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Crafts And Conversation: Spooky Black Cat Craft With The DUCK Lab

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Get crafty with the DUCK Lab! Each Friday, trained research assistants from the UNCG Psychology Department’s DUCK Lab will guide at-home crafts for children ages 3 to 12. Parents can join too to learn fun facts about crafts that foster age-appropriate skills or learn about the DUCK Lab’s nonprofit child development research projects. 

This Friday, the DUCK Lab invites all preschool and school-age friends to join Jessica and make a slightly spooky, but very adorable black cat craft! Follow along as Jessica takes you through each step and see how you can get ready for Halloween with a cat themed craft!

Parents, did you know?

This craft offers an opportunity for your children to illustrate their understanding of representation and symbolism. Read on below for more info. about the connection between these types of activities and age-appropriate developmental milestones.

We also invite you to check out our child development research opportunities, which are now modified for the virtual world! Please click here to learn more or sign up to participate with us.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:


  • Paper plate

  • Black construction paper 

  • Black tissue paper

  • Foam shapes

  • Pipe cleaners

  • Googly eyes

  • Scissors

  • Glue


  1. To make the cat’s body, cut a circle out of one side of the plate that is about a third of the size of the plate.

  2. Cut or rip strips of the black construction or tissue paper and glue them to the cat’s paper plate body.

  3. Cut out a circle for the cat’s head and a tail shape from the black construction paper.

  4. Cut out two triangles for the ears from the black construction paper and glue them to the top of the cat’s head.

  5. Use a foam shape for the nose, pipe cleaners for the whiskers, and googly eyes for the cat’s face. Glue these items on the cat’s head.

  6. Attach the head and the tail to the paper plate body with glue.

The DUCK Lab: Paper Bag Owl Puppet

Relation to Developmental Science:

The Black Cat craft is a great opportunity for preschoolers to demonstrate their growing understanding of symbols. For example, preschoolers will notice that the paper plate only shows two legs for the cat, even though they are aware that cats are typically four-legged animals. However, preschoolers understand that the craft is a symbol and therefore just a representation of a cat. This is important because preschoolers understand that certain objects can stand for other things. This craft is also made up of steps that progressively build upon one another. Preschoolers can also understand how some parts of the craft are bigger than others (e.g., the body compared to the tail). Parents can then explain why the body needs to be cut out first: it is the largest part of the craft and the smaller pieces (e.g. head, fur, tail) will be attached to it. So, the small pieces can be viewed in relation to the large body: without the main structure (body), the small pieces (e.g. head, fur, tail) do not work. This craft directs children to focus on the small parts and the whole to create the end product.

*Great for preschoolers!

The DUCK Lab is a partner in the nonprofit Child Development Research Center in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. They conduct studies of social and cognitive development with 2- to 12- year-olds. Families who participate in their research studies are volunteers in the Greensboro community who generously offer their time to help support research and training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

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