Make Your Own Creature Workshop #AASL17

Make Your Own Creature Workshop #AASL17 | I led a Make Your Own Creature workshop at AASL and it was a blast.  Here's how to host one.

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A Creature Workshop

Towards the end of last school year, one of my students came up with one of my favorite design challenges:  Make a creature that does something.  That’s it.  This prompt wins for simplicity and the designs that people come up with for it are always amazing.

A few months ago, ABC-CLIO, the publisher of my book Challenge Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace, and I were talking about possible activities to host in the booth to promote my book, and my mind went back to the Creature Challenge.  It was such a fun, open-ended challenge and I know it would translate well into a quick, fun maker activity that librarians would love.

We all had a blast making creatures in the vendor hall

We all had a blast making creatures in the vendor hall

Suggested Supply List

Here’s the list of supplies we had at the booth for this workshop.  I post this mainly because several people asked me to, but remember that you could do a challenge like this with any materials.  The total runs about $150 if you buy everything on this list, but of course, you could pick and choose items and run a similar workshop for a lot less (or look at what you already have and work from there).  This amount of supplies could easily support several classes – we had maybe about 20 or so people stop by the booth in one hour and we still had a TON of supplies leftover.

Some of the amazing creatures made during the workshop

Some of the amazing creatures made during the workshop

Hosting the Creature Workshop

As librarians stopped by the Creature Workshop in the booth, I would offer a brief explanation.

The goal is to make a creature that does something.  What “does something” means is up to you own interpretation.  Your creature could be something that brings happiness to people because it’s cute.  It could be a practical creature that helps you pick up things.  You creature could light up the book that you’re reading.  Your imagination is the only limit.

The projects that everyone came up with were amazing!  We had a tiny Harry Potter with a light up broom.  Several creatures that decorated conference badges.  Quite a few bookmark creatures.  A creature that could hold your business cards for you.  There was so much creativity all around!

Translating to your school

This would be an easy maker activity to replicate with your students and/or teachers.  It only takes a little prompting, but it can go a long way in building a maker culture in your school.  And if you want something more in depth, add a bit to the prompt. Here are some ideas for more involved, curriculum-based challenges:

  • Make a creature that does something that can help the environment
  • Make a mythical creature based on your research of mythology
  • Design a creature that could help explorers colonize Mars

By the way, if you like that table we’re working on, you have Custom Educational Furnishings (CEF) to thank for that – they graciously loaned it to ABC-CLIO for the workshop.

Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog She was a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest from 2015-2018. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.


  1. What a great activity to use up those odds and ends that seem to accumulate.

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