from Love and Logic Journal and the Old Schoolhouse Magazine. She graduated in applied linguistics from UC Santa Cruz and trained in elementary education at Warner Pacific College. she has more than 10 years experience teaching in public schools and homeschooling and has written professionally since 2010.

    Photo Credits

    • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images