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Cardboard Fish or Owl Project




This art project was a huge success with my Kinder students. If you have some extra corrugated cardboard and a few bored kids, try creating these abstract fish and owls. I won’t lie. It took a while to cut out 65 fish shapes plus the notches and mouth openings, but my Kinder students loved creating this cute project.


  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • 12″ x 18″ colored sulphite drawing paper
  • Colorful yarn
  • Scissors
  • Craft paper
  • Paper towel rolls
  • White liquid tempera paint (or craft acrylic paint)

Making the fish

To start, we added a bright pink or turquoise background. I happen to have a boxful of paper towel rolls, so I cut them into segments and gave a tray of white paint and the roll segments to each table. Children stamped bubbles all over their background paper, keeping in mind that their fish will occupy most of the center. Paper scraps were brought out and the children had a great time cutting fins, scales, eyes and teeth for their fish.

There is so much going on with this lesson: composition, squeezing glue bottles, wrapping and handling long strands of yarn, cutting, stamping and most of all…creating.

This can be a messy project, but if you organize the paper scraps in white trays and only give a few pieces of scraps to each table (see the photo above), then it becomes slightly more manageable. Also, if you can pre-cut the lengths of yarn for wrapping around the fish, you won’t have to stand by the yarn and monitor the yarn table.

Kinder Cardboard Fish

You can also rearrange the shapes to create cardboard owls!



  1. I love seeing them all grouped together … what a lovely work of art.

    Tracey Fisher

    December 7, 2011

  2. I don’t want to sound like an idiot Patty, but you DID cut the fish shapes out for the kids, right?


    December 7, 2011

    • Yes…I referred to that in my original post. Lots of cutting!!!


      December 8, 2011

  3. Love these! Did you pre-cut the notches or did your students do it?


    December 9, 2011

    • Yes! Too hard for little hands.


      December 12, 2011

  4. Superbes ces poissons. Je garde l’idée pour dans qques jours le 1er avril !! MERCI !!


    March 18, 2012

  5. Love this- perfect for my special needs elementary kiddos. Also, when I do yarn projects I cut yarn before hand and tape the bundle to the black board using masking tape. The kids press one hand over the tape while pulling down on one strand with the other hand. This allows them all access to the yarn without every kid yelling, “I need the yarn now!” Especially helpful when weaving with multiple colors!


    March 20, 2012

  6. Recoucou !!
    ça y est… nous avons fait votre technique pour nos poissons rouges du 1er avril….voyez le résultat dans notre univers.
    Et pour tous ceux qui passeraient par chez nous… laissez-nous un p’tit message ! Merci !
    Félicitations encore pour toutes vos superbes idées.
    A bientôt !


    March 31, 2012

  7. I love this project. So simple and so effective!


    January 9, 2013

  8. i like it


    July 18, 2015

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