the fox and the crane: shadow puppets with printables

the fox and the crane: shadow puppets with printables | guest post by @liskarediska on

This week, Liska from Adventure in a Box shares a super-cool, totally idea.  So cool, it’s nuts.

Liska is a toymaker, a creator, a mom, an artist and a lover of books.  She is a Russian who has settled in Canada with her son and husband (and her husband just so happens to have one of the coolest jobs around!).

Today, Liska created printables for us and delivers a unique way of sharing The Fox and the Crane fable–with shadow puppets that you can print and use today. Awe-some.

Huge and happy thanks, Liska!

the fox and the crane: shadow puppets with printables | guest post by  @liskarediska on

  • The Fox and the Crane: Shadow Puppets with Printables, by Liska

Greetings to the readers of Teach Mama! My name is Liska, and when I do not run around, trying to keep up with my little son, I make toys and write at Adventure in a Box. Thank you, Amy, for inviting me to write here today. Teach Mama is a regular inspiration, so I am proud to be making an addition to such a fun resource.

When I was a little girl, personal computers had not made their way into most houses, and we only had two TV-channels. If I was lucky, I could catch one cartoon a day. However, we had a slide projector with a couple of cartoon-based slide shows. In my mind it is one of the dearest memories of my childhood: in the evenings someone would put a white bed sheet on the wall, and then tinker with the projector until the focus was just good enough, though never great. We would sit down, and watch the slides.

Where did that slide projector go? I do not know. However, I want for my son to have something as magical and mysterious to remember, and that’s how we came to stage shadow puppet shows, based on our favourite stories. In the evenings we dim all the lights, except for the one we place behind the parchment screen, and the shadows start moving.

Making a shadow puppet theatre can be very easy. Take a box and cut two holes in it, then stretch vellum or parchment paper across one hole. In the dark, place a direct light source behind the screen. Now try putting something between the light and the screen: it can be your hand or a toy.

The audience on the other side of the screen will see a silhouette. Usually, the closer you put the object to the screen, the crisper its silhouette will be.

the fox and the crane: shadow puppets with printables | guest post by  @liskarediska on

If, however, you feel like crafting and making a long-lasting project, you can also follow my tutorial on how to make a wooden puppet theatre.

For actors we sometimes use the previously-mentioned toys and hands, but our favourite ones are silhouettes, cut out of stiff black paper (80 lb or more). Held next to the screen, they give beautiful crisp shadows.

You can make elaborate performances with these card stock actors! Of course, it might be difficult to stage Alice in Wonderland right away, but most traditional fairy tales have a straightforward plot and few enough characters – they are the likeliest choices for being turned into shadow puppet shows.

the fox and the crane: shadow puppets with printables | guest post by  @liskarediska on

We have already made Little Red Riding Hood and Three Little Pigs, and today I would like to make one of Aesop’s fables – The Fox and the Crane. It is also known as The Fox and the Stork, and it has only two actors.

Once, the fox and the crane decided to become friends. The fox invited the crane to come over for a visit. When he came, the fox served soup in a shallow dish.

The fox could lap it up easily, but the crane could not. Nevertheless, he thanked the fox and invited her to come over the next day.

When the fox came to visit, the crane served soup in a flagon with a long narrow neck. The crane could access it, but the fox left hungry.

The moral of the story is usually presented as “if you trick someone, you might get the same treatment back”, but told with a slight change of accents, can also tell children that different households might have different traditions.

Making the designs of silhouettes is my favourite part, and I am happy to share them with you now. Please, download the silhouettes of the fox and the crane here. Transfer them onto the black paper and cut them out, using scissors for outlines and a hobby knife for small details. Alternatively, you can print the designs on a thick white paper and colour its back black, then cut the silhouettes out.

Print the silhouettes here: The-Fox-and-the-Crane-printables

the fox and the crane: shadow puppets with printables | guest post by  @liskarediska on


Next, you will need some bamboo skewers and scotch tape. Tape the skewers to the back of the puppets and they are ready!

Now the lights will dim, and the play will begin. “Once, the fox and the crane decided to become friends…”

the fox and the crane: shadow puppets with printables | guest post by  @liskarediska on

If you like having a shadow theatre, you can always take this game further.

Make a program and tickets together with children, then give them to relatives and friends, inviting them over. The shadow theatres are great because they are suitable for many different ages: even a three-month-old baby will be naturally attracted to the high-contrast figures! Older children will like choosing stories to stage and giving a new dimension to their favourite books, helping to make puppets and tell their own stories with them.

I will be happy if you share pictures of your shadow shows!

Other articles by Adventure in a Box you might enjoy:

the fox and the crane: shadow puppets with printables | guest post by  @liskarediska on teachmama.comLiska lives in Southern Ontario, Canada, where she enjoys simple adventures among the vineyards and peach orchards with her family. It consists of her husband, an armourer, and a one-and-a-half-year-old son, who is as inquisitive and mischievous as any one-and-a-half-year-old could be. When not chasing him around, Liska likes to read books and make toys. Then she writes about it in her blog Adventure in a Box: there you can find book reviews and book-related activities that can interest children of different ages, as well as tutorials on how to make toys with and for children.
You can also find Liska onFacebook | Pinterest | Instagram


 Thank you, thank you, thank you, Liska!

I have absolutely been blown away by the Rockstar Sunday posts over here.

Each week, we’ve been highlighting one ‘rockstar’ in the parenting and education field.  These posts? Seriously awesome.

Anything from innovative reading activities to clever math crafts, from ways to teach kids shapes to ways to use gallon ziploc bags for fun and learning.  It’s awesome.  Crazy awesome.

