Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Smiles" Puppet

This is my “smiles” puppet. He has been in my box for many, many years and is a little worse for all the wear. He used to be on a stick, but it was broken off years ago. I’ve been going to redo him for a long time, but he still works so I haven’t gotten around to it. I originally made him to go with the “Smiles”song (CS-267), and still use him that way to sing with the Jr. kids and in the nursery. I have to take some care with the nursery kids as they always seem to want to pull the mouth off.

You can see that he is made with felt, glued onto a cardboard foundation. The foundation is simply two pieces of poster board, cut into a head shape. The mouth is made separately so that it can twist up for a smile and down for a frown. I cut a mouth shape out of poster board and put a brad through at the center. Then, using plain white glue, I glued two pieces of red felt on the mouth shape, covering the brad on the front of the mouth and allowing the brad to poke through the felt on the back. After the glue was dry I trimmed the felt to the shape of the mouth. Use enough glue so that it covers the felt completely. The dried glue will strengthen both the felt and the cardboard. Then I glued the rest of the face and the hair to the front of one of the cardboard head shapes. Again, spread the glue so that it covers the felt in an even layer. After the face was dry, I poked the mouth through at the proper spot and spread the brad loosely at the back so that the mouth would twist. Then I glued the second head shape on for a backing, carefully leaving a space around the brad so that it could move freely between the two pieces. I also originally put in a popsicle stick to hold the puppet, but would now use a tongue depressor at least, or even a paint stirring stick which would be even more sturdy. Just don’t put it too near the mouth so that it doesn’t interfere with the movement of the mouth.

The kids love to use this puppet and he really isn’t too hard to make. If my directions don’t make sense, please let me know and I’ll try to update the post to be more clear.

I’ve also used this puppet with questions or statements in singing time with both Jr. and Sr. Primary. For example, if we were singing about reverence on a week with a choose and review, I would write on a slip of paper “Jeremy was in such a hurry to be the first in his classroom that he ran out the door and down the hallway. Is this being reverent?” I would invite the children to choose the scenarios one at a time, answer the question and turn the mouth. Then sing an appropriate song about reverence. The activity works with all kinds of themes.

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