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Enjoy these FREE, printable rainy day activity sheets and learn how to make playful learning materials using PixelSquid! Tutorial included!

Today, we’re sharing three printable rainy day activity sheets that can be used in the classroom or at home. They may seem daunting at first, but the secret lies in the organization of your assets as you keep adding more elements to create your worksheet.

Check out the tutorial below so we can create one together!

How to Download the FREE Rainy Day Activity Sheets

These FREE activities focus on science and biodiversity. The sheets—along with their answer keys—can be printed out and enjoyed by students in your class or at home.

Simply click on the download button below, then extract the zip file:

  • 8 files available in high-quality, ready-to-print .jpg:
    • African animals seek-and-find
      • Includes one answer key
    • Butterfly city (search for and label each stage of the caterpillar-to-butterfly lifecycle)
      • Includes one answer key
    • Photosynthesis is . . . (two pages of cut-and-paste elements showing how plants utilize photosynthesis)
      • Includes one answer key


By downloading these FREE 3D Rainy Day Activity Sheets, you agree not to resell or redistribute these assets.

Creative Teaching, Creative Design

This one goes out to all the teachers and educators in our lives. It’s possible you’ve come across a situation where you were hoping for a resource or means of explaining a particular idea, but couldn’t find the suitable visuals.

Or, perhaps you wanted to create some playful, educational materials but feared you didn’t have the time or right skillsets. Well, today is your lucky day.

I’m here to show you how I created one of the above sheets using PixelSquid. The artwork might look complicated, but once I show you how easily I created them, you’ll understand.

Quick Tip: It’s All About Organizing Your Layers

When you create images like these, think in terms of compartmentalizing your layers. I’m sure you’re aware of “groups” in Photoshop. If used correctly, they’ll help you stay focused by helping you stay within specific levels or stages of your artwork or design.

In other words, groups in Photoshop are like floors in a building, containing the different significant elements on each floor of your artwork.

For example, this African Animals Worksheet has:

  • Map, water, waves, and fog (first group or floor one)
  • Grass and sand (second group or floor two)
  • Pond (third group or floor three)
  • Animals (forth group or floor four)

And it continues . . .

Look at my layers below: 

African Animal Activity
Lightbox images via PixelSquid.
Photoshop Interface
Compartmentalized and grouped into folders.

They are compartmentalized in folder groups and also color-coded so that they:  

  • Help you focus on one stage (or level) of the artwork at a time.
  • Are easier to find and edit a specific layer of the composition.
  • Encourages you to add more and keep pushing your artwork.
  • Enables you to hone quickly into the folders you want to modify.

Please pay close attention to my layers throughout this article, as they’ll give you a hint of what I’m doing.

Finding the Right Pieces

Begin by creating Lightboxes in PixelSquid. I find it more convenient when hunting for specific objects within PixelSquid’s massive catalog.

I created a new Lightbox called “African animals,” and populated it with all the models I wanted to use for this project.

If you’d like to learn more about how I utilize PixelSquid’s website, refer to my other article—”A Graphic Designer’s Journal: Touring Japan Through Design.”

PixelSquid Lightbox
PixelSquid Lightbox containing the models I used in this project. Image via PixelSquid.

Creating the Background

For the map of the world, I headed over to Shutterstock. I downloaded the simplest one I could find so that I could later create my own landscape textures on top of it. 

World Map
Download a map of the world. Image via Oleksii Arseniuk.

Open the image in Photoshop and place Africa in the center canvas, then add the ponds as well as the waves. Waves are made with the pen tool and duplicated throughout the expansive oceans.

Be careful not to go overboard. Subtle is good here.

Map of Africa
Isolate the African continent.
Map of Africa with Waves
Now, add waves.

With my models already snugly contained within the PixelSquid Lightboxes tab in Photoshop (they automatically populate from the site to the plugin), I started populating the content with some cactus.

Add Cactus
Add your choice of cactus.

To add randomness, slightly rotate your objects (you don’t want your objects to look identical). Minor modifications like this really go a long way. I did the same thing to the trees and rocks.

