Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Puppet Play

Recently Jeff brought home a couple paper boxes from work for the kids to play with.  These more often than not end up as cars.  However this time I had in mind a higher purpose.  We have an array of finger puppets that have found their way into our home, and of course they needed a proper performance space! Nate and Elli were embraced the possibility of a new toy and eagerly handed over one of their boxes and shared the "car."

For this project you will need:
1 sturdy paper box
Rugged scissors or a knife (adult use)
A metal clothes hanger
Wire cutters
14 brass fasteners
A piece of fabric 13" x 24" (I used wool), cut into two pieces 13" x 12"
About two feet of duct tape
Crayons/markers/etc. to decorate theater
Note:  We had all of these items on hand, if you don't have something just look around and see what you can substitute.)

Cut a rectangle in the bottom of the box.  Ours was 4"x12."  Basically you want to leave about two inches around each edge to retain the integrity of the box structure.

Using wire cutters, cut off the hook and twisted part of the hanger.  Straighten out the hanger and set aside.

Cut your fabric into two pieces, 13"x12" each.  Taking your brass fasteners punch through the front of the fabric at regular intervals across the 12 inches about a half inch from the top.  Once each fastener is through you will want to make a loop by making a "V" with the ends of the fastener.  You will then bend each end together until they are overlapping (see picture).  Do this for all 14 fasteners.

Push one end of the straightened wire hanger through the top front of the box about a half inch from the front and top.  Thread on the curtains (this is a great job for kids), and then push it out the other side.  Bend the extra wire on each end down to be parallel to the sides of the box.  Duct tape these in place.

Decorate.  Nate and Elli drew a house and sky on the backdrop.  We have also been toying with the idea of making a slit in the back of the box and cutting cardboard to fit.  They can then decorate this to change scenes.

To use your puppet theater take two chairs and set them so the seats are facing each other.  We like to then put a blanket so the audience can't see the puppeteers.  Set your theater box on and you're ready to go!

To create a home for our puppets we recycled a small oatmeal box and did a google image search for "puppets."  I then copied and pasted this onto a center of the sheet and typed "PUPPETS" in a fun font.  We glued this onto the box and now our puppet have a place to go at the end of the day!

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I'd love to hear about your adventures!