Be A Clown (Challenge Kit)

Updated Jun 10, 2024

Be A Clown

This kit was created to assist you in completing the Be A Clown Challenge Kit. Included are facts, stories, crafts, games, recipes and information that can be copied and distributed to the participants working on this kit.

Patch Requirements

To Earn The Patch

  • Sparks (5-6 yrs) need to complete 2 requirements from the list.
  • Brownies (7-8 yrs) need to complete 3 requirements from the list.
  • Guides (9-11 yrs) need to complete 4 requirements from the list.
  • Pathfinders (12-14 yrs) and Rangers (15-17 yrs) need to complete 6 requirements from the list.

Be A Clown Badge

  1. Create your own clown character.
  2. Make your own clown costume.
  3. Advertise and celebrate International Clown Week.
  4. Take the time to learn about the three basic types of clowns.
  5. Do you know any other famous clowns that are not mentioned in this Challenge Kit? Tell the group about them.
  6. Take the time to learn about how to set up a Big Top.
  7. Learn at least five Circus Lingo words.
  8. Demonstrate your knowledge of the Commedia Dell’Arte characters by pretending to be one.
  9. Watch a Charlie Chaplin movie or another famous clown movie.
  10. Participate in a clown parade.
  11. Memorize two Clown Jokes and tell them to a friend.
  12. Do you know any other funny jokes? Tell them to the group.
  13. Set up your own circus carnival or play at least two of the Carnival Games.
  14. Demonstrate your clown and circus knowledge by completing four out of the six puzzles.
  15. Make three crafts from the Look Like A Clown section and two craft from the At The Circus Section.
  16. Make either the Clown Finger Puppet or the Clown Paper Bag Puppet and put on a puppy show.
  17. Draw a picture of a funny clown and identify the different clown parts (clothing, prop, face paint, etc.) and what type of clown it is (Auguste, White Face, or Happy Hobo).
  18. Prepare three recipes and serve them to your family, friends, or audience members.
  19. Perform one of the clown skits, or write and perform your own clown skit.
  20. Go to a local circus show

Teaching Overview

Be A Clown

  • Start From The Hat Down
  • Suit Up
  • Take A Walk In Someone Else’s Shoes
  • Clown Props
  • Clown Nose

Types Of Clowns

  • White Face Clown
  • Auguste Clown
  • Happy Hobo Clown

Famous Clowns

  • Joseph Grimaldi
  • Bozo the Clown
  • Charlie Chaplin

Circus Know-How

  • Setting Up The Big Top
  • Circus Lingo

Commedia Dell'Arte Characters

  • Masters
  • Pantalone
  • Il Capitano
  • Il Dottore
  • Servants
  • Arlecchino
  • Columbina
  • Brighella
  • Lovers

Teaching: Build A Clown Costume

Start From The Hat Down

The hat is a central part of the clown costume. A hat that is too big or too small for your head is perfect. Your hat can also have funny decorations. The type of hat you wear will indicate what kind of character your clown will be. For example, a wacky chef clown would wear a chef hat, or a clumsy cop would wear a cop hat.

Suit Up

You can be as creative as you want with your coat and pants. Like your clown hat, the more ill-fitted the clothing, the better. Picture a mad scientist clown in a lab coat with sleeves so long that they get in the way of his experiments. Lots of room for hilarity there, right? Like the hat, your suit should be indicative of your clown’s character.

Take A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes

...particularly someone whose feet are bigger than yours! If your shoes are too big for you, you will be forced to walk funny, not to mention you will look ridiculous. Everyone loves a clumsy clown, so pretending to trip over your big feet will only enhance your comedic performance. Just be careful you don’t fall for real!

Clown Props

You can use virtually anything as a prop. As with the rest of your clown getup, the more ridiculous your clown prop, the better. Your prop could help you do a trick (like balls for a juggling act) or it could be a source of conflict (like a banana peel that you slip on). Like the rest of your clown outfit, try to use a prop that reflects your clown’s character. A clown can use as many props as they want or none at all. It’s up to you to use your creativity and sense of humour!

Clown Nose

A staple of a good clown is a big red nose. Use the clown nose as a means by which you transform yourself; there are no limits behind the nose. Be as wacky as you want when you wear the nose.

Teaching: Types Of Clowns

The specific characteristics of a clown’s costume and personality depend on what kind of clown you are trying to be. Clowns will typically wear big, baggy, over the top costumes. Their costumes should reveal something about the clown’s personality before the clown even speaks.

Clown makeup is meant to reveal the person behind the makeup, not mask them. The clown’s facial features are heavily outlined so that audience members can see them from far away. A clown’s intelligence varies from one type of clown to another, but they all share the characteristics of exaggerated movement. 

There are three basic types of clowns:

White Face Clown

The White Face clown is the oldest type of clown. Its origins date back to ancient Greek theatre. Because the lighting in Greek theatres was poor, actors would use white makeup and black paint to accentuate their features. Another common ancestor of the White Face clowns was the court jesters of the Middle Ages. Although court jesters typically wore little to no makeup, their buffoonish behaviour influenced the tomfoolery of the modern White Face clown.

The White Face clown is characterized by a face covered in white paint and exaggerated facial features painted in bright colours. An outrageous wig often accompanies their makeup. White Face clowns are supposedly the smartest kind of clowns, often acting as the ringleader. They are the clown that you most commonly see at the circus.

Auguste Clown

“Auguste” means fool in German. The Auguste clown is the least intelligent but arguably most beloved type of clown. This type of clown was first developed by Lou Jacobs and Albert Fratellini. The Auguste clown is ditsy and clumsy. Auguste clown acts involve exaggerated movement and a lot of slapstick comedy (for example, slipping on a banana peel).

