Sunday, June 28, 2015

DIY Puppet Theater - Expressing Emotions & Creative Play

 This Inside Out shop and puppet theater tutorial has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #InsideOutEmotions #CollectiveBias

For Father's Day, we all went to the movies to watch Inside Out as a family. I have to admit that It was a great movie and was really surprised that my youngest, just 2-years-old, really enjoyed the characters as much as the rest of us. If you have a wiggly toddler at home, you know how big of a deal this is.

So I was excited to let all the kids pick out their own Inside Our plush on a recent trip to Walmart. We love role playing games and putting on shows, and I thought these adorable emotion plush toys would be perfect for putting on our own puppet plays. 

So which emotion did each of my kids choose?

We let my youngest, Elliott, select his favorite character first. I was surprised when he picked Sadness, but he was very sure about it.

Maybe it was the blue he loved, or the big blue eyes that matched his own, but either way it was snuggly love at first sight.

It is hard for my 2-year-old to deal with all those swirling emotions going through him. Recently there have been more tantrums, more spontaneous crying and frustration about not being able to have ice cream at every meal. So, Sadness was probably the perfect choice for Elliott. He is learning that sadness means some things are just too much fun to stop, and it is okay to be sad when things don't happen the way he hopes.

My middle child picked Disgust. An interesting choice for her.

I asked my daughter to show off the emotion, "disgust" for me, but she just couldn't do it. Okay, she can't do it on cue, at least. Anyone with a daughter knows that little girls can turn disgust on and off when the moment is right. Those sensible shoes? Not going to happen... they don't light up or have glitter on them. Oh, yeah, tutus and sparkly glitter go with everything. Hand-me-downs from her big brother, that would be a moment for disgust.

But at this moment she was far too happy to let disgust show.

And my oldest? My almost 8-year-old is a firecracker, for sure! I was not surprised when he picked Anger. He is at a tough age. He is putting aside some of his favorite toys and hobbies in favor of more mature interests. But, he still gets frustrated and doesn't always know the appropriate way to release his anger.

So what happens when emotions run high in our house? Well, it is the perfect time to play! We created an easy puppet theater out of simple items we picked up at our local Walmart. This gave us a chance to role-play all those emotions and talk about how they make us feel.

DIY Puppet Theater

You Will Need:
  1. tri-fold display boardred
  2. poster board or construction paper
  3. utility knife, or box cutter
  4. scissors
  5. craft glue
  6. glue dots
  7. ruler
  8. ribbon or string
  9. gold sharpie
  10. twine or colorful string
  11. scrapbook paper
  12. mini clothes pins
Grab some supplies and let's get started! This project will require help from an adult.

First I created the window for the puppet theater. I left a nice margin all around the window, and put it up high enough my kids could use it while kneeling. The corrugated board is thick, so a utility knife or box cutters work best here. 

Then I measured the opening so I could make the red curtains to frame the window. I wanted them to hang down below the window and also go across the entire middle section of the display board.

Then I cut out a top piece, 2 curtains and used some of my discarded cardboard (glued three layers thick) to make the top piece stand out and add depth. I glued those under my top piece of red cardboard.

Then I added details to my theater. I had some vine ribbon that I used for curtain ties. Then I created a brightly colored bunting out of scrapbook paper, mini clothes pins and gold-flecked kitchen twine.

I had extra triangles left over from the bunting, so I decorated the sides of the puppet theater with those.

And for a final touch, I added some details with a gold permanent marker. That really helped the curtains stand out from the theater.

The finished puppet theater is simple, bright and fun! 

Then it was time to put on a show! Kids don't really need any help in this department. With the cute Inside Out plushes, my kids had lots of ideas for stories.

But, in this house everyone wants to perform. This was a great way to start a discussion about emotions as well as appropriate ways to express emotions, etc.

You can grab your own collection of Inside Out plushes at Walmart. Just look for the cute Inside Out displays.

Then for after performance snacking, we also found Kellogg's Inside Out fruit snacks. Aren't these adorable? They are shaped like each of our favorite emotions from the movie.

Who, in your life, would like their own puppet theater and Inside Out plushes? How do you explore emotions in your family?

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