Halloween Skeleton Craft for Kids: Book of the Week GIVEAWAY

October 2, 2012

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Book of the Week GIVEAWAY: Bones by Steve Jenkins

Why we love this book:

To say we love Steve Jenkins’ books is an understatement! His nonfiction books for children make learning both intriguing and engaging. His intricate collage illustrations immediately draw-in children (and adults). Furthermore, the facts he weaves into his books are totally fascinating.

Bones by Steve Jenkins: Book GIVEAWAY

How about taking Halloween in a new learning direction this year? Jenkins’ book Bones  introduces children to bones by exploring the differences between human and animal bones, many of them shown in actual size. Jenkins also explains how skeletons work. When I found this book, I knew I had a hit! It is amazingly cool! I was right, MacGyver fell head over heals for this book. Bones set the stage for our Halloween craft project. Both of the children were ready to dive right into the world of “paleontology” by building skeletons out of cotton swabs.

Halloween Skeleton Craft for Kids

Skeleton FamilyFun Magazine

In general, I don’t do crafts with the children. I like ART not crafts. I prefer to introduce the children to art mediums, techniques and tools and give them the freedom to express themselves. But when I saw the swab skeleton decorations in FamilyFun Magazine, I thought we could integrate a little learning fun.

Halloween Skeletons Craft


  • Bones by Steve Jenkins
  • cotton swabs
  • cotton balls
  • black paper
  • glue (we upgraded to Fast Grab Tacky Glue)
  • plastic mat or wrap

Halloween Skeletons Craft

Swap Skeleton, Miss Enigma, age 5

The Truth About Crafts!

  • Here’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth . . .
  • The Elmer’s Glue was too runny and the cotton swabs did not easily stick to each other.
  • Miss Enigma, age 5, was quickly frustrated and DONE with the craft.
  • Mommy: “Would you like to make the arms longer? Would you like to add hands? Your skeleton doesn’t have any ribs, how about adding ribs?”
  • Miss Enigma: “Nope, Nope and NO! I’m DONE.”

Halloween Skeletons Craft

Swap Skeleton, Miss Enigma, age 5

With some help from Mommy, Miss Enigma did add a few ribs and a face.

  • It took forever to dry.
  • Even dry it is still fragile.
  • I consider this a high maintenance craft. I DO NOT do high maintenance!

Halloween Skeletons Craft

Swap Skeleton, MacGyver, age 9

The Rest of the Story

  • At the other end of the table we had the other extreme . . .
  • MacGyver: “When I finish the human skeleton, can I make animal skeletons?”
  • Mommy, “Sure.”
  • The book Bones includes a page with all 206 bones in the human body laid out (some assembly required).
  • MacGyver proceeded to try to make an exact replica of a human skeleton (out of cotton swabs)!
  • Mommy: “Don’t worry if it’s exact. Just have fun and make a skeleton. It doesn’t have to be perfect!”
  • MacGyver: “NO! I want to make it real. I’m going to make this side and then turn it over and add the rib cage like a real skeleton.”
  • The Elmer’s Glue took forever to dry!

Halloween Skeletons Craft

The Plot “Thickens”

  • While the glue dries . . .
  • MacGyver: “Mommy, these are so cool. We can play paleontology and build skeletons!”
  • Hence the nickname MacGyver!
  • MacGyver upgraded to Fast Grab Tack Glue. It worked quite nicely.

Halloween Skeletons Craft

Bat Skeleton Puzzle

  • MacGyver built a Bat Skeleton.
  • The jaw includes 2 pieces that fit together perfectly and it actually opens and closes.
  • Each part of the skeleton is a piece to the puzzle so others can put the skeleton together.
  • So happy I have a son who is always thinking outside of the box (or beyond Mommy’s agenda).

Lesson Learned

  • When teaching, be flexible!
  • Don’t be afraid to abandon a project that isn’t working!
  • Stay away from crafts, stick to art!

skeleton ask Magazine

ask Magazine (arts & science for kids)

  • October 2012 issue is focused on skeletons and how they work.
  • The book Bones by Steve Jenkins is highlighted in the issue!

Let me encourage you to give a Steve Jenkins book to the children in your life this Christmas. Children love his gorgeous nonfiction books. Also visit stevejenkinsbooks.com to find out where he gets his ideas, how he plans his books and how he creates his illustrations.

For more Halloween FREE printable learning materials, FREE printable books, and hands-on learning activities check-out all of our posts in our Halloween Theme section.

Life with Jeannine

Bones by Steve Jenkins: Book GIVEAWAY

We’re GIVING AWAY one hardcover copy of  Bones by Steve Jenkins.

To enter this contest, just answer the following question in the comments section of this post.

Have you ever tried a craft or project that did NOT work? I’m sure I’m the only one to which this has happened!  (Or just say “Hey.” We’re flexible around here.)

The Rules:

One entry per person, please.

No entries after 8:00 pm Central Time, Sunday, October 7, 2012

The winner must be a resident of The United States.

The winner will be selected at random and announced Monday, October 8, 2012. Check back to claim your prize. It might be you!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Gidget October 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Well, we did Owl Pellets – the kids loved dissecting them, but I was horrified with the amount of prep work – and the danger level of making sure that they didn’t touch them – YUCK!

Jeannine October 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I’ve always wanted to do those Owl Pellets with the kids (but then again, not so much!).

Robin October 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I have done an art project that did not work and the children were the first ones to say.. “Ms. Robin I do not think this is a good idea” and they were right!

Tiffany October 2, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I think only about 85% of our projects turn out as expected but it keeps thing interesting.

Tara H October 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I am art AND craft challenged! Therefore most of the things we try to do (key word, try!) end up rather…hmmm…laughable! Thankfully a couple of our boys are more gifted than I so they usually have good ideas on how to fix things….I’ve learned to listen…because just like daddies, boys like to know that they’ve come to the rescue. :)

Ellie October 3, 2012 at 4:57 am

Last year, we tried to make some hand-painted Christmas tree ornaments from plain glass balls. Nobody was pleased with the results because they just turned out with big drippy globs of paint that started to flake off immediately. The paint would not stick where it was meant to stick! But we still put them on the Tree, and now, it’s a funny, happy memory.

Mike Davis October 4, 2012 at 11:53 am

the older ones have done the Owl pellets–but the four younger ones are doing bird houses out of popsicle sticks that is turning out cool– and making cards with leaf presses for the grand parents–those are cool

Beccah Larsen October 8, 2012 at 9:56 am

I tried stamping washers to make necklaces with the neices….but I didn’t realize that you needed a stamp block or a really hard stabile surface….I had some sad girls because I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working!

Grace October 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm

We tried to make an “invisible cow” model once. Too bad that small kids don’t realize supergule is permanent and the cow had knees that went the wrong way.

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