Unlike the White Face clown, the Auguste clown’s makeup begins with a flesh-tone base. The actor then piles bright, colourful makeup on top to exaggerate the facial features and create a more comical look. The eyes and mouth in particular are heavily outlined. Auguste clowns typically wear suspenders, oversized coats, tiny hats—anything ridiculous and over the top. Albert Fratellini first introduced the red nose to his clown look, something which quickly caught on. Nowadays, clowns are easily recognizable by their hilarious big red noses.

Happy Hobo Clown

The Happy Hobo clown is an exaggeration of the classic hobo or homeless person. Its origins date back to 20th century America. This type of clown has a “down on his luck” attitude, and is often met with misfortune. Contrarily, this type of clown may also be portrayed as having a “devil may care” attitude and an optimistic outlook on life.

The Happy Hobo clown’s makeup is similar to the Auguste clown. The clown’s face begins with flesh-tones and then has colours painted on top to accentuate facial features. A Happy Hobo’s face commonly has the addition of a five o’clock shadow, and their costumes are old, tattered and torn.

Fun Fact!

An ancestor of the modern clown was the court jester. Court jesters
provided entertainment for kings and emperors in royal palaces. Court jesters actually had a surprising amount of political power due to their freedom of speech—they were the only ones who, through jest, could speak out against the king’s ideas and influence his decisions.

Teaching: Famous Clowns

Joseph Grimaldi

Joseph Grimaldi is often referred to as the father of modern clowning. He was born in London in 1778 and died in 1837. Joseph began performing dance on stage at the young age of three years old, and later went on to perform in numerous pantomimes. He is called the father of modern clowning because he played a big role in developing the character that we know today as the Clown. Grimaldi would cover his face in white paint and use colourful paint to exaggerate his facial features. His signature makeup design involved two big red triangles on his cheeks. In his acts he would incorporate singing, expressive body and face movement, and expert comedic timing. Because of his legacy, the most popular clown nickname in history is “Joey.” Grimaldi was forced to retire in 1823 at the early age of 45 due to bad health. Joseph Grimaldi’s clowning was so well-known that the famous British author Charles Dickens wrote his memoirs.

Joseph Grimaldi is an example of a White Face Clown.

Bozo The Clown

Many refer to Bozo the Clown as the world’s most famous clown. Bozo was not, however, originally a real person. Bozo the Clown began as a character in a children’s read-along book called Bozo at the Circus. He was voiced by Pinto Colvig, the voice actor and previous circus clown who also voiced Disney’s Goofy and the dwarf Grumpy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The book was so popular that Bozo starred in fifteen more books before making his live-action TV debut. Many different actors dressed up as Bozo to meet the demands of his fans across the world.

Bozo the Clown is an example of a White Face Clown.

Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin was born in London, England in 1889. Chaplin inherited his performing talents from his mother and father, who were both actors. His father died when he was only ten years old, and soon after his mother became sick. Because of their mother’s illness, Chaplin and his brother were forced to take care of themselves. Chaplin got his first real acting gig when he was twelve, appearing as Billy the page boy in Sherlock Holmes. His career took off from there. He moved to America, where he was offered his first movie contract for a leading role. People loved his acting in the comedy sketch A Night in an English Music Hall and wanted to see more of him. Charlie Chaplin is most famous for his silent films where he used his body and behaviour to make audiences laugh. Over the course of his career, Charlie Chaplin appeared in eighty-two movies.

Charlie Chaplin is an example of a Happy Hobo Clown.

Fun Fact!

Back in the 1900’s, before radios were invented, songs had a different way of travelling across far distances: singing clowns. The clowns would perform the songs and then sell the music and lyrics to people after their performance.

Teaching: Setting Up The Big Top

A circus often has multiple tents set up on the site, but the Big Top is where all the action takes place. The Big Top is the biggest tent, wherein the main circus performances take place. In the early 1900s, setting up a circus required a lot of men, a lot of strength and physical labour, and some efficient teamwork. Circus troupes did not use big trucks and machines; instead, they used horses and ropes to assemble the enormous Big Top.

The Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey Circus was one of the world’s most famous circus shows. This is how they set up their Big Top.

The circus troupe arrived at the location by train. The materials were unloaded by men and carried by horse-drawn wagons to the circus grounds. It takes 60 trained men to raise the centre pole, or king pole, into the air by hand. They secure the king pole into a foundation.

The men use the king pole as a lever, and use horsepower to hoist up the other poles.

The men drive 1500 stakes into the ground to prevent the tent canvas from blowing away. Meanwhile, another group of men unroll the big bundles of canvas and lace them together so that they connect to become a tent that spans 3 acres—that’s about 12140 square meters!

The groups of men all work together to complete the final step. The ropes from the canvas run over the top of the tent and are attached to 20 powerful horses. When the chief gives the signal, the horses move forward and tug the canvas up to the tops of the poles.

Finally, the tent is standing—and all in an expert 11 minutes! That’s how well-trained the Barnum & Bailey Circus was!

Fun Fact!

The first week of August is International Clown Week! President Richard Nixon made the proclamation on August 2, 1971 to honour the joy, entertainment, and charity that
clowns give people. Nowadays, people celebrate International Clown Week all over the world by putting on shows and honouring famous clowns.

Teaching: Circus Lingo

Have your group try to guess the meaning of the lingo before you give them the answer!

