Saturday, March 22, 2014

Paper Totem Poles with Kindy Kids

Materials & Set Up
Age most suitable: 6-12yrs (Early Childhood is possible with adaption)

Difficulty -Moderate

Prep time:
~ Covering boxes with brown paper
~ Pre-cut facial feature shapes; eyes, nose, mouths (younger children)

  • Boxes covered in brown paper
  • Paper cut to shape (eyes, nose, mouth, face, various geometric& organic)
  • Various 2D collage materials (Foam Shapes, patty cases, cotton balls, pipe cleaners, feathers, leaves, paper plates)
  • PVA Glue or strong bonding glue -paddle pops and palettes or glue pots/brushes
  • Scissors
Totem poles are 3D sculptures usually carved from wood and then painted. They are symbolic of culture and society. Often emblems illustrate images of family/clan and relationships, unity, stories/adventures, rights/authority, animals and nature. Totem poles are about identity of place and emphasise the differences in groups. Totem poles originated in Alaska with Native Indians and has since spread to Europe and other cultures.

Collage Totem Head
Collage Totem Head
  • To get children to use paper in a creative way and explore possibilities; cutting, scrunching, tearing, bending, layering, folding, pleating etc.
  • To develop fine motor skills of cutting and gluing techniques
  • To make deliberate choices on pattern and design placement
  • To think about animal features; faces & heads through geometric and organic shapes 

Totem Pole Paper Collage by Kindy Students
Links to other curriculum areas:
Geography, History


Demonstrate how paper has been used to create the animal faces to create different affects.Spend some time talking about the type of animals and why they are used. Discuss face and head features and how they can be recreated using paper.

1. Have pre photocopied shapes on coloured paper for children to cut out (or pre-cut shapes depending on age). Have ‘mask’ or head shapes ready.
2. Making the face: adhesion time; gluing, stapling, sticky tapping
3. Once dry, glue stick the 2D masks to the cardboard boxes and stack to create your classroom totem pole.

 Download the FREE lesson plan for Paper Totem Poles


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