Lesson 1: Designing a stuffed toy

Children decide upon a simple shape on which to base their stuffed toys and record the materials that they will use to create it

Before the lesson


  • Teacher video: Designing a stuffed toy
  • Pupil video: Designing a stuffed toy
Teacher video: Designing a stuffed toy

Pupil video: Designing a stuffed toy

Have ready


  • Activity: Toy design sheet (see Classroom resources)
Activity: Stuffed toy design sheet
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Learning objective

  • To design a stuffed toy


National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussions, annotated sketches, cross sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer aided design

Success criteria

Success criteria:

    • I know how to ensure that my template is proportional
    • I can make a paper template

Cross-curricular links

  • Nothing relevant to this lesson

Attention grabber

Show the children examples of homemade soft toys using the suggested links:


You could also hold up some examples of homemade toys.

In this topic, the children are going to make a stuffed toy for a younger child. You could narrow the age range of the recipient or the theme of the toy to make the task more specific (such as a character from a story, a creature type, or a bedtime toy).

You can spend some time working on character descriptions for the toys that the children are going to create ( ‘The Lost Thing’, ‘The Arrival’, ‘There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom’, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, etc).

If your class followed the Textiles topic in Year 3, ask the children to remind you how they made their cushions, as these stuffed toys will use the same approach. (The children made a fabric shell and stuffed it).

The children should consider how practical their shape will be to make.  Encourage the children to think of really simple designs so that they can finish them to a high standard.The children will make the main body first before adding any extra components.

To help the children getting the design idea practical and simple, show the children the link:

This may help the children to think of their toy having one main round body to which extras can be added as details.

Main event

Play the children the Pupil Video: Designing a soft toy.  You may want to keep this running during the lesson so that the children can refer to it while you circulate and help individuals.

Design (10 minutes)

Give each child a copy of the Activity: Toy design sheet.  The children use this to draw their design, annotating their drawing with notes about the materials and techniques that they will use. The children should add notes on extra pieces of fabric they want to use for detail; any decorative stitches buttons or beads to be used.

Ask the children to consider the size of their soft toy, if it is too small then it will be very fiddly to make and if it is too large, it will take a long time to sew.  Make sure the children have some time to refine their designs if necessary.

Plan (20 minutes)

Give each child a piece of blank A4 paper or card to draw the outline of the main body of their stuffed toy.  They should make sure that the main body fills at least half of the page.

The children should draw onto the A4 paper or card any extra appendages that they will need to cut from fabric to add to the main body. They need to make sure they factor in extra space if they plan on stuffing these extra appendages as well.

Give each child a piece of fabric and instruct the children to cut out their paper/card templates and pin them to pieces of fabric, ready to cut out the next lesson.



Pupils needing extra support: Should limit their design to one key shape with simple decoration.

Pupils working at greater depth: Should incorporate different techniques and materials into their design.

Wrapping up

Recap the textiles skills the children have learnt in previous years (running stitch, cross-stitch, appliqué, glueing). Ask the children which of these skills may be useful in this project and what for?

Discuss any other skills the children think they might need.

Ask if there are any unusual materials the children would like to include.


Assessing pupils' progress and understanding

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Designing a stuffed toy considering the main component shapes required and creating an appropriate template.


Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Creating a detailed and complex design of a stuffed toy considering all of the component shapes required to make the overall toy and creating an appropriately sized template.


  • Design

  • Template

  • Model

  • Stuffed toy

  • Fabric

  • Running stitch

  • Cross-stitch

  • Appliqué

Created by:
Tom Turnham,  
Design & Technology specialist
Tom has been a teacher for seven years and, as Head of Upper School at The Belham Primary School, he has a keen interest in young people and good causes. For the past seventeen years he has volunteered with various…
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