Bally Broads or Bally Girls Ladies and girls who sing and dance in the show.
Candy Butchers People who sell candy and snacks before and during the show.
Clown Alley After the clowns put on all their makeup and got ready for a performance, they would wait in the area just outside the door—the Clown Alley—until their cues to perform. DATE: A show’s scheduled performance in a town.
Date A show's scheduled performance in a town.
House The audience in the circus tent.
Itchy Feet The urge that an off the road circus performer feels to get back on the road.
Joey A clown. 
John Robinson A shortened performance, usually due to storm warnings or long travel time between towns.
Jump The move from one town to another.
Kid Show A circus sideshow.
Kip A bed.
Natives Local townspeople.
Pitchman A person who uses demonstrations and sales pitches to sell merchandise.
Ring Master The person in charge of a circus show. The Ring Master will often partake in hilarious banter with the circus clowns to amuse the audience
Sell Out Every seat in the show has been sold out.
Shill A person who pretends to buy a ticket to a game or a circus attraction in order to entice other people into buying tickets.
Trouper Somebody who has spent at least one season working with a circus troupe.
Under The Stars An open-ceiling show without a tent.
Wild Cat When a circus troupe has to suddenly change the location or date of their performance due to unexpected circumstances—“wild catting” a performance.
Winter Trouping Continuing to perform shows during the cold winter months.

Teaching: Commedia Dell'Arte Characters

Even though Commedia Dell’Arte was performed by many different travelling troupes, the characters tended to be the same throughout. These characters are called stock characters. Audiences would get to know these characters; their personalities, what sort of actions to expect from them, and what sort of funny scenarios would arise from their interactions with each other.

Commedia Dell’Arte actors wore masks that usually covered the top half of their faces, leaving their mouths visible. The masks looked like caricatures—big bumpy noses, big furrowed eyebrows, saggy cheeks. Each character also had a recognizable way of standing and moving.

Commedia Dell’Arte characters are divided into three groups: Masters, Servants, and Lovers. The Masters and Servants wore masks, while the Lovers did not.

Masters

The Masters are a pompous group who try to overcompensate for their shortcomings. They struggle to keep up their appearances, while at the same time trying to control their servants.

Pantalone

Pantalone is a miserly old man. He pretends to have no money but in reality hoards it greedily for himself. He constantly complains about his physical ailments (“My aching back!” “My sore knees!”) to try and get sympathy from others. He thinks that he is attractive to younger ladies and will try to impress them, only to end up being scammed by them. Pantalone’s goal is for his son and daughter to marry into rich families.

Pantalone stands with his pelvis forward, his knees bent, and his heels together. He can move surprisingly quickly for an old man, especially when his money is being threatened. His hands are always fidgeting and checking his money pouch.

Il Capitano

Il Capitano is a soldier who likes to brag about his bravery but is in reality a coward. He finds himself to be very beautiful and magnificent, to the point where he cannot understand when other people don’t think so as well. He tells long and dramatic stories about all the damsels he has saved and foes he has conquered. When faced with a real adversary, however, he will try any way possible to get out of fighting, even if it means running away.

When Il Capitano tells a tall tale he stands straight, tall, and proud. He rests his hand on his sword even though he does not actually know how to use it. When Il Capitano is faced with an actual fight, he cowers away from his foe and moves fast to escape.

Il Dottore

Il Dottore is a Doctor by his word alone. He is a pretentious know it all who loves to hear himself speak. He claims to know about everything, from medicine to politics to art to history. In reality, Il Dottore knows nothing. He pretends to speak in Latin and Greek but is in fact saying nonsense.

Il Dottore demands the attention of any room he walks into. His movements are broad, and he bounces when he walks. He uses big, flourishing hand movements to express what he is saying.

Servants

The Servants are a mischievous bunch. They do not take their masters seriously—in fact, they often find ways to play pranks on them and steal from them.

Arlecchino

Arlecchino is a grown man who thinks and acts like a child. He is a prankster who loves to play tricks on his masters and fellow servants, but he is not mean spirited. Arlecchino is nice and sympathetic to others. Despite being naïve, he is very good at getting out of difficult situations. He wants to please his masters but is easily distracted. He loves food.

Arlecchino stands with his hands on his hips, his back knee bent and his front leg straight. He takes big, exaggerated steps when he is being tricky. He runs quickly when he is in trouble, kicking his feet forward.

Columbina

Columbina is a female servant. She is a flirt who likes to trick people into giving her what she wants. She is a rational and self-sufficient character. Columbina is often paired with Arlecchino; however, unlike Arlecchino, Columbina does not have good morals and will take advantage of people.

Columbina stands with her hands on her hips. Her movements are robust and confident.

Brighella

Brighella is the servant with the highest status. He is a crafty person who likes to trick, scam, and steal from others. Brighella will easily lie to get out of trouble. He has no remorse for his actions and has no problem blaming someone else for his mischief. When he speaks to people, Brighella will get very close to their face in
order to make them feel uncomfortable. He is very lazy but can move quickly if he needs to.

Brighella’s movements are slinking and suspicious. He will often stand still as if ready to pounce on any prey that happens to walk by.

Lovers

The Lovers, unlike the Masters and Servants, do not wear masks. They are young, usually the sons and daughters of Masters. The Lovers are in their own little world where romance and drama are all that matters. They are preoccupied with being madly in love with each other and are concerned with little else. A Commedia Dell’Arte show will usually have two lovers, a boy and a girl. Their personalities are shallow and predictable. They have flowery names like Isabella and Corallina for the girls, and Flavio, Lelio, and Silvio for the boys.

Craft Overview

  • Look Like A Clown
    • Make Your Own Commedia Dell'Arte Mask
    • Make Your Own Clown Hat
    • Clown Clothes
    • Make Your Own Clown Wig
    • Clown Bow Tie
  • At The Circus
    • All Aboard The Circus Train
    • Clown Finger Puppet
    • Clown Paper Bag Puppet

Fun Fact!

The first recorded female circus clown was named Amelia Butler. She performed in Nixon’s Great American Circus and Kemp’s Mammoth English Circus in the 1850s.

