Children's python

There are numerous bones in the Children’s python. A pattern of bones, links to form the backbone, which begins at the head and ends at the tail. Each bone has two curved ribs attached to it, which reach almost right around the body to hold the snake together. All these bones are the same, but are quite small at the head, get larger as they move up the body, and get smaller again as they reach toward the tail.

Provide each student with a photocopy of the x-rayed snake for reference, and discuss the details that can be seen. The x-ray shows a new perspective of the snake. It shows how a snake is able to twist and turn, as all the bones are interlinked to mesh together. With the strong muscles that surround the bones the whole action of movement begins- a twisting, sliding, turning ssssssssss effect.

Suitable for:

Primary Levels


Paper Magiclay, paper, pencils

How to Make a Python

  1. Look at the pattern in an individual backbone with its attached rib bones. Make some sketches of how it looks or how it might look. Keep the shape simple, as it has to be repeated many times in the next drawing.
  2. On a piece of paper, sketch one curving snake line. This will be the line on which the backbone is drawn. Begin at one end and draw in the backbone using the shape from above. Begin making the shapes very small and slowly enlarge them until the centre is reached, then decrease them in size to the other end of the snake. The shapes will form a pattern of bones. Close observation of the skull of the x-rayed snake will be essential to add the shapes necessary for the head.
  3. Use Paper Magiclay to model a snake backbone and ribs. Use the photocopied image for reference, but do not aim at total realism. Simple shapes will work best in this activity. Begin by rolling a ball of Magiclay, flatten it into a cube and pull out the rib shapes from one side. Practise until a good shape has been made.
  4. Make a number of bones as above, ranging from small to large.
  5. Make a skeleton head for the snake. When the skeleton and head are complete, they can be left white or painted for a special effect. Allow them to dry.
  6. Use thin Armature Wire to thread through the bones to join them together. The wire can be bent easily so the snake can appear to be moving off the ground for a 3D effect.

NB: This 3D Children’s python can be made by each student on a small scale, or one large one might be constructed using many bones made by all the students, and then arranged into one large 3D snake.