Create a 3D Manatee Craft Project
(Suitable for 3rd graders and up)


Here’s a fun project to help kids and parents learn about manatees. Use the following materials to create 3D manatees and place them in their natural habitat. You can find these supplies at an arts and crafts store or substitute items you have around the house and yard. You are limited only by your imagination!

Eleven-year-old Clayton Roberts and his mom Paula (Save the Manatee Club's bookkeeper), designed this activity and Clayton demonstrates the steps. After you create your own display, parents can email photos of you and your project to, and we may put them on our web site!

See photos of other finished 3D Craft Projects

Instructions for the project are below. You can also click here to get a pdf copy of the instructions.

Supply List

Cardboard poster board or display board
Ocean blue and light green paint
Glue stick
Polyfill or cotton balls
Plain white paper
Markers and crayons
Plastic wrap
Manatee drawings (pdf - click here to download and print)



1. Learn about manatees, where they are found, and see photos and video showing their habitat and what they eat. You can find that information at the following web site pages:

Manatee Facts

Manatee Habitat
Manatee Food
Manatee Video
Manatee and Habitat Photos
at Blue Spring State Park

Paint poster board
Paint poster board.

2. Paint poster board with blue paint. Let dry.

3. Color manatee drawings, outline in marker, and cut out.

Cover poster board with plastic wrap
Place greenery
Cover poster board with plastic wrap and add greenery.

4. Line up the manatee drawings together. Staple the top edge of the manatee, stuff with polyfill or cotton balls, then staple around the rest of the manatee.

5. Cut out sand dunes from white paper and color.

6. Add some green paint to the blue on the poster board. Let dry.

7. Cover the poster board with plastic wrap using glue sticks.

8. Cut pieces of greenery to use for seagrass, water hyacinth, hydrilla, and other vegetation that manatees eat.
Cover board with plastic wrap
Glue sand dunes and vegetation to poster board.

9. Glue sand dunes to poster board.

10. Glue vegetation to the poster board.

11. Glue the 3D manatees to the poster board.

12. Enjoy your 3D Manatee Craft Project!


  • Instead of gluing the manatees to the poster board, kids may want their manatees to be able to “swim” from grass bed to grass bed, interacting with other manatees in the habitat.
  • Name the manatees and give them the traits of real-life individuals. For example: Phyllis has given birth to twins, and Deep Dent was named because of his unique scar, etc. Here’s a link with the names and descriptions of the manatees in Save the Manatee Club’s Adopt-A-Manatee program.
  • Label plants and other flora and fauna in the habitat.

Clayton and Paula
Clayton Roberts and his mom Paula and the completed 3D Manatee Craft Project. (Photo by Nancy Sadusky, Save the Manatee Club.)

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