Create Amazing Alebrijes

Ages: Toddlers, preschoolers

Materials: Paper, pencil, crayons, markers, colored pencils


In the 1930s, Mexican artist Pedro Linares became very ill. During his sickness, he dreamt of strange creatures like a donkey with the wings of a butterfly, a rooster with an eagle’s head, and other weird animal combinations. He called these creatures “alebrijes” because they were scary like nightmares. When Pedro was well again, he created papier mache sculptures that combined features from different animals, just like the creatures he had seen in his dream.

Meet the world’s first giraphant!

Above is an example of a giraphant, a combination of a giraffe and an elephant.  The giraphant’s trunk is useful for reaching things on the ground and high in the air. It doesn’t strain its neck when it bends to reach items on the ground. Its giraffe body makes it fast so it can run from predators. Its big ears allow it to hear predators coming from far away. It’s great to have a giraphant in the neighborhood. It can help you rescue kittens out of trees or wash the house. But it’s almost impossible to find a car big enough to take a giraphant to the vet.

Create an alebrije with your children

1. Ask them what animals they wish to combine. (They can name their favorite animals or choose from the drawings below.)


2. Encourage them to use their imaginations to draw and color their very own alebrije.  

3. Ask your children to describe their unique creature—what is its name, what are some of its interesting characteristics, what makes it unique, etc.  


This activity is a great way to develop your children’s artistic skills and expand their imagination!

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