Activities for Kids: Build-a-Dude

There is an army of cuddly monsters multiplying, and their mission is to help Compassion-assisted children in Kenya.

Their leader is Nate, and he hopes you’ll join him.

Nate was 10 when his family visited Kibera, Kenya, one of the biggest slums in Africa. “It’s crazy how extreme the poverty is,” Nate says.

But Nate was blown away by the joy he saw in the friends he made at the Kibera Compassion child development center. Their generous hearts seemed bigger than their homes. Kids shared their only pieces of candy. One boy gave Nate a carved boat — something his family could have sold to buy food for a week.

“God wants us to love poor people like He does,” Nate says. “We can use a talent or idea like making Denim Dudes to help other kids know that we care about them and that God does too.”

“God wants us to love poor people like He does…”

Back home in Colorado. Nate kept thinking, Kids in Kibera really want to go to school. They want to learn and to help their families. “That inspired me to find a way I could be part of their lives,” he says. “That’s why I started Denim Dudes.”

Denim Dudes are like do-it-yourself Build-A-Bears. Nate buys blue jeans from thrift stores. The bigger the better! He cuts out patterns, then stuffs and sews the animals closed. Some Dudes have capes, animal snouts or tails. They’re easy to make.

Nate sells his critters and donates the money to Compassion. He dreams of more kids making Denim Dudes to help others get food, education and hope to beat poverty.

How to Make Your Denim Dudes

  1. Download one or more pattern outlines.
  2. Trace a pattern twice onto old blue jeans. Then cut them out.
  3. Use embroidery thread to sew on button eyes, a stitched smile, and other decorations such as stripes, a cape, a tail, a skirt — whatever you want.
  4. Sew the pieces together with a basic whip stitch. Leave a hole to stick stuffing into.
  5. Stuff the inside with cotton or other fluff. Fill the arms and legs first, using a pencil to get the stuffing to the ends.
  6. Stitch up the hole, tie a knot, and stuff the knot inside.
  7. Send Compassion your pictures and stories about your Denim Dudes! Send them to us at, Compassion Canada, ATTN: Explorer Magazine, PO Box 5591, London ON, N6A 5G8 or email them to

Now you’re ready to sell your Denim Dudes and give the money away!

Download the Pattern.


By Jeremy W. Jones

Written by: Compassion Canada