play jungle picture


Welcome to another Wacky Workshops project – how to make a play jungle.

This is a favourite with the grandchildren and my private students.

The mystery, danger and magic of the jungle and its creatures have captured the imagination of people for centuries.

The jungle is a magical setting where anything is possible. From a man with extraordinary talents who was brought up by apes (Tarzan) to a place filled with thought-to-be-extinct dinosaurs (The Lost World: Jurassic Park), the jungle setting offers an abundance of opportunities for the imagination to go wild.

Even better, this creativity project becomes its own wonderful game to keep the children entertained for hours.

The students and grands have made dinosaur jungles and those featuring dragons, fairies, secret traps and obstacles and more.

Once you have the basic jungle design sorted, you can fill it with anything you want.




play jungle picture


  • Cardboard (from a carton is great)
  • Cardboard rolls – various lengths
  • Coloured paper (or you could paint white paper)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Various craft items (depending on what you plan to fill your jungle with) NOTE: wooden pegs are very handy for animal legs.


  • It looks better if you cut your cardboard into a curvy shape, rather than leave is square or rectangular.
  • Colour the cardboard, using paint, markers, crayons or coloured paper.
  • Decide how many trees you want in the jungle. This will be largely determined by how big your cardboard is. I like to group them in threes, or fives.
  • For each tree, cut into the end of a cardboard roll about 2-3 cm to create strips.
  • Splay out the strips you’ve created and glue them to the cardboard base.
  • Cut large leaf shapes from green paper (using various shades add to the picture) or paper you have painted green.
  • Cut into the leaf shape edges to form fronds.
  • Attach these to the top of the trees with sticky tape or glue.
  • Cut a curvy shape from blue paper to form a watering hole.
  • Glue this to the cardboard base.

That’s pretty much it for your jungle base. Easy, right?




Now it’s time to decide what kind of jungle this will be.

One of the Goddesses opted for a fairy jungle (of course).  Therefore, we needed to make a special fairy home and a wishing tree. This tree was special and had to be different from the cardboard roll trees.


play jungle picture


One student opted for a dinosaur jungle. He drew his own pterodactyl, made a brontosaurus from a cardboard roll and used air dry clay to make a nest and dino eggs.


play jungle picture


A wooden clothes peg was transformed into a crocodile and some rocks were added (for authenticity 🙂 ).

That’s the beauty of this project. It really encourages creative thinking. When students express a desire to include a specific creature in their jungle, I ask them what they think they could make it from. They come up with the ideas and I supply the materials. If I don’t have the materials they want, they are encouraged to alter their plan to use the materials we have on hand. This is easily done at home too.

The play jungle can become the setting for any kinds of creatures your child is interested in.

You could even make it an underwater jungle for those who like sea creatures.

The Wacky jungle is more traditional and home to a lion, giraffe, elephant and crocodile. New animals are added occasionally which makes this a great project to return to from time to time.




The craft items you use will depend on the animals you (well, your child) choose to make.

You can see in the picture how useful wooden pegs are for legs. It’s much more fun for the kids if the animals can be freestanding. The giraffe and elephant shapes are super simple to draw and then cut out.


play jungle picture


A fun addition to the elephant was the party blower which the kids can use to imitate a trumpeting elephant.


play jungle picture


The lion was made with a cardboard roll, foam ball and fringed orange paper for the mane. Don’t have a foam ball? Think outside the box. Scrunched up newspaper covered in masking tape and then painted works wonderfully as well.


play jungle picture


We used green pipe cleaners on a wooden peg for the crocodile but (as you can see in the picture of my student’s dino jungle, above), green paper also works fine.


play jungle picture


The Goddesses never tire of playing with the jungle and coming up with new adventures. Private students also love to play with it and then it sparks their imagination and enthusiasm to create their own play jungle.

What kind of creatures will be in your play jungle?

Check out my Pinterest board for more fun projects for little ones.

Happy crafting and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.


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