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By Jean Evansearly years consultant and author

Focus on the Hindu birthday celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi as you enjoy these creative play ideas

Elephant masks

Stepping Stone: make three-dimensional structures.

Early Learning Goal: explore colour, texture, shape, form and space in two or three dimensions (1a).

Group size: six children.

What you need

Picture of Ganesha; balloons; clear petroleum jelly; strips of newspaper; cold-water paste; grey paint; card; scissors; sticky tape; coloured foil; sequins; grey ribbon; grey socks; fabric scraps; hole-punch; ‘Festival facts (1)’ activity sheet (back of A1 poster).

What to do

  • Talk about the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi using the information on the activity sheet.
  • Look at a picture of Ganesha and suggest that the children make elephant masks.
  • Blow up three balloons, then invite pairs of children to work together to cover each balloon with a thin layer of petroleum jelly.
  • Next, ask them to cover their balloon with strips of newspaper dipped in the paste. Continue until the balloons are covered with at least four layers of paper, then hang them up to dry.
  • Cut the balloons in half and give one half to each child. Invite them to paint their masks grey.
  • Let the children create trunks by stuffing grey socks with small pieces of fabric.
  • Cut two eye holes and a hole in the middle of each child’s mask for the trunk. Thread the open end of a stuffed grey sock through the centre hole and tape the end securely to the back of the mask.
  • Cut grey ears and white tusks from card and tape them to the masks.
  • Punch a hole in each side of the masks and tie a length of ribbon to each one.
  • Invite the children to add headdresses to their masks, using strips of card decorated with coloured foil and sequins.
  • Secure the ribbons around the children’s heads and let them enjoy wearing their elephant masks.
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