Symmetry Masks

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When it comes to kindergarteners, us art teachers go into lessons with a goal in mind, but really all we want is for our youngest students to have fun and be creative! Kinders get very excited when it’s mask-making day! They let out squeals of excitement and many will choose mask making every time we do open studio. Masks are a fun way to teach symmetry, history, culture and creativity!

What you need:

Let’s get started!

I love showing images of masks from around the world to little kids. Without fail they erupt with laughter with each mask I show. To make things fun, I have my students try to guess where each mask originated and to my surprise they often come pretty darn close! With this lesson, I make a mask in collaboration with the kids in order to help them visually grasp the concept. When it’s their turn, I walk them through the process again, step by step. I find that kinders need quite a bit of repetition in order to retain the information.

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Step One:

Fold your piece of cardstock in half. The long way or the tall way, whatever suits your idea for your mask!

Step Two:

Using a pencil, begin by drawing the outline of your mask. Remember you are just drawing half of your mask- just like cutting out a symmetrical heart on a folded piece of paper! Be sure to draw on the fold side of your paper. I find that half of my students draw on the open side and end up having to start over. At the bottom of your fold, start with the chin, moving up the side of the face to the top of the head.  Little kids often have trouble with the concept of only drawing half of their mask’s face so I really try to drill this concept in by demonstrating drawing half of a mask and then cutting the mask out to show how it will open up to become a whole, symmetrical face.

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Step Three:

Add details. We want our masks to be full of details, such as shapes, symbols, patterns, and facial features. I remind my kids several times to try and stay symmetrical, some kids get the concept… others struggle, no worries! The most important thing we are aiming for is fun and creativity, not perfection!

Step Four:

Trace with thick sharpie.

Step Five:

Paint with tempera blocks. Tempera blocks obviously aren’t the best paints in the world, but they are a great medium to use with the little guys! Every time we paint I take the opportunity to remind my students about proper brush handling techniques, ways to stay inside the lines and clean up!

Step Six:

Decorate! Set up a table with yarn, sequins, beads and Elmer’s glue, and have at it!

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Have fun!

Student Examples:

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