Cat bed. Source: Bored Panda

Cat bed. Source: Bored Panda

Alright everyone! So you’ve learned how to use area in the real world, measuring your dining room table, living room, or rug. As we promised, in this activity, you’ll use area and perimeter to bring your imagination to life.

Today, you’ll build a bed (or playpen) for your long-suffering dog or cat. If you don’t have pets at all, feel free to build a bed for your friend’s pet instead.

This time though, you’ll need an adult (or at least a teenager) to help. If your parents are busy, see if your older brother, sister, or cousin are around.

What you’ll need (Materials):

  1. Something to measure with: Because you’re probably building something big enough for a pet (even if you don’t have a huge Siberian Husky or fat cat), you will once again need measuring tape.
  1. Paper: Blank paper to plot out your master plan!
  1. Something to cut with: Strong scissors to cut through cloth and paper are really helpful.
Doesn't this dog deserve a softer bed?

Doesn’t this dog deserve a softer bed?

If you have an adult or teenager around to help you, an X-acto knife, or any other straight-edge razor is really helpful. Just be careful not to cut yourself!

  1. Steel ruler: “But don’t we already have measuring tape?” you might ask. Well, the truth is that if you have an Exacto razor, you’ll need something to cut against
  1. Building materials: think about what you want to make your pet’s bed from. Do you want to build a soft, fluffy bed from sunflower cloth? Or do you want to build a hard bed that’s good for your pet’s back?  You’ll need at least a big piece of fabric with a 60-inch area (for blankets), a cushion, and something to be the bed (more on this later!)
  1. Sharpie: You’ll need this to keep track of the numbers, draw out the lines, and measure out the area for your pet’s new bed!
  1. Pet: You’ll need to have your pet around, but be sure it’s friendly! When in doubt, ask the owner (whether it’s your parents or your friend). Be careful not to hurt the pet when you’re measuring them, and have a treat (or just lots of praise and encouragement) ready.
  1. Paint, paintbrushes, and art supplies.
Rest is important after a long day!

Rest is important after a long day!


Here’s the fun part!

  1. Measure your dog or cat.
    Be gentle! Pet your dog or cat, and give them a treat if you can. Be sure to measure the length of their legs (luckily, all their legs are probably the same length), the length of their body, tail, and, if you want, the size of their head. But again, be nice or they may scratch or bite you.
  2. Now that you know how tall your dog or cat is, write it down here.

    Leg length:

    Body length:

    Head length:

    Tail length:
  3. Based on these measurements, how big do you think your pet’s bed should be? Remember, you don’t like it when your arms and legs hang out of your bed, so why would your dog or cat?

    How much area will I give __________?

    Length of box

    Width of box

    Minimum area:
  4. Now that you’ve figured out the minimum area for your pet to be comfortable, let’s measure out the area on the fabric you have. Use your measuring tape and Sharpie to mark it out before you cut it.

  5. Now, it’s time to find something to make your pet’s bed out of. Go around the house, the backyard, or if your parents are ok with it, the neighborhood! Look around for some boxes, or square-shaped structures. Here are some ideas:

    An old cardboard box

    A milk crate

    An old drawer

    A broken table (turn it upside down)

    Old shelves

An old table used as a cat bed. Image Source: Architecture Art Designs.

An old table used as a cat bed. Image Source: Architecture Art Designs.

  • What did you find? Does it fit your blanket and the cushion that you have?
  • Decorate! You don’t want your dog or cat to sleep in a boring old box, drawer, or shelf, right? So decorate it with your paints. Be sure to stay away from glitter or anything else that can fall off and end up being eaten by your pet! Draw some designs, like suns, bones for your dog, or even big tuna for your cat!
  • Let the paint dry. This is super important! The last thing we want is for your dog or cat to lick the paint or play with it!
  • Put the cushions and blanket in, and wait for your pet to sleep in it.
  • Take a picture and post it on Facebook for everyone to enjoy!


    Doesn't this little guy deserve his own bed?

    Doesn’t this little guy deserve his own bed?