Ingredients: Paper or thin card, brass paper fasteners, scissors, pencil
The Big Sell: Let’s make our own shadow puppets!
Strategy: This idea comes from a camping conundrum – I limit each child to one small rucksacks’ worth of toys to keep them amused on camping holidays. Last time , this included a small notebook, pencil, scissors and some brass paper fasteners (£0.99 for a box on Amazon), from which my son decided to make his own puppet.
1) Plan out the torso, limbs, head etc.. separately, making sure you make them sturdy enough to hold their shape and have space to lap over the edges where they attach to take a pin
2) Cut out and fasten together, hinging the joints using the paper fasteners
3) Decorate as much as required. Easy peasy!
4) If you wish, you could also sellotape a straw to the bottom of the torso to give a handle.
The Verdict: My son made his very favourite teddy as a puppet (which also doubled up as a playmate teddy toy that could participate in any number of imaginative games). When night time fell, whilst wrapped up in our sleeping bags, we could use the glow from the campfire and / or a torch to throw a shadow puppet theatre against the walls of the tent. Just make sure you don’t fall asleep on a stray pin!
At home, shadow puppetry (even if you just use the old-fashioned method of contorting your hands to make animal shapes) can comfort a nervous sleeper by demonstrating the wonder of the dark. As an aside, I’ve never been a big fan of co-sleeping your children for too long in case they are afraid of the dark – on the contrary I have always told my children, the dark is the most wonderful blank canvas where their dreams can come to life in the still hush of the night. Games like this can help comfort and reinforce that belief as they become empowered to treat night time as their own special adventure.
Catchphrase: Punch and Judy eat your heart out!
Left wanting more?
- If you want to make a Shadow Puppet theatre at home, check out this link for a “how-to”: http://www.jamboree.freedom-in-education.co.uk/w’s%20craft%20corner/shadow%20puppets.htm
- Here are some beautiful shadow puppets from Andrea Everman: http://owlyshadowpuppets.com/puppets
- Alternatively, this British Museum PDF provides templates for your own Chinese dragon! http://www.britishmuseum.org/pdf/CT_Shadow%20puppets.pdf