Welcome to another Wacky Workshops project – how to make a magically magnetised puppet theatre.
Pinocchio taught us the dangers of lying. Kermit the Frog taught us how to love ourselves for what we are (It’s Not Easy Being Green). He gave us hope with the thought we will find The Rainbow Connection
As a form of artistic expression, puppetry has been around for a very long time.
Puppets have been used for more than 3000 years. Some believe they were used in theatre before human actors took to the stage.
Ivory and clay articulated puppets have been discovered in Egyptian tombs. Puppets are mentioned in writing as early as 422BCE.
They come in all shapes and sizes, from the life-size Bunraku puppets of ancient Japan to water puppets and shadow puppets which are silhouettes that use light to achieve various effects.
Marionettes, string puppets where dolls are suspended and controlled by a number of strings, are one of the most common forms of puppets.
Puppets make amazing teaching tools, but when you put them in the hands of a child they can promote emotional growth, among other advantages.
PUPPET PLAY FOR EMOTIONAL GROWTH
The obvious benefits of puppet play are promoting imagination, creativity and fine motor skills.
However, puppet play can also promote emotional growth and help children overcome life challenges by play-acting different scenarios.
Unlike doll play, the puppeteer is taken out of the picture (often human hands and faces are hidden in puppetry). This gives them greater freedom to experiment with reactions to different situations. This gives children a heightened sense of control.
Puppets are a particularly useful tool for shy children, who can use them to talk to others, without having to speak directly. This promotes communication and social skills.
There are many easy and wonderful puppets for children to make themselves, from the humble sock puppet to a simple marionette, or string version, such as this puppy puppet.
Using magnets to create a magnetised puppet theatre adds to the sense of magic.
MAGICALLY MAGNETISED PUPPET THEATRE
This magically magnetised puppet theatre is so easy to make, kids can do it themselves with just a little help from an adult.
The best part? You can make it using recyclables.
- Box – a shoebox works well
- Material, wire, buttons, stapler (optional, for curtains)
- 4-8 x bottle caps
- Wine corks – enough for each puppet
- Matchsticks – for arms
- Wool – for hair
- Googly eyes and other embellishments (optional as they can be drawn)
- Wooden rods – I use two, one for each hand
- Magnets – one for each puppet and one for each rod
- Place the box upside down on your workspace and cut out the bottom, leaving a frame (around 3 cm) around the edges. This is the front of your theatre. Decorate as desired.
- Glue the bottle caps to each corner of a long side of the box. These will be the ‘feet’ of your theatre.
- Glue a magnet to one end of each of the wooden rods. Ensure the rods fit between the table and the bottom of the theatre (where you have glued the ‘feet’). If not, increase the gap by glueing another bottle cap on top of each of the others.
- Next, decorate the cork ‘puppets’ using wool for the hair and adding facial features and other embellishments such as small pieces of material for clothes.
- Stick the matchsticks into the cork to form arms.
- Determine which side of the remaining magnets is attracted to the rod magnets. Glue the other side to the bottom of each puppet.
- Place the puppets on the stage and put the wooden rods between the bottom of the stage and the table to move the puppets around.
To Make Curtains
- To make curtains, poke the wire through the box to the top side of your stage and ensure it is high enough so that it is hidden by the frame you formed. Push it all the way along to poke through the other side of the stage.
- Cut and measure your material to fit the stage opening. Cut this in half to form two curtains.
- Use the staple to make a ‘hem’ for the wire to fit through.
- Thread the material onto the wire. Poke the wire back into the box and secure in place by threading the ends onto buttons and glueing the buttons onto each side of the box where the wire goes through.
Name your characters and have fun playacting with them.
Happy crafting and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.