This might be one of my all-time favorite collaborations my campers have ever done. I just love this puppet theatre – how gorgeous is that fabric? I know I’m not supposed to say that art is beautiful, and I don’t say that around my students, but to you I can say this. I mean, they did this all on their own…five-year olds! There is a video down below where you can watch them painting, and then trying their hand at puppeteering (we might need to work on this skill, ha!).
Read through for directions on how I turned this painted sheet into a puppet theatre with just scissors and glue!
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~ One old sheet cut to a size that will fit in your doorway (or even better, some heavier fabric like canvas)
~ A plastic mat to put underneath, or you could do this outside on the grass (you would need to weigh down the corners)
~ Liquid watercolors + jars and brushes
~ String (I used baker’s twine)
1. Kids paint the fabric (we used the colors: red, orange, pink, blue/green, yellow and gold).
2. Let the fabric dry.
3. Lay it back down and mark a window frame using a template. I put mine in the middle. I then used a ruler and a pencil to mark out where I was going to paint the lines.
4. Using black paint in painterly strokes (which means not too fussy, it’s ok if it’s not perfect), paint the window frame.
5. Paint the lines for the curtains.
6. Cut along the bottom, halfway up the sides, and down the middle.
7. Cut a little slice on the side of the window and thread the string through. Tie in a bow.
8. Fold the top over about 1.5″ – 2″ and use the glue gun to secure the casing. This is now the “pocket” for the rod to go through.
9. Put the rod through and secure it to the sides of the doorway. That’s it, you’re done!
The kids made these cute sock puppets inspired by a thousand pictures on Pinterest. Basically, you just get some socks, yarn, fabric scraps, buttons, and a glue gun and figure out a way to make a face. I personally think sock puppets are awesome, and so hilarious when the kids figure out that their hand can make a talking mouth!
And they were off! Making up stories and taking turns presenting “the show”. This video says it all.
This is stunning! The color, the process, the giggles, I love everything about this project!
you’re the nicest to be the first to comment!! long overdue video. thank you ana banana!! xo bar
Love this! A side note… what kinds of things DO you say to kids as “praise” for art? I struggle with this and my 5 year old. I will say “you are working hard/ really thinking about that” etc but I need better ways to praise creativity rather than just saying her artwork is awesome or beautiful. :-/ we are using so many of your ideas for our homeschooling time this year.
hi kelly! i think we all struggle with the right things to say, even when we know what not to say. you are right to praise the process and engage in conversation though, you are doing what you are supposed to so don’t worry. some other things you might say would be: Tell me about what you’ve done. What are you thinking? I’ve noticed you used lots of red in the middle. You used all the paper! I think just noticing what your child is doing, giving them all of your attention, and opening the door to conversation is everything that is needed. The problem with empty praise, like “It’s beautiful”, is that it’s a lot to live up to. It may make your child timid to do more art in case it’s not beautiful the next time. I’m so happy to hear you are using some of my ideas. Thank you for leaving a comment!! xo bar
This is gorgeous! I would love to use this idea for a summer camp for my kiddos! I am wondering what the youngest you think this is appropriate for? Maybe 5 years old?
Hi Jessica, thanks for leaving a comment! The kids in art camp that made this puppet theatre were 4 and 5 years old. I think 3-year olds could even do it as long as they are familiar with the liquid watercolor medium. Let me know if you try it! xo Bar
By far this is the best project we can do with kids. Thank you for this awesome idea!