Craft: Make Your Own Commedia Dell'Arte Mask

Materials

  • Plaster cast tape
  • Petroleum jelly
  • modelling clay
  • Scissors
  • Warm water
  • Headband to hold back hair
  • Old sheet to cover clothes
  • Newspaper
  • Paint primer
  • Paint

Note: This craft will take several days to complete.

Instructions

Making The Mask Body

This craft requires that kids work in partners. One partner acts as a model while the other partner makes the mould. The model should wear a headband to hold back their hair so that it does not get stuck in the plaster cast tape. You may want to lay some newspaper across the floor because this craft can get a little messy!

Cut the plaster cast tape into strips. Be careful to keep the strips away from water until you are ready to apply them to the face, as dampening the strips will cause them to harden. Apply petroleum jelly to the face so that the mask, when hardened, won’t get stuck. Be sure to apply lots of jelly to the eyebrows and hairline.

Dip your strips of plaster cast tape in warm water and lay them across the model’s face. Begin by laying the strips so that they outline the contour of your mask area. It’s up to you how much of your face you want the mask to cover (Tip: Commedia dell’Arte masks typically covered half the face; the forehead, nose, and cheek bones). Lay the strips so that the side of the tape with more plaster faces out. Spread the plaster all around the mask so that the strips stick together. Then, cover the entire mask area with tape...but leave openings for the eyes and nose! Lay three layers of tape over the face so that the mask is strong. Your mask will be strongest if you repeat the original pattern and apply extra tape to narrow places like the bridge of the nose.

The model will then have to stay still for 10-15 minutes while the plaster cast tape hardens. When the mask has hardened, carefully remove it from your partner’s face. Your partner can help loosen the mask by tilting their head forward and scrunching their face. When you remove the mask, sit it on an elevated surface so that it maintains its shape. Try setting the mask on some scrunched-up balls of newspaper. Let the mask dry for 24 hours.

Making The Mask Nose

A defining feature of the Commedia dell’Arte mask is the nose! Take some modelling clay and shape it into the kind of nose you want. The modelling clay acts as a mould for your mask’s nose. Below are some examples of Commedia dell’Arte masks that you can use when shaping your clay.

Stick the modelling clay through the nose hole. Tip: It helps if you insert the nose from behind, as seen in the picture. Spread petroleum jelly all over the nose and apply 3 or 4 layers of plaster cast tape over the modelling clay to create the nose shape. Let the tape harden for about half an hour.

Then, dig the clay out from the nose. If the nose dries with the clay in it, the mask will be too heavy to wear! Set your mask aside and let it dry for a day before you begin decorating

Decorating Your Mask

It’s up to you how you want to decorate your mask! But first, cover the mask in paint primer so that the paint will apply easier to the mask. Then, be as crazy and creative as you want. There are no rules!

Craft: Clown Hat

Materials

  • Big sheet of construction paper
  • Coloured paper
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Glue
  • Ribbon or string
  • Pompom
  • Compass (optional)

Instructions

  1. Begin by making a cone hat. Take a big sheet of construction paper and draw a half circle— using a compass or a pencil tied to a piece of string will make this easier.
  2. Cut out the half circle, then fold the half circle into a cone. Use a flat surface to level the base of the cone, and make sure that the cone is wide enough to fit on your head. When the cone is the width that you want it to be, staple the base of the seam.
  3. You can remove the staple and readjust the width of the cone until you are satisfied. When the cone is ready, glue along the seam and let it dry. There you have your basic cone hat!
  4. Now for the fun part—decorating! Cut out circles from the different coloured paper and glue them to your hat. You can also use glitter, stickers, or any other kind of decorating material you would like.
  5. Take ribbon or string and cut it into strips. Glue the ribbon or string along the inner edge of the hat’s base. Cover half of the hat’s base—you want to make sure that you can see from one half!
    1. Tip: Curling ribbon using a pair of scissors will make it look more like funky clown hair.
  6. Top your clown hat off by gluing a pompom to the point!

Craft: Clown Clothes

Materials

  • Borrowed or old shirts, pants, jackets, gloves, shoes, etc. from parents
  • A belt
  • Scrap material (optional)
  • Sewing needle (optional)
  • String (optional)

Instructions

  1. If your parents have some shirts, pants, coats, shoes, or any clothes that they don’t mind lending you, you can easily use them as clown clothes! Remember, anything baggy will look ridiculous, which is exactly what a clown wants!
  2. Use a belt to keep up baggy pants—unless you want to make them dropping part of your act!
  3. If your parents happen to have some clothes lying around that they don’t want anymore, you can decorate them to make them look even more silly—just be sure to ask your parents first!
  4. You can take scrap pieces of material and sew patches into your pants, shirts, and coats to achieve a Happy Hobo look. Or, you could sew triangles and other shapes to try and go for a Joseph Grimaldi White Face Clown look.
  5. There are no rules with clowning, so get creative.

Craft: Make Your Own Clown Wig

Materials

  • Mesh produce bag
  • Yarn
  • Cardboard

Instructions

  1. Take a mesh produce bag (the kind that holds oranges at the supermarket). Cut off the label, but be careful to not unravel the bag. Roll up the edges of the bag where you cut it; this fold will stop your bag from unravelling. Place the bag on your head and make sure that it fits over your scalp. If the bag is too big, roll the edges up further.
  2. When you have determined the right size of your bag, it’s time to handle the hair! Take yarn in as many colours as you would like and wrap them around a piece of cardboard. The side of the cardboard that you wrap the yarn around should be half the length that you want your strands of hair to be. Cut the yarn along one edge of the cardboard so that your strands of hair are the same length.
  3. To secure the hair to the mesh bag cap, just tie the pieces of yarn to the mesh. Tie the knots in the middle of each strand of yarn so that two strands of hair hanging from each knot. Begin by tying the knots along the rolled edge of the bag so that the roll stays in place, and then work your way up to the tip of the cap. The result will be a big mop of clown hair!

