Help a Cause

A. Wills
Multiple Subject Teacher

Students will use recycled materials to create toys for a local shelter.

Grade Level: 5 - 8th

Subject: Environmental, Social Studies

Length of Time: 30 - 60 Minutes

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Objectives & Outcomes

Learners will follow directions to create a dog toy from an old t-shirt. This saves the t-shirt from going in the trash and creates a toy for a shelter animal.

Materials Needed

  • old t-shirts (any size or color as long as there are no embellishments that can come off)
  • scissors
  • video demonstration (link included)
  • rulers


Opening to Lesson

Begin by telling students one way to help the environment is by using old materials to make something useful. This keeps items out of the landfill. The new items can benefit someone or something else. Explain that the project will benefit shelter animals by creating new toys for them to play with.

Body of Lesson

  • Have students cut the bottom half of an old t-shirt off (just below the sleeves, the truck on the t-shirt).
  • Cut two inch strips from the material (creating loops).
  • Cut the loops at one end.
  • Tie all the strips together with a knot.
  • Using a box braid, create a toy for shelter dogs to enjoy.


Allow students visit the shelter to present the toys or mail the toys to the local shelter with a class picture or video.

Video Link:

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Assessment & Evaluation

Assessment will be based on participation and student ability to follow directions appropriately.

Modification & Differentiation

Some students with limited dexterity may be better simply cutting strips instead of creating the toys.

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