Happy Hippo

Happy Hippo lesson plan

Hunt for Happiness---during the third week in January or any day---with this delightful hippo mask. Paint it with a color that makes you smile!

  • 1.

    Read about hippos in children's books and on the Internet. While you read, think about the way hippo faces look, and make sketches with Crayola® Colored Pencils.

  • 2.

    In the book A Picture for Harold's Room: A Purple Crayon Adventure, Harold uses a purple crayon to design a picture of a whole environment. Find information on how color influences perceptions. What effect does an unusual color have on the way you see places? Does an unusual color make you look a little closer at familiar objects? Combine the ideas of hippos and unusual colors to come up with an exciting hippo mask.

  • 3.

    Shape white Crayola Model Magic into a hippo's face that is large enough to fit your head. Look closely at your sketches as you design the mask. Use Model Magic to make the hippo's nose protrude, to add ears, and to shape other details.

  • 4.

    Carefully use Crayola Scissors to cut away eye openings.

  • 5.

    Place the hippo mask on a crumpled ball of newspaper to maintain its rounded shape. Dry.

  • 6.

    Cover a table with recycled newspaper. Use Crayola Tempera and Paint Brushes to paint your mask in an unusual color, such as purple or magenta. Add details with other colors. Dry.

  • 7.

    Use Crayola School Glue to attach elastic to the sides of your mask. Dry. When you're not wearing your mask, use this band to hang it on a wall.


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SCI: Use evidence about organisms in their natural habitats to design an artificial habitat in which the organisms can survive well.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton; I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by John Rox; Humongous Hippopotamus - Indoor Explorer Picture Book by Michael Wills
  • Working in small groups, student brainstorm how color influences what they look at in an art piece. Students investigate artwork on the Internet and talk about what attracts their attention, what moods they see reflected in the artwork, etc.
  • Students research hippopotamus, what type of habitat they live in, what foods they eat, what they are like socially, etc. Design a habitat where the hippopotamus could survive and thrive. Include food sources in the habitat.
  • Encourage students to create a second mask, either using a different color on the final product or creating a pattern on the mask's face. Which one attracts attention more? Why do you think that is? Students research the psychology of color. What colors are calming, soothing, exciting? Based on research, what colors would you recommend to paint a classroom? A concert hall? A skateboard park?