Shadow puppetry will challenge your child both physically and creatively. Shine a light on the wall (you can use a flashlight or projector). Show him how to form his hands into shapes that will cast a recognizable figure on the wall. Encourage him to move his fingers and fists in many different ways to form shadow animals. How can you create ears, horns, and antlers? How can you make it look as though the creature is opening and closing its mouth? Can you form wings? Together, invent a story about the shadows on the wall.
You will need:
- Large carrot
- Popsicle stick
- Cream cheese
- Raisins or olives
- Green beans (fresh)
Peel a carrot and cut off both ends. With a paring knife (under adult supervision or with help), make a slit in the bottom of the larger end and insert a Popsicle stick. Using cream cheese as glue, affix raisins or olives slices for eyes and a nose, a slice of celery for the mouth, and parsley sprigs for the hair. For the arms and legs, cut green beans in half and affix with generous amounts of cream cheese. The ideal stage for this edible puppet is, naturally, the kitchen table. The puppeteer hides below, holding the puppet above the edge.
Perched atop a lollipop or craft stick, this classic sugar cookie can become a great entertainer. Creative decorating is the key. Together with your child, mix and bake your favorite sugar cookies. You will need round circles (cookie cutter or the edge or a round glass). Before baking, insert a lollipop or craft stick into the dough. Cool the cookies before decorating. To add features to the puppets, fill a pastry bag with frosting (or buy the prefilled ones at the store) and use a writing tip to add eyes, a mouth and a mop of hair. Set out assorted candies so that your child may use dabs of the frosting (edible glue!) to attach extra candy features. Get silly with it and have loads of scrumptious fun!
Storing Your Puppets
For puppets you will be using over and over again (rather than eating!), here’s a great stand you and your child can build to store the puppets and keep them safe.
You will need:
- A heavy box with a cover (like a shoe box)
- Paper towel rolls
- Spray paint (only with adult supervision)
Trace around the bottom of the paper towel tubes (evenly spaced, trace as many circles as you have rolls). Do this on the box lid. Cut out the circles. Stuff the towel tubes halfway or more with newspaper. Stick a tube into each hole (pushing down into the box) and glue in place. Spray paint the entire box and tubes with paint. Let dry thoroughly. When done, put a stick or spoon puppet into each tube. The finished result—a storage area just right for your puppet pals!
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