Tip: If you have trouble keeping your clown wig on your head, try attaching a thin length of elastic to either side of your wig. This can be used as a chin strap, like on a party hat.

Craft: Clown Bowtie

Materials

  • 1 sheet of construction paper
  • 1 paper clip
  • Stickers, glitter, other decorating materials

Instructions

  1. Take a piece of construction paper and fold it in half.
  2. Cut a triangle, making sure that one of the points is attached to the fold.
  3. Unfold the paper and you should have a bow tie!
  4. Decorate it using stickers, glitter, construction paper circles—anything you want! Use a paper clip to clip your bow tie to your shirt.

Craft: All Aboard The Circus Train

Materials

  • Coloured paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • Craft foam shapes, stickers, glitter and other decoration materials
  • Popsicle sticks

Instructions

  1. To begin, draw your favourite circus performers or animals, or use the templates provided on the next page . Colour and decorate your circus performers any way you’d like!
  2. Making the circus train is very easy! To make the train cars, take coloured paper and fold it to create a pouch for an animal or circus performer to sit in.
  3. Then, draw the rectangular outline of the car. Use your biggest animal or performer to estimate how big your train cars should be (you can also make your train cars different sizes if you would like).
  4. Make sure that the cars have enough room for the circus troupe to slip easily in and out. Cut out the cars from the paper, making sure that the bottom of the car is the folded side of the paper. Cut out circles from black construction paper to make wheels and glue them to the bottom of the train cars.
  5. To make the train engine, fold another piece of coloured paper in half. Then, using different coloured pieces of construction paper, cut out 2 rectangles, 2 circles, 1 triangle, and 1 square. Open the folded paper and glue all the other shapes except the circles onto the inside. Then, close the folded paper and glue the circles to the bottom to make wheels.
  6. To connect the train cars, glue Popsicle sticks along the inside of the paper folds. You can then use stickers, glitter, decorating foam, or any other decorating material you would like to make your circus train look as whimsical and exciting as you want!

Craft: Clown Finger Puppet

Materials

  • Paper 
  • Scissors
  • Pencils, markers, pencil crayons, etc. (optional)

Instructions

  1. Draw or print out a picture of a clown (this craft works best if you use an image that shows the clown’s face, arms, and torso).
  2. Cut out two holes on the clown’s pelvis. Make sure that the holes are big enough for you to stick your pointer and middle finger through, because they will be the clown puppet’s legs!
  3. Stick your fingers through the holes and move them to make your clown dance, walk, and jump.
  4. You can decorate the puppet any way you like using markers, pencil crayons, or any other decorating materials.

Craft: Clown Paper Bag Puppet

Materials

  • Paper lunch bag
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Crayons, markers, coloured pencils

Instructions

  1. This is a funny twist on your classic paper bag puppet.
  2. The smooth side of the paper bag is the clown’s back, and the other side of the bag with the flap is the front. You insert your hand into the paper bag and curl your fingers into the flap (the flap is the bottom of the paper bag if you open it up). When you move the flap with your fingers, it looks like a talking mouth.
  3. To make the clown’s hat, face, and arms, you can draw them yourself or use the templates provided on the next page.
  4. Colour in the different template pieces and cut them out. Glue the eyes, nose, cheeks, and eyebrows to the rectangular flap on the puppet’s front. Glue the collar and mouth beneath the flap. Glue the hair so that it frames the face and glue the hat on top. Glue the buttons down the front of the puppet. Glue the arms in the creases on the sides of the paper bag.

Recipe Overview

  • Clown Face Cupcakes
  • Cranberry Clown Cocktails
  • Clown Nose Cookies
  • Circus Popcorn
  • Circus Snack Mix
  • Slippery Banana Split
  • Circus Merry-Go-Round

Fun Fact!

Modern clowning was largely influenced by Commedia Dell’Arte in 16th century Italy. Commedia dell’Arte (meaning Comedy of Artists) was a kind of theatre where comedy troupes would travel across Europe and perform for people in the streets. Their shows were improvised, meaning that they did not use a script. Commedia used stalk characters, meaning that there was a cast of characters that every Commedia dell’Arte group used in their skits. The characters were generally divided into three groups: Masters, Servants, and Lovers. The Servants would try to cause mischief, and the Masters would struggle to keep up appearances. Meanwhile, the Lovers would be caught up in their own world of romantic troubles. For audiences of the 16th century, watching a Commedia show was like watching a TV show with a cast of characters they all knew and loved.

Recipe: Clown Face Cupcake

Materials

  • Cupcakes
  • White frosting
  • Red frosting
  • Cotton candy
  • Red gum drops
  • Sugar cones
  • Yellow banana candies
  • Marshmallow stars
  • Mini M&Ms
  • Wintermint candies
  • Coloured nonpareils (or sprinkles)

Instructions

  1. Everybody wants to be a clown, but everybody will also want to eat these Clown Face Cupcakes! They’re easy to make and even easier to enjoy.
  2. Begin with a cupcake of any flavour. The cupcake should be regular or large-sized, as you want the sugar cone to rest comfortably on top. Begin by frosting the cupcake with white frosting; this will be your clown’s face.
  3. Next, lightly frost the sugar cone and roll it in the coloured nonpareils so that it is covered. Nonpareils are little, round sugar candy balls—but you can use any kind of sprinkles! Stick a red gum drop on the point of the sugar and there you have your multi-coloured clown hat. Stick the hat onto the top of the cupcake, close to one of the edges.
  4. Take two tufts of cotton candy and put one on each side of the hat to make the crazy clown hair.
  5. Now, for the clown’s facial features; use the marshmallow stars as eyes and place a mini M&M in the middle of each marshmallow as pupils. Use another red gum drop as—you guessed it— the big red clown nose. On either side of the nose, place a Wintermints candy so that the cupcake clown has rosy pink cheeks. Then, use a yellow banana candy for the clown’s smiling mouth. Outline the mouth with red frosting to create big, exaggerated clown lips. There you will have a happy clown face smiling back at you!

