Whether coming up with an art project for a single student, or as a classroom activity, the Norwegian fairy tale "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" provides many interesting arts and crafts possibilities. Design crafts that incorporate the three hungry goats, the troll or the bridge.
Masks and Puppets
Creating masks or puppets is an art idea that encourages creative play as kids can make the masks and puppets and then act out the story. Make face masks using paper plates. Help young children cut out the eyes. Let kids draw and cut out long ears and noses from construction paper. Talk with them about how a billy goat's face is different from a troll's face. With older kids, make papier mache masks. Make puppets out of socks or paper bags. Encourage kids to be creative in the ways they decorate the puppets. Explain that both puppets and masks are not only simple crafts but that they can also be forms of fine art, especially when carved from wood or sculpted with clay.
Collages and Paintings
Cut out pictures from nature and fantasy magazines to create a collage in which elements from the entire story are represented. Talk to kids about how collages don't have to present things in chronological order because they are an abstract artistic rendering. Pick one scene or moment from the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" story and create a painting. Popular choices would be the moment that the biggest billy goat rushes the troll, but other possibilities might be the little billy goat quaking in fear or the troll hiding out under the bridge. Take that same scene and have the children paint it again using a different style of painting. Possibilities can include cubist, pointilism, realism or impressionism. This can be a great exercise for any artist, young or old.
Shadow Boxes and Dioramas
Creating shadow boxes and dioramas can serve multiple educational and artistic purposes to support a literary unit on "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." Making a shadow box involves finding physical items that represent something in the story and arranging them artistically in a box. This helps children think symbolically and creatively. A diorama can emphasise the setting of the story. Making a river, bridge and a grassy field can help a child understand why setting is important in "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" and other stories.
Sculpture and Three-Dimensional Art
Introduce children to sculpture and forms of three-dimensional art with the story of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff." Give them clay and ask them to make a troll. This is a good starting task as trolls are imaginary creatures and children can be creative in their depictions. Then show them pictures of billy goats and have them work at making a billy goat sculpture. Older children who have been taught knife safety can make soap bar carvings of the four characters in the story. You can also take a child out for a nature walk and have them find things that could be glued together to make a fantastical troll. This might include leaves, sticks, stones and shells. Emphasise making a creature that is scary and strong.
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