Image Map

African Jungle Fun!

This is Cindy, from Kinderkay Love Those Kinders. We are in the midst of our African Jungle unit and I thought that I would share with you some of the fun we are having!

First of all, I am so pumped to say that my students are able to tell me that Africa is a continent, not a country and that there are 7 continents in the world! (We still separate Europe and Asia and do not use the term Eurasia!) They can tell me that Africa has many habitats and that the animals that live in each habitat are different. Woo hoo! It makes me feel like high fiving each child when things like this happen!

To begin the unit, I project the PDF of my African Jungle unit upon our Promethean board in my classroom. We discuss the pictures as an introduction; then revisit the pages as we study each habitat and animal. The children illustrate their own African animal book.

 A big project that we do for this unit is for each child to be assigned an African animal and then do a simple report on it.  They choose one animal in which they want to be the "Animal Expert." They do research on their animal and fill out the report form with their findings and a hand drawn picture of their animal.
The next thing they do is to create a paper mache representation of their animal. I used to have the children create their own representation, but this was soooo hard for them and I had to work with each child individually which took up too much class time. So, now I create the form for them. Now.... before anyone says "That is not art when the teacher creates the form!",  I completely agree with you! This is NOT an art project! This is a science and research project. It is no different than giving a child a coloring sheet and telling them to color a picture that someone else drew!
Here is a picture of what the forms look like:
After the form is made, the children cover the entire form with plain white paper towel and art paste.

When the animal is completely covered, they use NON BLEEDING tissue paper to give their animal the proper colors. I LOVE using tissue paper for the colors! All the mess is done in one day; no waiting for the form to dry and then painting it!

After the animal has a day or two to dry, they add details to their animals using tacky glue. Since this is a science project, they have to tell me whether their animal is a mammal, a bird, or a reptile. They add a small bit of fake fur for the mammals, feathers for the birds, and sequins or buttons for the reptiles.

We also discuss traditional African clothing and masks. They create an African child wearing an African mask.

When both the animal and the African child are complete, they write one sentence on a sentence strip about their animal and we display them together in our hallway.

Hop on over to my blog Love Those Kinders to read more fun jungle ideas that we did in our Jungle unit including more cute pictures of our giraffe art! (This project REALLY is art!)

If you are interested in my African Jungle Animal unit, click the image below to take you there!



  1. Cindy,

    My favorite are the paper mache animals. My students would really enjoy the activity. I'll have to try it. Your students look totally engaged. I love that!

    First Grade Schoolhouse

  2. Yes, they are so much fun! But you DEFINITELY need to have help and be prepared! I gave a more detailed description of how to do it on my blog!
    Blessings, Cindy