Stand-up Animals or How The Leopard Got Its Spots (February 2011)

I love to do art projects based on the children’s favourite stories, especially with younger groups. This activity for 3 and 4 year olds was inspired by the rhyming storybook, “The Monkey with a Bright Blue Bottom” by Steve Smallman and Nick Schon, in which a naughty monkey finds a paintbox and accidentally splatters a leopard with spots of black paint, before deciding to paint all the other animals too, including brown squares on a giraffe and stripes on a zebra. When the animals discover what the monkey has done they paint his bottom blue!

As the kids were too young to cut the thick corrugated cardboard required for this activity, I prepared the simple leopard, zebra and giraffe body shapes, plus wedge-shaped legs that slotted into the bodies so they could stand up. Older kids could do this themselves. After painting the base colour of yellow or white, the kids used different techniques for each of the animals’ markings – they used a fine brush to paint black stripes on the zebra, the end of a brush to splatter or print black spots on the leopard, and little squares of sponge to print the giraffe’s brown blotches. They finished off the animals by adding faces and then the jungle games could begin!

Our inspiration:


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