Monday, September 6, 2021

Puppet Making Projects for Kids

I like to do at least one puppet making project a year with young children. It gives us as chance to invent a character and practice communication with fun, silly voices.

This year I dedicated a week of art classes to playing with the idea of students making puppets in a variety of ways, including cup puppets. a small hand can fit inside a cup, so why not tape, paint, or glue features to it and bring it to life. This purple bunny cup was made from pipe cleaners, pompoms and contruction paper. I had to use hot glue to get it to stick, but students would pick out what they wanted and place it where they wanted before handing it to me each time I needed to tack something in place.

Rod puppets are popular in some African countries. Wooden spoons can be the start of rod puppets. Someone handed me a package of spoon bunny kits. I hate to do projects made from kits because there's little room for creativity, but my students made costumes by cutting out fabric and gluing them to the handle. One even made a giant top hat shaped foam pocket, so the magic show rabbit can pop out of the the inside of the hat and then slide back inside.

Hand puppets can be made from socks, mittens, paper bags or just pieces of construction paper folded in half and cut out in the shape of a robot or alien. Finger puppets are always the easiest way to start with a puppetry unit, especially for me, because I have bags full of basic rounded bodies as a foundation for kids to glue features. The trick is to have lots of options in terms of materials: tape, beads, buttons, beady eyes, foam, paper, markers, paint, yarn, etc. You want them to decide who to make and how to make them.  Then sit back and watch the show biz magic happen.

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