Buna Dorr, who is one of Purple Twig's incredible teachers, works wonders with ages 3, 4 and 5. She has such a patient gentle nature the kids really respond to. She also has fantastic ideas for ongoing projects for them. Since our classes are once a week, the kids sometimes spend 3 or 4 weeks building up a project. This puppet theater is a perfect example of her talent for layering and piecing together a work of art that the kids can also interact with. Look at this amazing dear dancing on it's stage.
She started with a square shoe box with the bottom cut out. This she had ready for them to add their touches using paint, fabric, buttons and cut pieces of paper. We always put glue in our paint so that it acts as both an adhesive and a pigment. Some of the kids also strung beads onto pipe cleaners to add as an added decoration onto of the fabric.
The following week they did watercolor paintings for their back grounds. They talked about backgrounds and landscapes which is usually an inaugural introduction to the idea of landscape. These paintings were added to the lids of the shoe boxes.
The following week the puppets arrived. Using cardboard shapes they start to learn that images are made up of basic shapes like circles and triangles. Each child received similar shapes but look at all the sweet little animals that came from those circles, ovals and triangles as well as textural elements of buttons, felt and shreds of paper. We have a reindeer, cats, humpty dumpty (can you guess which one), pigs and a deer.
Buna hot glued on some long skewers to the back and cut slits in the sides of the shoe boxes so that the puppets slide in from the side. But these puppet theaters can also work in another way because you can take the backs off and use them for other kinds of hand puppets.
The children spent a lot of time performing for each other.