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Wild Safari Art

Becky Will, M.Ed

As an educator and parent, I love a good book and art project pairing to go alongside our play-based learning experiences. This summer, I offered to teach a few art classes with a group of kindergarteners. I thankfully work for a program where I have full reign on what theme to choose and what types of art projects to do. The sky is the limit here!

I did some Pinterest digging for inspiration. For this particular class, I decided that safari animals were a fun subject to tackle. What kid doesn’t love animals, especially exotic ones?!

During the first class, we talked all about giraffes. I first chose an informational book from the library, Giraffes by Kate Riggs which was short and sweet. I also dug into some fun picture books such as, Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory. The kids and I enjoyed both picture books as it opens a conversation up for talking about diversity, self-confidence, acceptance and problem-solving.

My son is my guinea pig for these projects and I had him try it. His first response was, “I can’t draw animals!” (which is a comment I hear a lot in the classroom too). Many people feel like they “can’t make art”, “can’t draw”, etc. It can be challenging to get over that self-doubt hurdle, but this is pretty easy, promise!

Here’s how to draw the hand-print giraffe step by step:

1) Grab a pencil and paper. Have your child take their non-dominant hand and fold every finger but their pinky and pointer (think quiet coyote/rock and roll gesture). Have them trace their arm, wrist and hand in pencil on the paper.

2) Next, draw the horns, ears, eyes, nose and tongue. I like to reassure the kids that all of the lines that we make are are simple shapes (circles, ovals, the letter c, etc)

3) Go over the pencil lines with black Sharpie. Erase any pencil lines that peek out afterwards.

4) Use whatever you would like to color him in! We used markers, but you can use crayons, colored pencils, water color paint, oil pastels, etc. We used a lot of warm colors such as yellow, browns, reds, oranges.

5) OPTIONAL: Cut him out and have your child use another piece of paper to draw a fun and funky background. Once the background is complete, have your child paste the giraffe onto the background. When I did this, I was delighted at the background choices. I had some giraffes out in the wild, at toy stores, at bakeries and in outer space. I try my best to find the middle ground of having the kids follow instructions and learn new skills AND allow them to have the freedom to create whatever their imagination is brewing that day.

Did you know most Teaching Totes already have an art project for your child inside of it?! Your Teaching Totes Specialists work hard to create art projects with different themes for each tote along with all of the materials for learning and creating at home. So, if you feel like you are approaching a self-doubt hurdle yourself with art projects, we have you covered!

Here are some animal related totes to rent from your local specialists:

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