Animal Sculpture

Make use of refuse!

Encourage your child to use household and found objects to create a horse sculpture or a sculpture of their favorite animal.

What you’ll need:

  • items from the recycling bin: cereal boxes, cardboard toilet paper or paper towel tubes, egg cartons, plastic containers, etc.
  • items from nature: twigs, branches, stones, etc.
  • items from around the house: buttons, broken toys, old dishes, rags
  • scissors
  • tape and/or glue
  • paint (optional)


As seen in Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum, Deborah Butterfield, creator of the horse sculpture Untitled (bark), uses found objects—like branches, barbed wire, and pipes—to create her forms before casting her works in bronze.

After looking at her work in Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum (p. 52), get your child thinking about what they could use to make their own sculpture. How could they turn things that aren’t being used into something new and interesting? Take a “trash to treasure” walk around your house to look for materials.

Your child may already have something they want to make in mind when looking for materials, or the materials they find may inspire their creation. Encourage them to explore the properties of the materials they plan to use. For example, cardboard can be molded or pressed into shape when damp.

Before they start building, your child may want to sketch their sculpture and talk through their plan for assembling found materials. Offer to help cut materials as needed. Kids may want to paint their finished sculpture or leave the found objects visible.

Have your child title their sculpture and find a prominent place to display this work of found art!