Make a bottle basking shark

Basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world and the largest fish we have in Scottish waters. They feed by filtering the water for really small animals called zooplankton – which is why they swim around with their mouths wide open!

While you’re indoors, or in your garden, see if you can make your own bottle version of this magnificent animal. Once you’re done, you can use it as a puppet and make your bottle basking shark swim with its mouth open, just like the real ones!


Basking shark © Alexander Mustard/2020VISION
Basking shark © Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

What you will need:

  • A clean, old, plastic bottle
  • Pieces of coloured paper or card (or colourful magazines or tissue paper)
  • A permanent marker pen
  • Tape
  • A garden cane (or stick)

How to make your bottle basking shark:

  1. Using the pictures in the downloadable sheet as a guide, cut off the ends of the plastic bottle and shape one end for the basking shark’s head. You might need a grown-up to help with this as plastic can be tricky to cut and it can leave sharp edges.
  2. Using the permanent pen – draw on the eyes and gill slits (sharks have five gill slits on each side).
  3. Cut the coloured paper or card into strips. Stick them to the end of the bottle basking shark’s body.
  4. Ask a grown-up to make two holes, just after the bottle basking shark’s eye – one at the top and one at the bottom of the bottle.
  5. Then, ask them to help you push the garden cane or stick through these holes, and use tape to hold it in place.
  6. Your bottle basking shark is now ready to go for a swim!


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Time to complete

1 hour

Suitable for age

Suitable location

Resource Level

Curriculum linked

Sciences (Biology; ecology; natural history; planet Earth topic)

Expressive Arts (Art and design)


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