If you’ve got an idea brewing and want to share, do let me know. You need not be a blogger or professional writer to share your piece.

Simply submit your idea to us! Easy peasy!

 rockstar sunday promo teachmama

You don’t have to have a blog of your own–just cool ideas to share! We look forward to hearing from you!

other posts in the series:

elf, the broadway musical: discount tickets and giveaway- baltimore lyric opera house

elf the broadway musical lyric opera house

post contains affiliate links



elf the broadway musical lyric opera house

elf, the broadway musical, is coming to the Baltimore Lyric Opera House next week.

And I’ve got two tickets to give to a reader and a rockin discount code for everyone else.

Not in or around the Baltimore area? No sweat. elf the musical is hitting the whole country.  It’s bound to be near you sometime between now and mid-January.

Not hitting your area? Buy elf, the movie. It’s a total riot. Not the same as elf: the Broadway musical, but hey–I’m trying to get everyone on board now that our family has found elf.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • elf–Broadway Musical: Discount Tickets and Giveaway for Baltimore Lyric Opera House: My family literally just discovered elf, the movie with Will Ferrell, last year.

Not joking.  My sisters and friends were in complete disbelief when I shared on Facebook: Found the BEST holiday movie ever–elf!


  • Amy. Are you kidding?
  • Where have you been?
  • You must be joking.
  • You’ve JUST seen it? Have you been living under a rock?
  • That’s the best holiday movie of all time–your poor kids!

Not really sure how that happened that we missed it for so long, but one lucky, day we stumbled upon it.  It was playing as a holiday tv special.  From that day on, we were hooked.

elf really is a hysterical, absolutely silly, totally hilarious movie.

And now? It’s on stage.

elf: the broadway musical

elf the broadway musical

And it’s coming to the Baltimore Lyric Opera House next week. And I’m giving away two tickets to two lucky teachmama readers.  SO fun.

Can’t get there on Friday, November 22? No prob.  Use the code FAMILY to buy one, get one FREE on tickets for Sunday evening, November 24!


GIVEAWAY: one set of TWO tickets to elf: the Broadway Musical at the Baltimore Lyric Opera House on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 7:30pm.

Do you want to win TWO tickets to elf: the Broadway Musical at the Baltimore Lyric Opera House on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 7:30pm??!  Yes, yes you do.

Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to throw your name in the hat:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

By entering this giveaway, you are demonstrating your understanding of and compliance with the Official Sweepstakes Rules.

This giveaway ends Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at midnight ET and is open to anyone and everyone who can make the Friday 22, 2013 7:30 pm show. Winner will be chosen by ‘Rafflecopter’ and will be notified on or around 11/20/13.  Winner must respond within one (1) day of notification or forfeit the prize, in which case an alternate winner will be selected.  Tickets will be picked up at Will Call on 11/22/13.  All Official Sweepstakes Rules apply.

fyi: I received a family pack of tickets in exchange for writing this post.  As always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my personal experience as a parent and educator.

Affiliate links are used in this post.


how to play ‘mary had a little lamb’ on the recorder (or try to, at least)

recorder fun with kids cover blank

how to play the recorderWe tried.

Maybe a bit too hard–or maybe not hard enough–depending on how you look at it.

But we have been rockin’ the ole recorder over here for a few weeks, trying our darndest to be musical and to catch a wee tune.

When the kids play, I mean really play, they sound good.

To themselves.

And I remember that feeling quite vividly: being young and wishful and banging out what I though was a serious masterpiece as I tickled the ivories on our piano at home. To me, it sounded like a work of art, like the angels had taken over my hands and that I was sharing my gift with the world–or at least my family.

And neighbors.

But now, as a parent and watching my 0wn three littles do the very same thing, I can only wonder how my mom managed to hold onto her sanity with four girls pounding those keys like there was no tomorrow, playing Heart and Soul, Chopsticks, and our own creations.

So when I was just about ready to throw in the white flag, I decided to switch things around a bit.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • How to Play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the Recorder (or try to, at least. . . ): Instead of fighting the kids’ urges to play their own little diddy every other minute, I gave them a little bit of a focus.

Don’t get me wrong–they did a whole lot of free play, solo creative music writing, walking around the house and yard and bedroom playing their songs for hours on end.


But when I felt like I needed to rein in the talent, I did some research, pulled together my own (pathetic) recorder-playing abilities, and jumped on the opportunity to sneak in a little learning into my kiddos’ little recorder-playing careers.   I thought it would be helpful for the kids to learn a familiar song on the instrument, so we started with teaching them how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the recorder.

It wasn’t easy, and we’re still trying.

I shared the total how-to’s over at the Melissa & Doug blog, on the Rockin’ Out With the Recorder piece. Please check it out for a close-up on the notes and a little bit more about why the recorder is a darn good stepping stone instrument for kids.

Here’s a close look at our rendition of the actual song, Mary Had a Little Lamb, for the recorder:

playing the recorder


And definitely take a look at how elementary school music teacher, Susanne Byrne, explains the connections between music and math.  She also shares some ways parents can develop their children’s music skills at home; she’s got some worthwhile ideas for sure, and it’s a super-quick video from Mom’s Homeroom.

I just feel like it’s always important to be reminded of ways we can make learning fun and build a strong foundation for learning under our own roofs, even if we’ve got to pop a Tylenol or two along the way. . .

Bring on the music! Here are some of our favorite ways to bring music into our home:


fyi: This blog post is part of an incentivized online influencer network for Mom’s Homeroom. Mom’s Homeroom is brought to you by Frosted Mini-Wheats. 

Thank you so much for considering the affiliate links that are included in this post.