Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Animal Headdresses, Puppets and Masks in Creative Expression

Recovery Curriculum Resources from Leeds Museum and Galleries

This resource is designed to support a recovery curriculum and can be used in any education setting. It complements the ‘Supporting the Return to School for All Pupils’ guidance in Leeds and the PACE approach of playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy.


Large mask used for traditional Chinese lion dance. The lion is red pink and yellow with green eyes and nose and has a mouth that opens and closes.
Chinese Lion Dance Mask


Create simple animal headdresses by attaching a toy animal to a hat or headband. How does wearing the headdress change how you move?

Wooden carved dog with a woven base that can be worn on the head.
Animal Headdresses

Choose pieces of fabric to represent different animals. Perform a dance by moving the fabric around. You could make the fabric leap, run, swim or creep.



Expressive Communication and Self Esteem

Have a “pick and mix” of art resources, textures, scraps of fabrics, paper and let the children explore how to represent animals in different ways. They can invent their own way of creating a mask or a puppet. For example a collage mask, decorating a sock puppet, or creating a silhouette of an animal on a lollypop stick.

Orange and red lion puppet on strings.
Chinese Lion Puppet

The children can share their creations with each other, recognising that their artistic expression is unique and different to others. Develop confidence in ‘having a go’.



Research how artists use animals in their art, such as dancers, puppeteers, mask-makers, musicians, graffiti artists. See where your curiosity takes you.


Photograph showing two men in costumes forming the legs of a large carnival style Chinese dragon puppet.
A Chinese Lion Dance Performance


How does it feel to wear the headdresses? Think about different emotions and discuss which type of animal mask or headdress the children might choose to wear when feeling happy, sad, worried, excited, social etc.