Recipe: Cranberry Clown Mocktail

Ingredients

  • Orange juice
  • Pure grape juice
  • Cranberry cocktail
  • Sugar
  • Fruit slices (orange, peach, grapes, pineapple, etc.)
  • Colourful bendy straws
  • Drink umbrellas
  • Skewers
  • Unusual-shaped drinking glasses

Instructions

  1. This drink is as refreshing as it is fun. Mix equal parts orange juice, pure grape juice, and cranberry cocktail; there you have your tasty drink.
  2. The real clowning around is in the presentation! Dip the rim of your drinking glass in lemon juice and then dip the rim into sugar until it is nicely coated.
  3. Garnish your drink using some wacky decorations like drink umbrellas and colourful straws that you can bend into interesting shapes. Stick some fruit slices onto a skewer—any fruit you like will do. Orange slices, peach slices, pineapple slices, and grapes work well as drink garnishes.
  4. Sip and enjoy!

Recipe: Clown Nose Cookies

Materials

  • Sugar cookie dough
  • Red icing
  • Red sanding sugar
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Round cookie cutter

Instructions

  1. Here’s a clown prop you can snack on!
  2. Use a roll of pre-made sugar cookie dough or your own cookie dough recipe. Cut the dough into circles using a round cookie cutter.
  3. Stick a Popsicle stick in the side of the cookie so that it looks like a lollipop and bake the cookies in the oven. When the cookies are baked, set them aside to cool.
  4. Once cooled, ice them with red icing and sprinkle them with red sanding sugar. Hold your cookie up to your nose, and behold, a clown nose that’s good enough to eat!

Recipe: Circus Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 6 Cups of microwave popcorn
  • 2 Cups of chopped salted pretzels
  • 1 Cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/4 Cup of water
  • 1/3 Cup of heavy cream
  • 1 Cup of miniature marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 Cups of M&Ms
  • Medium Saucepan
  • Rubber spatula

Instructions

  1. What better way to enjoy a funny clown performance than watch it while snacking on some caramel corn trail mix?
  2. Pop the popcorn according to the directions on the bag. Mix the popcorn in a bowl with the pretzel pieces and set it aside.
  3. Pour the sugar, salt, and water into the medium saucepan. Cook it at medium-high heat so that it boils. Let your sugary water mixture boil for about 8-12 minutes; you will know the mixture is ready when it becomes that familiar amber caramel colour! At this point, remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour the heavy cream into the mixture slowly and carefully. The mixture will bubble up, but don’t be alarmed!
  4. Add the marshmallows and vanilla extract and stir the mixture until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is nice and smooth.
  5. Pour your caramel concoction over the popcorn and pretzels in the bowl. Add the M&M’s and any other candy you would like to add! Stir it all together until the popcorn is nicely coated.
  6. Sit back and snack while you laugh!

Recipe: Circus Snack Mix

Ingredients

  • Microwave popcorn
  • Animal crackers
  • Raisins
  • Dried fruit pieces (apricots, bananas, pineapple, etc.)
  • Chocolate-covered almonds and peanuts
  • Yogurt-covered raisins

Instructions

  1. This two-step healthy Circus Snack Mix is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
  2. Microwave the popcorn according to the directions on the bag. The next part is easy—mix all the ingredients in with it and enjoy!
  3. If someone in your group has a nut allergy, you can substitute the chocolate-covered almonds and peanuts for chocolate or yogurt-covered raisins.
  4. It’s up to you what quantity of each ingredient you want to include; the key is to have fun with it!

Recipe: Slippery Banana Split

Ingredients

  • 1 Scoop vanilla ice cream
  • 1 Scoop strawberry ice cream
  • 1 Scoop chocolate ice cream
  • Banana
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate sauce (or hot fudge sauce)
  • Strawberry sauce
  • Maraschino cherry
  • Walnuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. Scoop vanilla ice cream, strawberry ice cream, and chocolate ice cream into a bowl. Your banana split will look extra cool if you use an oval bowl and place the ice cream scoops in a line.
  2. Take one big banana, peel it—slipping on the peel is optional!—and split it in half. Place one half on either side of your scoops of ice cream.
  3. Pour some chocolate sauce (or hot fudge sauce if you would prefer) over the ice cream and drizzle some strawberry sauce over that. Add some walnuts for a bit of added crunch.
  4. Top the sweet banana split with a spray (or two or three), or whipped cream and a bright red maraschino cherry.

Recipe: Circus Merry-Go-Round

Ingredients 

  • Animal crackers
  • Peanut butter
  • Red apple
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Strawberry

Instructions

  1. Cut two 1⁄2 inch circular pieces out of the apple. They should look like flat disks.
  2. Stick four pretzel stick into the bottom apple slice—this will prop up the top apple slice.
  3. Use peanut butter to stick the animal crackers to the pretzel sticks.
  4. Top off your healthy merry-go-round by cutting the top off a strawberry and sitting it on the top.
  5. Now you have a whimsical merry-go-round that is fun to look at and even more fun to eat!

Games And Activities Overview

  • Put On A Show
    • Circus Parade
    • Clown Jokes
  • Carnival Games
    • Knockdown
    • Pluck A Duck
    • Bean Bag Toss
    • Bottle Bowling
    • Face Painting
  • Clown Skits

Game: Circus Parade

Materials

  • Clown costumes
  • Face paint
  • Music and/or musical instruments

Instructions

Circuses would often hold a parade before they put on their show. Have your own circus parade! Dress up in wacky clown costumes, bang on drums or toot kazoos and go on the silliest walk of your life.

