Free Cards Friday ~ Native American Masks with Preschoolers

My friend Kerri taught me how to make the coolest paperboard masks ~ we created 24 of them a few months ago to create Native American masks with our sons’ First Grade Class.

My little son’s pre-school teacher recently wondered if I’d like to do some painting with her class. Upon asking my 5 year old (who has attended all of the art classes where I’ve worked with his big brother’s classes for 2 school years) which project we should do with HIS friends at pre-school ~ he chose mask painting. This project took place on Tuesday of this week.

The paperboard mask ~ easily created from a cereal box. Such a blank canvas!

I buffed up on my knowledge the morning of the lesson ~ and the more I learned and saw, the more excited I got. This pre-school class contains the sweetest little group of children. I was positively jubilant by the time I sat down with the little ones.

We talked very simply about who the Native Americans were and how they worked with the materials they had in their lives ~ no place to buy paint! So they made it with berries, minerals, leaves, spit and such. Their paint brushes were created with animal hair and other natural materials.

We gave the children three paint brushes, one for each color, and discussed how the sample masks I showed didn’t utilize paint blending and mixing ~ rather blocks of rich, pure color next to each other.

This is my little darling

We talked very simply about the meaning of the animal figures chosen to create crafts and totems. The Bear referring to protection, strength and sky; the wolf meaning love, gentleness and teacher; Mountain Lion inferring smarts, strength, freedom, power and confidence. I created a mountain lion for each of them because I admire the confidence and freedom of 5 year olds

We talked very simply about how Native Americans told stories through dance and ceremony ~ using masks and costumes.

I think the kids were proud, in the end. They focused on adding color to their masks for almost a half hour.

We talked about the meaning of colors, such as green meaning summer and earth, rain and plants; Blue referring to sky, female, moon and sadness; Red inferring anger, war, blood and the sunset.

This was completely fun. While the teacher washed the brushes in the bathroom, I got to read to the kids in circle time. Such a joy. I even had moments on the drive home that I might want to go back to teaching in a pre-school… yah, never mind

It’s Free Cards Friday ~ Add your note or insight to this blog post (here at the blog or on the Facebook page) throughout the weekend and be in the running to win some cards ~ I’ll choose the winner on Monday.

Love & Sincerely ~ Katie

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