Around the World: Africa




As part of their topic ‘Kings and Queens’,  I looked at pictures of modern African Kings and Queens with a Year 2 class and we admired their elaborate clothes and jewellery.

The children then created their own African Kings and Queens using paint and collage, applied onto head shapes cut out from old cardboard boxes.



I love African art and design and the use of vibrant colours and simple, exciting patterns mean that children love it too.


These African tribal masks couldn’t be easier to make.  Just cut out a face shape from an old cardboard box plus stick a strip on the back to hold the mask.  Paint the whole mask in one colour and then paint the eyes, nose and mouth.  Once the paint has begun to dry,  use mark making tools (straws, glue sticks, nails and screws, pen lids…keep a box full of junk with interesting shapes for these occasions…I use mine constantly!) to make patterns.

You could add beads, shells, buttons etc. for jewellery and decoration too.



This time using paper plates!



My box of mark making tools came in handy when making these clay masks too.  Children rolled out balls of air drying clay and cut a face shape using a plastic knife.  Use thumbs to create eye sockets and leftover clay to roll eye balls and nose.

Maori masks

Maori masks 2

Add beads for eyes and curtain rings for earrings!

 Air drying clay is brilliant because there’s no need for firing.  It can be painted with a mix of poster paint and PVA or just leave plain.


These very simple and effective black and white patterns are inspired by West African Adinkra symbols.

African textiles

We used black and white fabric and stuck them on with PVA glue , although older children could spend more time on them and stitch around the edges using a simple running stitch in white thread.


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