Game: Clown Jokes

Why did the clown go to the doctor?
Answer: Because he was feeling a little funny!

I’d like to take over the clown’s job.
Answer: Those are big shoes to fill!

Why was the clown sad?
Answer: She broke her funny bone!

Why did the clown wear loud socks?
Answer: So their feet wouldn’t fall asleep!

Did you hear about the fire at the circus?
Answer: It was in-tents!

What happened to the elephant that ran away with the circus?
Answer: The police told him to bring it back!

Game: Knock Down

Materials

  • Tin cans or paper cups
  • Tennis ball

Instructions

  1. Stack the tin cans or paper cup into a pyramid formation.
  2. Each person gets three balls and three shots at knocking down the pyramid.
  3. If someone knocks down at least 3 cans or cups, they get a little prize.
  4. Whoever knocks down the entire pyramid wins a big prize.

Game: Pluck A Duck

Materials

  • Rubber ducks
  • Black permanent marker
  • A large bin or wading pool
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Use a black permanent marker to mark the bottom of some of the ducks with a dot or an x.
  2. Fill a large bin or a wading pool with water.
  3. Float the ducks in the water. Have someone pluck a duck out of the water.
  4. If the duck has a mark on the bottom, the person wins a prize.

Game: Bean Bag Toss

Materials

  • Bean bags
  • Bucket or hula hoop

Instructions

  1. Place a bucket on the ground.
  2. Have contestants take turns trying to toss three beanbags into the bucket.
  3. The size of the prize they get depends on how many beanbags they get in the bucket.
  4. Use a hula hoop instead of a bucket if you want to make the game easier.

Game: Bottle Bowling

Materials

  • Empty 2 litre pop bottles
  • Tennis ball

Instructions

  1. Set up 6 or more empty 2-litre pop bottles in the standard triangle bowling formation.
  2. Contestants take turns rolling a tennis ball (or a bigger ball if you want to make the game easier) at the bottles.
  3. If they knock some of the bottles down, they get a little prize. If they knock all the bottles down, they get a special prize.

Materials

  • Face paint
  • Designs or stencils (optional)

Instructions

  1. This can be done individually or in partners. Use face paint to make yourself or a friend look like a clown or maybe a circus animal!
  2. You can try to copy designs or use stencils to paint shapes onto your face.
  3. Be as creative as you would like! Popular looks are clown faces, tiger faces, butterflies, stars, and triangles (think Joseph Grimaldi!).

Game: Clown Skits

These scenes can be performed either with or without dialogue. If you want to use dialogue, work in a group to script your performance. If you want to perform the skit mime style, try using music and sound effects to create the mood and to communicate the story to the audience. Remember to use big facial expressions and exaggerated body movement!

Tip: Things do not always go as planned during a performance. If something happens that doesn’t follow the script, don’t panic—improvise! You can make it up as you go along; all it takes is some imagination. Pay attention to your partners and let your natural sense of humour produce a hilarious skit.

Scene #1: Invisible Wall

CLOWN 1 and CLOWN 2 take a walk together. They joke around, laugh, and playfully shove each other. All of a sudden, CLOWN 1 walks into what appears to be an invisible wall and falls backward. CLOWN 1 rubs their head in pain while CLOWN 2 bursts out laughing at them. CLOWN 2 makes fun of CLOWN 1 for falling over, not realizing that CLOWN 1 in fact walked into an invisible wall.

CLOWN 1, annoyed at CLOWN 2, hops to their feet and tries to explain to CLOWN 2 what happened. At first, CLOWN 2 thinks that CLOWN 1 is making the story up. The two clowns argue back and forth for a bit. Finally, to prove that CLOWN 1 is lying, CLOWN 2 runs at the invisible wall—and is knocked backwards. CLOWN 2 rubs their head in pain while CLOWN 1 laughs at them.

When CLOWN 1 is done laughing, they help CLOWN 2 get to their feet. The clowns begin to investigate the mysterious invisible wall. They touch it, they knock on it, and they put their ears up against it and listen through it. They try to walk around it, but they can’t. Discouraged, CLOWN 2 drops to the ground and sits with their back against the invisible wall. CLOWN 1, sad to see their friend discouraged, keeps investigating. After a moment of more experimenting with the wall, CLOWN 1 comes across an invisible doorknob.

Excited, CLOWN 1 taps CLOWN 2 on the shoulder and shows it to them. At first the clowns are nervous about opening the door. They are not sure what they will find on the other side. They begin to argue over who will turn the doorknob and open the door. Finally, they decide to do it together. They both place a hand on the doorknob, count to three, and open the door.

Together, the clowns take a big step through the door. When they get to the other side, they stop and look around. They find that this side looks the same as the other side. They feel around for the invisible wall but find that it has disappeared. Confused but happy that they worked together to solve the problem, the clowns continue on their way.

Scene #2: Missing Lollipop

CLOWN walks onto the scene, looking confused. CLOWN paces back and forth across the scene, looking for something they can’t find. Suddenly, CLOWN stops and notices the audience. CLOWN asks the audience if they have seen the lollipop CLOWN lost. CLOWN approaches a couple of individual audience members and asks them if they have seen CLOWN’s lollipop.

CLOWN scratches their head and looks around. CLOWN turns their back to the audience to reveal that their lollipop is in fact stuck to their back. At this point, the audience will probably laugh and tell CLOWN that the lollipop is stuck to their back. “On my back?” CLOWN asks.

