DIY skeleton made from cotton buds

We find skeleton activities are always a hit at SUPA STEM HQ. There’s something so fun about them!

Kids love discovering interesting facts about the human skeleton and are often amazed by how many different bones there are in the body. 

They also often enjoy looking at animal skeletons and comparing their own skeletons to those of dinosaurs.

That’s why we jumped at the chance to give this cotton bud skeleton craft by Natalie from Raising Little Kings a go.

An easy skeleton craft for kids

This skeleton craft made with Q-tips is perfect for exploring the biology of the human body. It makes a great Halloween activity too!

One of the best things about making a cotton bud skeleton is that it’s fun for all ages.

For younger children and preschoolers, you might need to draw out a simple outline for them to follow.

Older and more confident kids can have a go at figuring out the outline of the skeleton themselves, and even add more cotton tips to create a more detailed structure. 

halloween skeleton craft with q tips

What you need to make a cotton bud skeleton picture

How creative you want to get with this activity is really up to you! 

You can keep things simple, like Natalie did with her kids, if that is more appropriate for your kids’ abilities and the time you have available. 

If all you want to do is create a basic outline, representing the main structure of the human skeleton, some pieces of card or paper and plenty of Q-tips should be enough.

We recommend at least A4 size paper so kids have plenty of space to create their skeleton pictures.

You will also need a thick marker pen to draw the outline of the skull, and some child-safe glue to attach the cotton buds to the paper.

If you want to get a bit more accurate and technical, your kids might find it helpful to have a skeleton diagram or model nearby to refer too.

You can easily find these with a quick search online, or pay a trip to the library if you prefer to avoid screens.

It might also be a good idea to have a thinner marker pen ready so you can label the body parts. Again, these labels can be as basic (leg, arm, head) or as complex (tibia, radius, ulna) as you like.

How to make cotton bud skeleton art

You won’t be surprised to know that there are no complicated instructions for this activity. It’s so simple that Natalie’s cute pictures tell the whole story!

To do this activity with your little ones, simply lay out plenty of cotton buds, child-safe glue and some fairly large pieces of paper or card.

Give your kids a head start with the outline of the skeleton if they need it, or let them figure it all out by themselves if they’re feeling more confident.

They can cut the Q-tips if they want to, or you may feel it is safer for you to do this for them.

They can stick to a very simple structure to start with, and add more ‘bones’ as they go.

Be sure to remind them to label the parts of the body and/or names of the bones too! This is a good literacy and spelling opportunity as well.

skeleton craft made with q tips for halloween

Doing this Q-tip skeleton craft for Halloween

This activity honestly works really well all year round, so we’d recommend always having a pot of cotton buds ready so you can pull out this activity at a minute’s notice on a rainy day!

However, our absolute favourite time of year for cotton bud skeletons is, of course, Halloween.

We reckon skeletons are in that safe zone of Halloween-themed objects that are fun and seasonal but not too creepy for younger or more sensitive children – especially when they’re only made out of cotton tips!

You can make skeletons as an educational activity at a kids’ party, or weave it into lessons either at home or in a school setting.

How to extend this cotton bud skeleton activity

There are lots of ways you can turn this activity into a wider learning opportunity if your kids are interested in the subject of skeletons.

Lots of children enjoy exploring animal skeletons – especially dinosaur ones. Making a cotton bud dinosaur skeleton, for example, might be the perfect way to learn about different kinds of skeletons.

Kids might also be very interested to know that not all animals have skeletons made up of bones.

Those who are confident with researching online or in books could work on their own or in teams to find out what their favourite animals’ skeletons look like. 

Another crazy fact about skeletons is that we are all born with many more bones than we have as adults. We actually have almost 100 fewer bones once we grow up than we did as babies. 

Even more interesting – not everyone has the same number of bones. Some people have extra fingers and toes, or other differences that cause them to have more or fewer bones than the average person. 

Older kids might enjoy exploring these facts more and explaining them to others.

We hope you’ve enjoyed discovering how to make a cotton bud dinosaur skeleton for Halloween (or any other time of year!). 

You might also like this human body model lung activity.