Crazy Elephants – An Art Class

One of our recent nursery rhymes programs introduced simple elephant head puppets for use with the Elephant Song. In this class, we’ll take a look at how to make those same simple elephants artistic!

Gather together some different types of paper – anything you have on hand will work. Scrapbook paper, construction paper, cardstock, computer paper, junk mail, newspaper, old magazines – anything will work. Be sure to check with your parents or caregivers before using anything that isn’t yours. That old magazine or newspaper might be something they want to save!

You will also need scissors, glue, tape, and either crayons, markers, or both.

Gather some thin cardboard from the recycling bin – an old cereal or cracker box is perfect.

A ruler or straight edge is helpful but not necessary.

Go on a scavenger hunt in your home for any of the following – whatever you find will be fun: ink pads, small wooden stamps, bubble wrap, any kind of paint, old buttons, silk flowers, small pieces of hardware like gears or washers or nuts, a piece of corrugated cardboard, and anything else you think is interesting. Don’t forget to ask for permission before taking any of these!

Here is what to do:
Cut some free form circles and/or ovals from various types of paper and set them aside.
Cut pairs of smaller shapes like hearts, triangles, circles – any type of shape. Each pair can be the same size or they can be different sizes. Put these in another pile.
Cut long narrow rectangles. These will become the elephant’s trunk. Size doesn’t matter, but you want it to be long enough to look like a trunk when you paste it on the circle. Put these in a pile together.
Cut long strips out of the recycled cardboard to serve as handles for the puppets and put them in a pile.
Now, with all your piles in front of you, start to assemble your puppets. Take one circle or oval and glue one pair of shapes on each side. This is the elephant’s head. Glue one long narrow rectangle to the center of the circle so that it hangs downward. If you want, you can curl up the bottom edge by wrapping it around your finger or a pencil.
What will you do for eyes? You can draw eyes with crayons or markers, or use two silk or paper flowers, or two buttons, or two metal washers – or cut small circles out of some fun paper – be creative and silly and have fun!
Next, add some texture to the elephant head: Dip bubble wrap or a sponge in an ink pad or in just a little bit of paint and “stamp” or “dab” it randomly over the elephant head. Do the same with a small stamp, even an alphabet stamp. Add details with crayons or markers.
Shine a light on the left side of the elephant and then use a pencil to add shading to everything on the right side.
Draw tiny repeating shapes on one ear (look up Zentangle on the internet to get some ideas).
Mix colors and patterns when you assemble your elephant heads and use weird or unusual colors or paper that has a pattern.
Art is crazy and unpredictable sometimes, so have fun creating lots of elephant heads and then tape a cardboard strip to the back of each head to serve as a handle for your puppet.

Now you’re ready for the puppet show! Here are some elephant jokes to use in your show:
What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?
Time to get a new fence!

Why couldn’t the two elephants go swimming together?
Because they only had one pair of trunks!

Why does an elephant have a trunk?
Because it would look silly carrying a suitcase.

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