CLOWN struggles to try and look over their shoulder at the lollipop. CLOWN tries to reach the lollipop, but can’t. CLOWN runs in circles after the lollipop like a dog chasing after its tail. After a few minutes of struggle, CLOWN is still unable to reach the lollipop. Suddenly, CLOWN realizes that there is an entire audience of people who can help them remove the lollipop.

CLOWN goes up to an audience member and asks them for help. CLOWN is very happy to have the lollipop in their hands again. CLOWN stops. CLOWN looks at the lollipop, then the audience member, then the lollipop again. CLOWN decides to give the lollipop to the audience member to thank them. CLOWN waves goodbye and leaves.

Scene #3: I Want That Hat

CLOWN 1 walks onto the scene wearing a fancy hat. CLOWN 1 is very proud of the hat; they show if off to the audience. CLOWN 2 walks onto the scene and notices CLOWN 1’s hat. CLOWN 2 asks CLOWN 1 if they can try on their hat. CLOWN 1 refuses. CLOWN 2, grumpy that CLOWN 1 would not share the hat, storms off the scene. CLOWN 1 admires the hat for another moment. Suddenly, CLOWN 1 yawns, feeling sleepy. CLOWN 1 decides to take a nap.

While CLOWN 1 is sleeping, CLOWN 2 comes back onto the scene. CLOWN 2 decides to try and steal the hat while CLOWN 1 is asleep. CLOWN 2 tiptoes up to CLOWN 1 and is about to grab the hat when CLOWN 1 snores loudly and shifts in their sleep. CLOWN 2 quickly retreats. CLOWN 2 decides to try a different method. CLOWN 2 runs off the scene for a moment and returns with a fishing pole. Carefully, CLOWN 2 tries to hook the hat with the fishing pole, but accidentally tickles CLOWN 1 with it. CLOWN 1 fidgets in their sleep and starts laughing, but then returns to a deep slumber. CLOWN 2 discards the fishing pole and runs off the scene for a moment, returning with a big paper fan. CLOWN 2 tries to blow the hat off his friend’s head using the fan. CLOWN 1 begins to shiver, but the hat stays put. CLOWN 2 discards the fan and slumps, feeling discouraged. Suddenly, CLOWN 2 gets an idea. CLOWN 2 leaves the scene with a skip in their step.

A moment later, CLOWN 1 wakes up, yawning and stretching. CLOWN 1 stands up and begins admiring their hat again. After a moment, CLOWN 2 returns to the scene wearing an even fancier hat. CLOWN 1 is amazed by the hat. CLOWN 1 takes off their own hat and asks CLOWN 2 if they can try the hat on. CLOWN 2 pretends to think for a moment. CLOWN 2 agrees to let CLOWN 1 wear the hat, on the condition that they trade hats. CLOWN 1 hastily agrees. The two clowns, sporting each other’s hats, happily exit the scene together.

Scene #4: Tug-Of-War

CLOWN 1 and CLOWN 2 walk onto the scene. They are bickering about who is stronger. CLOWN 1 flexes their arm muscles to show off. CLOWN 2 scoffs and pushes CLOWN 1’s arm away. CLOWN 2 flexes their own muscles. CLOWN 1 is unimpressed and scoffs at CLOWN 2. CLOWN 1 picks up a chair and lifts it over their head. CLOWN 2, rising to the challenge, stacks two chairs and lifts them both over their head.

CLOWN 1 stacks three chairs on top of each other and tries to lift them up—they struggle a bit under the weight. CLOWN 2 also tries to lift three stacked chairs and struggles as well. CLOWN 1 sets the chairs aside in a huff and tells CLOWN 2 to come closer. CLOWN 1 wraps their arms around CLOWN 2 and tries to lift them up, but fails. CLOWN 2 pushes CLOWN 1 off and laughs at them. CLOWN 2 wraps their arms around CLOWN 1 to try and lift them to show off, but fails because they are too weak as well. The two clowns are embarrassed and frustrated.

Suddenly, CLOWN 2 gets an idea. CLOWN 2 pulls a rope out of their pocket. The clowns decide to settle their disagreement over a tug-of-war. They each take a piece of the rope and take steps backwards until the rope is taught. They tug on the rope with all their might. CLOWN 1 starts to lean forward. CLOWN 2 gets excited, but then they begin to slip and lean forward instead. This goes back and forth for a bit. The clowns both hold their end of the rope over their shoulder and turn away from each other. They try to take steps away from each other and pull the rope that way. 

CLOWN 3 walks onto the stage and sees CLOWN 1 and CLOWN 2 playing tug-of-war. CLOWN 1 and CLOWN 2 are so caught up in their competition that they do not notice CLOWN 3 is even there. CLOWN 3 is amused by their friends and decides to play a prank. CLOWN 3 sneaks up to the rope between the other two clowns. CLOWN 3 pulls a pair of scissors out of their pocket and holds it at the rope.

CLOWN 3 looks to the audience and asks if they should do this—goaded on by the audience, CLOWN 3 cuts the rope. CLOWN 1 and CLOWN 2 stumble away from each other while CLOWN 3 laughs. At first, CLOWN 1 and CLOWN 2 are confused. They become frustrated and wonder which one of them won. CLOWN 3 sees that their friends are upset and decides to solve the problem. CLOWN 3 explains that they were watching the tug-of-war and that they saw CLOWN 1 and CLOWN 2 both tug with so much strength that the rope snapped.

CLOWN 3 explains that CLOWN 1 and CLOWN 2 must both be equally strong. CLOWN 1 and CLOWN 2 look each other up and down while they consider this explanation. They agree that it must be true. CLOWN 1 and CLOWN 2 give each other a powerful handshake and make up. The three clowns amicably exit the scene.


Sara McGuire

This Meeting Plan was researched and written by our intern Sara McGuire.


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