Plants and Rocks
Adding plants and rocks.

Placing the Mighty African Animals

This part took a bit longer than I would’ve liked because I had to figure out how to scale the animals—large animals need to look bigger than their smaller counterparts—without exaggerating too much.

Solution: Place the animals next to an object, like a tree or stone, to determine their scale. Scale issue fixed!

Adding African Animals
Adding the animals.

Note: I have one folder at the top titled “Top Animal” so I can place the “Argema Mittrei” (yellow butterfly) on top of the plant in Madagascar.

If I had added more flying birds in this artwork, I’d have placed all of them in there to appear on top of everything else.

Yellow Butterfly
Placing the Argema Mittrei on top of the plant.

Adding the Land Textures

I headed over to Shutterstock to obtain two gorgeous tileable grass and sand pictures for the land textures. 

When creating things like this, make sure they are tileable. When you first load the image in Photoshop, the grass scale is huge compared to the size of the map. And, when you scale it down to get the desired grass size, it won’t cover the entire map.

To solve this problem, duplicate the grass, then place each next to one other. When you do this, because they’re tileable, you won’t see any seams.

Tileable Textures
Tileable Textures
Once positioned together, they’re seamless.
Tileable Textures
Tileable Textures
Same with the sand. Once positioned together, the duplicated image is seamless.

Did you notice that I placed these two textures inside a folder called Grass and Sand?

I did this for two reasons:

  • First, I want these textures to be masked with the shape of the continent’s border.
  • Second, I want to use an individual folder mask of the grass and sand to mask them out individually.
Land Textures
Land Textures
Land Textures
Land Textures
Mask out the land textures with a brush.

While masking the various parts of the land texture, I found it easier to turn on all the layers (plants and animals) to see where the land was appearing in relation to the overall composition.

Final Product
The final look of the land texture with all the layers turned on.

Adding the Final Touches (the Zing Part)

The zing is what I call non-critical elements that enhance your artwork. They fill any empty spots and make your scene look positively enriched with random elements, similar to how the real world looks.

You’ll see me using this in a lot of my work. I find that it deepens what I do and gives the art a bit more character. You know how smart kids are! They’ll pick up on these details and appreciate it.

So my zing elements include:

  • Humans
  • Airplanes
  • Ships
  • Clouds
  • And some fog

As always, think in terms of creating the groups in stages. One group of elements at a time.

I love clouds, so I started placing them in first. I hadn’t selected them in my initial Lightbox, so I searched for clouds inside PixelSquid’s plugin within Photoshop.

Adding Clouds
Adding clouds to the artwork.

Side note: If there’s one group of elements that really pleases me in PixelSquid, it’s the abundance of pre-created cloud, smoke, fire, and explosion elements they offer. Plus they have transparencies that are super clean. 

One important thing worth mentioning is that I had to separate the distance between the clouds and their shadows, and blur out the shadows so that they appeared above everything else. How?

Double-click on the cloud’s smart object layer. Use the Transform tool to tweak the feather property of the shadow mask.

Imported Clouds
Imported clouds from PixelSquid.
Adding Clouds
Opening the cloud’s smart object layer.
Positioning Cloud
Separating the distance between the cloud and its shadow.
Feather Property Adjustment
Adjusting the feather property of the shadow mask.
Imported Clouds
Final view of the clouds floating high above everything else.

And finally, I populated the scene with the remaining airplane, women explorers, boats, and the subtle mist over the ocean. The fog is a lightly applied brush stroke.

Final Product
Voilà! You did it!

Final Words

Thank you so much for making it this far. It’s a bit lengthy, but the reward is priceless. 

As long as you’re organized and work in stages, you can pretty much create anything you want with PixelSquid and Shutterstock. Most of the work was loading the models via the PixelSquid plugin and placing them around my composition. 

Create that cool activity for you and your kids (or students) to enjoy. And please share what you created with us! We’d love to see what you came up with. Make sure to tag or mention PixelSquid on the platform of your choice.

More awesome PixelSquid and 3D-inspired ideas for you:

Cover images courtesy of Shutterstock and PixelSquid.