African adventure

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By Sally Grayearly years practitioner and writer

Take a tour of this inspiring continent and explore its culture and people through these fun activities

African dancing © Sergio Pitamitz/

Activities in this article:

  1. Make a mask
  2. Beautiful beads
  3. Fun with games

1. Make a mask

Make African animal masks for a safari parade

Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Sense of Community

Development matters: make connections between different parts of their life experience (30-50 months); have an awareness of, and an interest in, cultural and religious differences (40-60+ months).

Early Learning Goal: understand that people have different needs, views, cultures and beliefs, that need to be treated with respect.

Group size: whole group (small groups for mask making).

What you need

African masks (if available); pictures of African masks (in books or online); download ‘Animal masks’ Activity sheet 4 , which has been enlarged and copied onto card (enough for each child); scissors; colouring materials or paints; thin elastic or string; hole punch; African or safari music (such as The Rough Guide to African Music for Children).

What to do

Show children some pictures of African masks. Talk about the shapes and patterns on them and explain that masks are worn for many occasions in Africa, for example ceremonies, celebrations and parades. What do the children wear for special celebrations that they enjoy at home? Do they ever wear masks when playing?

Tell the children that you would like to have an African animal parade and that they can make masks to wear. Let them choose which mask they would like to make from the templates provided and help them to cut out and colour or paint the masks. Fit the masks by punching holes at the sides and threading through elastic or string. Hold an animal parade, moving like the animals to some African or safari music.


Cut out the masks for the children. Practise the animal movements together.

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