Learning about Greek Mythology is exciting and whimsical for many elementary-aged children. Incorporating a hands-on craft project with Greek Mythology lessons can make an even greater impact and get all of the students, even those who do not find the stories interesting, involved and having fun as they learn.

Paper Bag Phoenix Puppet

The Greek myth of the Phoenix tells the story of the Phoenix bird that sung a song for Apollo. Only one Phoenix lived on earth at any given time. When the Phoenix died, it would burst into flames and a new Phoenix would rise from the old Phoenix’s ashes. Elementary students can create their own Phoenix puppet with a paper lunch bag, scissors, glue, crayons or colored pencils. You first need to print out the templates for the eyes, beak and wings found here: http://www.dltk-kids.com/t.asp?b=m&t=http://www.dltk-kids.com/fantasy/images/bbagphoenix1.gif

The students first cut out the eyes, beak and wings and color them, preferably with a fiery color scheme. Next, with the bag laying with its bottom flap facing up, the students glue the eyes on to the upper portion of the flap. Then they glue the beak onto the flap just below the eyes. Finally the wings are glued to the back of the bag so that the wings fly out from both sides. A pink or red triangle can also be glued under the flap in the center so that it looks like the inside of the birds mouth when the puppet talks.

Paper Plate Pottery

Ancient Greeks often painted portraits of their gods and goddesses as well as various mythological creatures on their pottery. A simple replica of such pottery can be made with a paper plate and some paint! Black paper plates are preferable for this project, but white paper plates can be used after being painted black. Before getting started on the project the students should study images of ancient Greek myths, gods and creatures and do a few sample drawings on some scratch paper. Once they decide on an image, they will paint this image on the center of the plate, preferably in gold paint to give it a Greek look.

Medusa Wig or Headband

The Greek myth of Medusa tells the story of a woman who had snakes for hair and whose stare could turn people to stone. A Medusa wig can be made with a shower cap, construction paper, a glue stick, a stapler and a marker. First, the students make “snakes”, which are made by taking two different colors of construction paper cut into 1 inch strips. They glue two strips of different colors together at a right angle on one end. One strip is folded over the other until the strips resemble an accordion. The students can change up the color combinations as they make 13-15 snakes. A bit of pink paper cut to resemble a snake’s tongue is glued onto the top of each snake, in addition to two beady black eyes drawn on with a marker. Finally, the bottom of each snake can be stapled to the shower cap and a Medusa wig is made.

An alternative for younger children is a Medusa headband that is made with pipe cleaners. The children can make snakes by taking two different colors of pipe cleaners and twisting them together; they should make about 8 of them. One is used as the actual headband and the others are secured onto it to complete the craft.