While most preschoolers don't encounter elephants in their everyday lives, many students easily recognise these giant grey pachyderms with their long trunks and big ears from storybooks, movies or trips to the zoo. Most preschoolers will tell you that elephants, despite their enormous size, are gentle creatures. Encourage your preschoolers to share their elephant stories and knowledge while enjoying these fun art activities.
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Invite preschoolers to make elephant masks. Use a grey paper party plate, or paint a white paper plate with grey tempera paint for the base of the mask. Glue on a long construction paper trunk and big ears. Have an adult cut eyeholes. Attach the mask to a large tongue depressor for a handle. Other options include printing out an elephant template and encouraging preschoolers to colour the outline and cut it out.
Read one of the "Elmer" books by David McKee to preschoolers. Provide cardstock cutouts of elephants, and have students use paints to paint colourful squares on their elephants. Students may also dip square sponges in paint to stamp squares on the cardstock elephant cutouts. Make stained glass-style elephants by inviting preschoolers to glue tissue paper squares onto cardstock cutouts of elephants. Younger students may colour squares on printed elephant outlines.
Use a projector to enlarge outlines of elephants on butcher paper. Invite preschoolers to work in small groups to trace and cut out a family of elephants, including a baby, mom and dad. Allow preschoolers to paint or colour their elephants and hang them around the room. Encourage preschoolers to add a butcher paper watering hole, grasses and trees for shade. Allow preschoolers to use binoculars to go on a pretend safari to see if they can spot the elephants in the wild.
Invite preschoolers to make elephant puppets they can use in a dramatic play or theatre centre. Have preschoolers colour an elephant template and glue to a paper lunch bag. Students can colour and glue elephant templates to craft sticks in order to have several puppets for a theatre play. Have an adult use felt to make felt elephants. Glue felt elephants to socks for students to use during dramatic playtime.
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