How Tall is a Baby Giraffe?

babygiraffe This activity can be a great extension of a story read during circle time that introduces the giraffe to children.


  • To acquaint children with a new animal
  • To encourage creativity and self esteem
  • To build fine motor, language and math skills
  • To introduce scientific concepts about giraffes

Before You Start: At circle time, read a story that includes images of mother and baby giraffes. Point out their height to the children and ask who they think is taller, a human child or the baby giraffe (calf). (Note: a giraffe calf is 5 to 6 feet tall at birth. The mother is about 18 feet.) Next, prepare all supplies for project: bulletin board paper, scissors, black markers, yellow watercolor paint, brown tempera paint, paint rollers, measuring tape, paint smocks, paint sponges, paint trays, clothespins, scraps of black and brown yarn, glue and a mat or newspaper to protect the work surface from paint. This activity can be done outside or inside.

Let's Get Started! Step 1. Have children help measure 5 feet of butcher paper using a measuring tape. If appropriate, have one or two of the children help cut the paper off the roll.

Step 2. Have children wear paint smocks. Give everyone paint rollers, and ask them to paint the paper with yellow watercolor.

Step 3. After paper dries (or the next day) ask the children for ideas on how to make the paper look like a giraffe. Ask questions that will help lead the children to the conclusion that the painted paper can be cut into the shape of a giraffe. Note: the teacher should draw a giraffe on the paper and cut out per children's directions, making sure the baby giraffe remains approximately 5 feet tall.

Step 4. Ask the children what else the shape needs to make it look more like a giraffe. For example, does it need spots? Does it need a mane?

Step 5. Have children use sponges and brown paint to add spots (some children may add handprints to look like spots).

Step 6. Children can add a mane and a tail by using leftover yarn. Eyes can be added with black marker. Hang your class giraffe on display in the classroom.

Furthermore: Extend the activity by measuring children next to the giraffe on the wall to show them how much taller the giraffe is compared to their height. Have children write their names on a card and display it on or near the giraffe at their measured heights. If preferred, you can start this activity using a yellow roll of paper, but white paper will provide a more open-ended option.

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