Big M, my overly imaginative 3 year old, has become fascinated by animal tracks. It started last summer, going for walks on the beach boardwalk by our house. She loved to make footprints in the sand, and check out the tracks left behind by the seagulls. Fast forward a few months to winter, and she was over the moon that she could make visible footprints again in the snow… and better still, see all kinds of animal tracks in it as well. MerMer, our Texas Grandma, further fueled the fascination by sending us Whose Tracks Are These?: A Clue Book of Familiar Forest Animals for Christmas.
Now, every night after her bath, she stomps back and forth, and stares with pride at her “paw prints” all over the bath mat.
I’ve started correcting her:
“M, only animals, like bears and dogs, make paw prints. What do people make? FOOT prints!”
“Oh, right, Mama… foot prints!”
But her continued fascination with the topic, got me to thinking – how excited would she be to make her own paw prints and animal tracks? So I set out to make it our activity one snowy afternoon.
Animal Track Template Printable
Hot glue gun
Cost: Less than $10
Prep Time: 30 minutes, to make two sets of animal tracks
Clean Up Time: 10 minutes
While the girls had their daily quiet time (Lil’ M, my 18 month old, naps while Big M plays quietly in her room), I printed off page size animal tracks – a bear paw, dog print, wild cat print and a moose track. I used these as my templates to create pairs of animal tracks out of a cardboard box. I first cut out the outline of the track, then made a second cardboard layer with the track details, attaching the two layers with hot glue. To make the matching pair, be sure to flip the track over so you create a left and a right track.
To attach them to her feet, I made two 1.5” long incisions with an X-Acto knife, about a 3 year old foot width apart, and threaded through a 2-3’ long piece of ribbon. If I did this activity again, I would have added the ribbon BEFORE gluing on the track details, so the ribbon didn’t show up in our tracks. But that didn’t stop Big M from having a great time…
When quiet time was over, I told her we were going to make “paw prints!” She was so excited. I rolled builder’s paper down the length of our dining area, and taped it to the floor with painters tape. A roll of builder’s paper has over 150’ of paper on it, and is great for murals, wrapping gifts, or as a quick clean up surface for messy crafts. You can buy it for $5 to $10 on Amazon or at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot. We are still on our first roll after almost 2 years.
She wanted to try on the bear paws first. I tied them to her feet, and had her sit down on the floor while I painted a thick coat of paint on them. Then, I helped her stand up and let her walk up and down the paper. Next, she tried the moose hooves. As always, her 3 year old ingenuity drastically exceeds my own - when she tired of making the big animal tracks, she asked me if we could make some smaller ones with her plastic frogs and lizards.
While she ran to grab them, I cut a sponge in half, wet it and added some paint to it on a plastic plate. She spent another half hour making small animal tracks with her plastic animals. Lil’ M got in on the fun with these too. Now, every time we read Whose Tracks are These?, she talks about the time she made her own animal tracks.
To create your own animal tracks, download our free printable. It includes templates for four different animal tracks, as well as a fun Whose Tracks Are These? matching game to play after reading the book and making your own animal tracks.
What animals leave tracks around your house? Have you ever gone on a nature walk to look for tracks? If you enjoyed Making Animal Tracks, be sure to check out all our At Home Activities on Pinterest!
In addition to maintaining a database of local family-friendly events and activities, she also writes as the PGPB Guru, offering weekly household and parenting Tuesday Tips, shares kids’ crafts, adventures and recipes in At Home Activities, and informed by her former career, publishes Financially Savvy Fridays.