The Classroom Package: Other Fun Stuff

Animal Masks
Here's a simple and practical mask-making activity that can be completed in one class period yet leaves plenty of room for creativity.

Materials: oak tag, scissors, chenille or cotton terry stems (pipe cleaners), hole punch, tissue paper of various colors, glitter, feathers, raffia grass, paint and paint accessories (optional), and glue. (You may also want to use a stapler.)


1. Before making the masks, look at as many pictures of the animals as possible (some animal categories contain a variety of species that have various color patterns, features..., so if students look at a variety of tree frog or spider monkey species, for example, they'll get a variety of ideas for their masks).

2. Cut out variations on a theatrical-style mask pattern (eye-glass shaped with cut-out eyes, covering face from lower forehead to bridge of nose) that add features of the particular animal. For example, for an armadillo, add ears, for a jaguar add ears and slit eyes ... In some cases, students may want to cut out a pattern that resembles the whole animal instead of just its face/head (for example for a snake or a butterfly).

3. Using a hole punch, punch one hole in the top far right of the mask and one in the top far left of the mask, plus holes where antennae or other mask features will be attached.

4. Cut out and attach oak tag appendages (beaks, snouts, jaws w/ teeth....) if applicable.

5. Paint, if desired (note: painting may require an extra class period).

5. Add/attach additional materials (pipe cleaners, torn bits of tissue paper, glitter, feathers) as desired to represent features of the particular animal (for example, black tissue paper or black paint for jaguar spots, pipe cleaners for antennae, feathers for crown-like crest on harpy eagle's head, raffia grass for sloth's fur ...).

6. Take two pipe cleaners and attach one end of one to the hole on the top far right of the mask, and one end of the other to the hole on the top far left of the mask. Then, attach the other ends to each other by twisting them together so they fit snugly around the student's head. (Chenille or cotton terry stems work best since they're soft and comfortable, and very easy to adjust - even for younger students.)

Variations: Add colored pompoms (for the tips of antennae and other adornments), tin foil (for the compound eyes of beetles), toilet paper rolls (for beaks, armadillo snouts, etc...), and whatever other materials you think might add a fun and creative touch.

Some other possible masks designs are as follows:

Also, for the ambitious, you may want to create costumes to embellish the masks (wings for butterflies, shells for armadillos, tails, spots and claws for jaguars, etc...). Or, to make things simpler, students can wear color coordinated clothing that matches their masks.

Have fun!


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