Thursday, March 17, 2011

Paper Plate Craft for Toddlers: Cat Mask Puppet Using Shapes

This simple craft helps to teach toddlers about shapes. The finished product can be used as a mask (though not one they can see through) or a puppet. As with all craft activities undertaken with children, it is best to do it yourself first. This way, you have a model to show the kids, so they have some idea about what their craft should look like. You can also make any adjustments that are needed.

  • 1 plain white paper plate (the flatter, the better)
  • yellow, orange, and black construction paper
  • 1 large popsicle stick
  • white glue
  • container for glue (small paper plate works well)
  • pen
  • clear tape

    • From the yellow construction paper, cut out 2 ovals roughly 5cm long and 3cm wide. (These will be the eyes.)
    • From the black construction paper, cut out 2 smaller ovals, roughly 3cm (they have to be as tall as the yellow oval is wide) by 1cm. (These will be the pupils.)
    • Also from the black construction paper, cut out 2 triangles. Make each with a base of about 7cm and a height of about 7cm as well. (These will be the ears.)
    • Also from the black construction paper, cut out rectangles that are about 15cm long and 1cm wide. (These will be the whiskers.)
    • Finally, from the orange construction paper, cut out 1 triangle with of a base measuring about 6cm, and a height of 4cm. (This will be the nose.)
    • With your pen, make 2 small dots near the top of the paper plate, where the eyes will go.

    1. Tell the child you are going to make a cat mask together. Give the child a paper plate, and ask them what shape it is. Tell them that this circle will be the face of the cat. 
    2. Show the child the 2 yellow ovals, and talk about this shape. Tell them that the yellow ovals will be the cat's eyes.
    3. Give the child a container with a few squirts of glue in it. Show them how to dip their finger in the glue, and spread some "on top of the dots". Then have them place the 2 yellow ovals over the dots and press to stick.
    4. With your pen, draw a little dot in the middle of each yellow oval. Take out the 2 black ovals and ask the child what shape these are. Show them how they are the same shape as the yellow ovals, only smaller.  
    5. Tell the child to use their finger to spread glue on top of the dots on the yellow ovals. Then have them place the 2 smaller black ovals over each of these dots. They will need some assistance to make sure the ovals are positioned lengthwise.
    6. Draw a small circle where the nose will go. Draw faint lines coming out from the nose; 3 on each side.
    7. Show them one of the "whiskers" and ask them what shape it is. (This is tough for them, since it is such a long rectangle.) Tell them that these will be the cat's whiskers. 
    8. Show them how to spread glue over the lines on one side of the plate first. Help them to stick 3 "whiskers" over top. Repeat with the other side.
    9. Show them the orange triangle and ask them what shape it is. Tell them that this will be the cat's nose.
    10. Point to the nose area, and ask them to spread some glue into the circle you've drawn on the plate. Give them the orange triangle and ask them to press it onto the gluey circle.
    11. Draw a mouth coming down from the nose. A forwards and backwards "J" coming down from a single line at the bottom centre of the nose works well.
    12. Turn the plate over. Place a black triangle at one side of the top of the plate. Tell the child that the cat needs ears now.
    13. Get the child to help you press the clear tape down to make the ear stick to the plate. Do the same with the other triangle. Then turn the plate back over to the face side. Have them help you stick the ears to the plate with tape on this side as well.
    14. Finally, turn the plate over, and use many pieces of tape to stick the top of the Popsicle stick to the bottom centre of the plate. The child should be able to hold the mask in front of their face by holding on to the popsicle stick.
    I was lucky that Aidas and B. woke up first from their naps on this day. They did the activity first, and I was able to give my assistance to just the two of them. They thoroughly enjoyed the craft. They kept saying, "Meow. I'm a cat!" Over and over and over.

    When we finally had to wake up Noah, L. and M. from their naps, we went into their rooms with our masks (I had made one myself as a model), saying "Meow. I'm a cat!" Noah, L. and M. found this humorous. (Two-year-olds: not a tough crowd.)

    Noah, who had been begging me to do the craft before nap time, now showed no interest in taking part in the activity. L. and M. were excited to make their masks. However, their attention spans did wander, and about 2/3 of the way through the craft they stated that they were "All done". This made me giggle, since this is what they say when they are finished eating a meal. I rushed them through the rest of the craft so they could run around and play with their finished masks. 

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