Paper bag puppets are hardly creatively groundbreaking when it comes to kids’ activities. I remember making faces on the flaps of lunch sacks as a young child, and loving every minutes of it. As an adult, I’ve made what feels like a zillion puppets with my own son as well as the children who I teach. Even though they are so simple to make, kids seem to always enjoy making a new pretend play friend out of a boring old paper bag.
So, I’m going to skip the traditional draw a face on the flap paper bag puppet directions. You’ve probably been there and done that and are now looking for something a little different. Yes? Ok, so on to the photo puppet. Instead of drawing it, have your child choose a photo (or a few) of a person or an animal. If your child is completely obsessed with a cartoon character, print out a picture of her favorite animated friend to use instead.
Here’s What you’ll Need:
· A headshot photo
· Clear drying school glue
· A lunch-sized paper bag
Here’s What to Do:
1. Cut out the face from the picture.
2. Place the bag flap side up and to the top on your work surface.
3. Glue the photo to the flap.
What next? Your child can get as creative as she wants to decorate the rest of the bag – both the front and back. I tried three different ways of decorating, but your child might opt for something different. Let her help you to choose the materials that she’ll use if she’s not into one of these methods:
Feathered Animal Friends: Make a bird or a mixed-up animal creature (we made a cat-bird). Glue colorful craft feathers to the bag to add a soft, fluffy texture.
Textured Paint: An easy way to create ‘fur’ for an animal puppet. Pour pools of tempera paint onto a plate (I used the lid of an old plastic-ware container). Use a pom pom or piece of crumbled tissues paper to make paint prints. Dip the pom pom/tissue into the pant and then press it onto the bag. Your child can mix and blend a few colors too!
Pipe Cleaner Arms: Poke two holes in the bag, one on each side. Make the holes directly across from each other. You may need to do this step or your younger child. Thread a pipe cleaner through to create two arms.
Collage Clothes: Use tissue, construction paper or fabric scraps to collage clothes onto the character puppet.
When your child is done with the art-making, she’s ready for pretend play! She can create her own scene, act out a story book or you can use the puppet to role play. If your child is stressing about starting school, is apprehensive about how to handle her new puppy or is having sibling issues, you can use a photo puppet to act out a tense scene and ease your child’s anxiety. Doing this helps her to explore decision-making skills, problem solve and work on constructive communication in a safe environment. For example:
· First day of school: before school starts ask your child’s new teacher for a picture or ask if it’s ok to snap one at an orientation day. Make a teacher puppet and play act a day at school with your child.
· New animal: You have some concerns that your 4-year-old will brashly mishandle your new puppy or kitten. Create an animal puppet and cover it with soft craft fur. Use it to show your child how to properly ‘meet’ a new animal. Put the puppet on your hand and let her put her own hand in front of her pretend play friend’s face to smell. Have her gently pet the puppet, letting her know if she’s getting too rough.
· Baby in the family: Same deal as the new animal. Before she mishandles the baby, try patting the puppet’s head or stroking its cheek.
· Friend or sibling conflict: Act out a conflict that your child is having by making a big sister puppet or playdate pal.
Are you looking for more creative crafts to try out with your child? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Creative Kids Crafts on Pinterest.