elephant activities for children

My daughter has loved elephants since she was wee and called them "phants".

Now she is not-so-wee and spent a few glorious days at an elephant conservation centre while backpacking in SE Asia this Spring.

This post is for my elephant loving, vintage bike riding, Thai food cooking,  wonderful daughter.  Happy Birthday Anna.  

Elephants have got to be  one of the coolest animals on the planet.  

Elephants inspire creativity.
I need to track down some pretty paper and make Hodge Podge Craft's origami elephants. 
Lots of fun watering plants with an elephant's trunk - Teach Beside Me has the details. 
Tin foil, paint and the creative thinking of Kid World Craft captures the Asian elephant vibe. 
These toilet paper roll elephants from The Craft Train are just too cute for words. 
As is this cupcake liner elephant from I Heart Crafty Things.  

Handprints make fine elephants.  

Elmer, by David McKee, is a well loved children's book about a colourful elephant who learns that he is loved because of his differences, rather than in spite of them. 
Sponge paint a colourful Elmer from Buggy and Buddy. 
Crafts on Sea transforms Elmer into a beautiful sun catcher.
Colourful milk jug Elmers from The Imagination Tree
Royal Baloo makes decorated elephant puppets to act out the elephant parade at the end of the story. 

Elephants have starred and featured in other enjoyable books

The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
Dumbo - maybe not fine literature - but he is iconic. 
But No Elephants by Jerry Smith
Piggie and Elephant series by Mo Willems. 
Horton Hears a Hoo by Dr Seuss - Artsy Momma enjoys some activities with her son
Elephant Dance - Kid World Citizen has a post about a number go books about Asian Elephants. 
Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy. 
Ballet of the Elephants by Leda Schubert
How the Elephant Got his Trunk an African folktale; this is one of many retellings.  Read our review [here]
Tara and Bella by Carol Buckley.
Elephants Can Paint Too! by Katya Arnold

More elephant fun.

A couple tin cans and big toenails will help you walk like an elephant.  - Green Kids Crafts
Fun at Home with Kids has the recipe for elephant toothpaste. 
Get the wiggles out with Craftulate's Move Like an Animal game. 
Get the kids in the kitchen to help make Elephant Ears. -  The Freckled Homeschooler
Just found a different recipe for Elephant Ears from Delightful Learning

elephant printables

paint or colour an African elephant  - Learn Create Love
make a thumbprint elephant - Ed Emberly
E is for elephant - Teaching Mama
E is for elephant roll a dot game - The Measured Mom
elephant mask temple - Itsy Bitsy Fun

I'm signing off with Sharon, Lois and Bram's theme song  -- One Elephant Came Out to Play.  Enjoy. 



  1. I love EVERYTHING about this post! My daughter loves elephants since she discovered elephant is her name...Ella Faith...pretty close, eh? She now is a proud collector of all things elephant. We read a book two years ago in first grade about elephant painters. Then we used our mouths to hold paint brushes and painted a life sized baby elephant. We all agreed it was easier to paint with our hands! Thank you for sharing such meaningful content!

    1. Hi Jenny

      Our daughters have good taste in animals!

      When our kids were 11 and 13 we pulled all of us out of school for 6 months, put on our backpacks and went travelling. One of our stops was Thailand. While we were there, we stayed at an elephant conservation centre for three days. Each of us were assigned an elephant to help care for during out time there. My elephant liked to paint! On the last day we were there, they got out the easels and the painter elephants headed over (it was their choice, others chose not to). We bought a couple of pictures that my elephant painted - a bouquet of flowers and an elephant with a rider with yellow hair! I would not have believed that elephants could paint like that without signals or direction if I had not seen it! I will have to find the book that you and your daughter enjoyed together.

  2. Thanks for sharing all the fabulous elephant activities.
    Cool story in your reply about the painting elephant!

    1. Thanks Barb. The painting elephants were so amazing.

  3. Fun ideas! When I was in college I had a great teacher that also loved elephants. We spent a class learning and doing math and science curriculum ideas using elephants. One thing we did was make a life size poster of a baby elephant. I have used that poster a lot. You can have the kids stand up next to it and see if they're bigger or smaller. You can compare other objects in your classroom to it. How many blocks tall is a baby elephant - etc etc. My other personal favorite is to dance or paint to Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" song... it's just so happy and groovy. One other thing another teacher taught me is at music and movement time you can incorporate elephants into that as well. Use a little mouse - could be a picture of one on a stick or a little puppet or stuffed animal and then use an elephant - could be a picture or a plastic animal or again a puppet. You ask the kids what do you think a mouse sounds like when he sings? What do you think an elephant sounds like? Then as you sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star you hold up one of those animals at a time and sing either high or really down low... it's fun and keeps them paying attention to see what animal you will hold up. The other fun music and movement thing to do with elephants is to play the elephant song from Carnival of Animals... it's low and slow and so we march around or sway around as we walk around in a circle and we use our trunks(arms) to suck up water and drink it and then dirt and spray it on our backs and we pick leaves and eat them... etc. .just have fun with it.

  4. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful elephant ideas Amy. I am going to have to check out "Baby Elephant Walk" and "Carnival of the Animals". And I LOVE the baby elephant measuring idea. (Last November we spent some time in South Africa and saw a baby elephant that was so new that it kept falling while it was walking with its herd, and one the the grandmother matriarchs kept picking it up with her trunk. It was beautiful.)

  5. This is such an awesomely fun activity! Thank you for sharing your post with The Natural Homeschool and The Life of Jennifer Dawn Linky Party. :) See you next Wednesday! :)


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