Service Sparks: Pet Toys from Recycled T-Shirts

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Ignite meaningful action that lights up the world through "Service Sparks" youth projects! Contact a local animal shelter to find out what their needs are. It is easy to make comfort toys and blankets for the animals who are waiting to be adopted.


Ignite meaningful action that lights up the world through "Service Sparks" youth projects! 



Our local humane society is always in need of supplies, including toys, for animals that they are caring for while the pets are waiting to find a new home. Here is an easy way to make dog toys from old T-shirts.



  1. Call a local animal shelter to learn about their work and find out what they need. Ask if they would like some homemade chew toys. Learn about any safety considerations.
  2. Gather some of your old T-shirts (with an adult’s permission) that you no longer wear. The more colorful, the better.
  3. Cut off the collar and sleeves of the T-shirts so that you can lay it out flat on a firm surface.
  4. Use your flat piece of T-shirt material and cut strips that are about 2 inches wide. It doesn’t matter what length they are as you can use different lengths to make various sizes of toys.
  5. You will be braiding together your strips of T-shirt material. These will be sturdier and last longer if you use more strands of material. For example, gather six strips of material and braid two strips in each section.
  6. Tie the ends of all of your pieces into one tight knot. Separate the material strips into thirds and braid them. Make sure to leave some room at the bottom end so that you can knot them off. Cut off the excess material.
  7. Donate these dog toys to your local shelter or humane society.

Reflection: How might these dog toys help the people who are taking care of the dogs? What other message are you sending when you take the time to make a homemade gift/toy?

Explore more Service Sparks projects:


Learning to Give ... 

  1. educates youth about philanthropy, the civil society sector, and the importance of giving their time, talent and treasure for the common good (knowledge),
  2. equips youth by encouraging philanthropic behavior and experience (skills), and,
  3. empowers youth to take voluntary citizen action for the common good in their classrooms, lives and communities (behavior).