Lesson Objectives: Students will explore movement through the children’s book Giraffes Can’t Dance.

Time Required: 1 hour

Artist: Guy Parker-Rees, Giraffes Can’t Dance



            White paper 9 x 12 (2 per student)



            Yellow, orange, brown markers

            Yellow, orange, brown, black Sharpies

           Blue, light blue, white, green, yellow tempera paint


           Dixie cup

Read Giraffes Can’t Dance. Show students how Guy Parker-Rees depicts the giraffe in different dance poses. Discuss how the position of the arms and legs show movement.


  1. Pass out one sheet of white paper. Hold it vertically. Write names on back.
  2. Have students think about what pose they’d like their giraffe to be in. The sky is the limit: dancing giraffes, giraffes doing handstands, etc.
  3. Guide students through a drawing of a dancing giraffe. Start in center of paper with belly (round or oval). Add neck in direction of their choice, followed by head, eyes, ears, etc.
  4. Add legs, arms, and tail in whatever directions and poses the students choose.
  5. Using markers and Sharpies, have students outline and color in giraffes.
  6. While they’re doing that, call over table groups to the painting station to make their backgrounds.
  7. Start with piece of paper vertically. Name on back. Trace Dixie cup circle for moon with pencil.
  8. Using the double-loading technique, use blue and light blue to paint sky, leaving moon and a small strip at the bottom of the page white.
  9. With white paint, paint moon from the inside first and keep going around the outside of the line to blend in with the blue paint, making it look like the moon is glowing. Paint white stars.
  10. Using double-loading technique with green and yellow, paint bottom strip of paper for grass. Use other end of paintbrush (pointy, wooden end) to scratch in grass.
  11. Let dry.
  12. Parents: Cut out giraffes and mount on skies when they’re dry. Make sure to note which direction the giraffe is pointing. Students will be unhappy if you glue their giraffe on upside down, and with all the different poses, it can be hard to tell!