This week, Liska from Adventure in a Box shares a super-cool, totally new-to-teachmama.com 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, 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.
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.
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
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…”
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:
- How to Make a Puppet Theatre
- Little Red Riding Hood Shadow Puppets
- Books You Will Not Tire of Reading to a One-Year-Old
- How to Make a Fairy Tree House Furniture
Liska 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!
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:
- letter sounds using 26 kid-centered photos
- play with letters or numbers: cool summer learning for kids
- patriotic flags: shrinky dinks
- how to keep your kids hydrated
- 10 ways to create a literacy rich environment
- help your kids love science
- gallon ziploc bag activities
- getting kids to love reading with lit club
- fractions with FOOD!
- sweet, sparkly flower craft
- toddler shapes
- tons more!
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