For our third DIY Kids project, I decided to make a gift for a very special 4 year old. I also thought that it would be helpful for readers of Childhood 101 who have older children to share a project suitable for pre-schoolers or kindergarten aged children. So without further ado, here is the…
1. This project requires one medium sized box, I used a book packing box.
First, mark the shape that you would like your puppet theatre to be. I am thinking circus-inspired and went for curves, tracing around dinner plates to make these shapes.
2. Use a utility knife to cut along your marked lines. I cut the front and both sides and left a small lip along the back to stop the box from collapsing.
3. As my design went above the fold at the top of the box, I used an offcut to reinforce the fold, gluing it into place with some craft glue and trimming off the excess cardboard.
4. As with the kitchen and car projects, I am choosing to use self adhesive book covering instead of paint to decorate the puppet theatre. I lay the book covering out, securing it at the far end with a weight and only remove a section of the cover paper at a time.
Starting with one side.
Flip the box over onto its front, and then flip over to the third side. Smooth the book covering down, pushing any bubbles to the edge. Fold book covering tightly over all straight edges
5. To fold the book covering neatly over the curved edges, make small cuts every two centimetres or so and then fold each section tightly over.
6. Slit the book covering across the centre opening, trim excess and again make small cuts and fold the book covering tightly back.
7. Because I am a perfectionist and to make the inside neat and tidy, I covered the stage area with a contrasting coloured book covering.
8. Now for the fun part, decorating! As I was trying for a circus tent look, I used thin, red electrical tape to make stripes. This tape came in a pack, two rolls each of four colours for $2 from the $2 shop.
I finished the top off neatly with a strip of the red tape too.
9. A few more decorative touches – three stars cut from craft foam, using a star template I printed out in Microsoft Word. A flag for the top of the circus tent, again using a triangle of craft foam, this time with a popstick and some double sided tape.
10. Attach the stars and flag with double sided tape.
And voila, a circus-inspired table top puppet theatre.
Now to put it to the test…
- $0.00 Box (I love recycling and repurposing!)
- $1.99 Self adhesive book covering (on special at Kmart)
- $0.25 Contrast tape ($2 for pack of 8)
- $0.25 Craft foam
- $0.10 Popstick (probably less as I bought a huge bag for $2)
- $1.00 Double sided tape and craft glue (from our stash)
- $3.59 GRAND TOTAL, that’s under $5 for hours and hours of fun
Puppet shows are a wonderful way to extend a child’s communication skills. As children assume different voices and take on the different personas of the puppets, they are experimenting with language without even realising it. With puppets, children often play out what they have seen, heard and learnt, reinforcing their knowledge of the world around them. Their imagination is also put to good use as they make up stories to share.
Puppets help to build social awareness as children learn to take turns and to listen to each other’s ideas. They are also great for building self esteem and confidence and when I was teaching I saw more than one very shy, quiet child take on much bigger, louder personality from behind the safe zone of a puppet!
Pop back next week for some ideas for making your own puppets too!
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