Who would have thought that something as humble, humdrum and boilerplate-like as a brown paper bag could fascinate a human brain; entertain it for days together and hold it under a spell!
Well, that’s what happened to us. When we were faced with a challenge thrown by my blogger friend – Rachelle at Tinkerlab – to create something creative from a mundane brown paper bag, it got our minds into a whirlwind!
We have brainstormed a dozen and more things since then and have created a few in the past few weeks.
I shared one of them last week – my brown paper bag heart luminaries. But other than that – Pari made quite a few stuff – paper bag journals, paper bag snowflakes, paper bag pizzas, paper bag hearts!
And today – as the Paper bag creative challenge goes live, I present to you Pari’s paper bag puppets and also share how this art project intersected and overlapped with a wonderful literacy exercise – story-writing. The two synchronized beautifully and led to yet another mode of creative learning – a puppet show and storytelling!
Paper bag puppets are not a new idea. You google them and will find dozens of images. But, the idea we’ve aplied is quite interesting. And, I thank The chocolate Muffin Tree for the inspiration. They made their Fandango puppets inspired by the Fandango commercials.
When I saw those images, I knew right away that Pari would be excited by such a fun project. Not just that, I spied great potential in it for some passionate writing and storytelling. And, it turned out bang-on.
Our Creative Process
Before she started making her puppets, I asked Pari if she’d like to discuss the plot or the story that her puppets would be based on. She was more than excited.
I listened to her initial story ideas, prodded here and there, asked a few questions – taking clue from which – she moulded, re-moulded and finally went off to her table to jot her ideas down.
Satisfied, she came up to me and declared that she would want to make a Prince and Princess as her puppets. In her story, the Princess goes for a stroll by the river side where she finds a glass bottle with a message inside. When she uncorks the bottle and reads the message, a prince emerges from it.
She was going to end her story here when I prodded her to continue. How about introducing some twist, I told her. What happens after the Prince comes out? How did he get into the bottle in the first place? What was unique about the message?
After all these questions, she introduced another character – a Witch! She adds that it was the Witch who made him disappear into the bottle. But, even when the Prince managed to come out, he’s scared that the Witch might play her evil trick again.
Considering which, she introduced an owl. This owl – owned by the Princess will fly and sit on the Witch’s head. As soon as the owl will perch on her head, she will lose all her black magic and instead will be blessed by divine magic. Then on, she will go about doing only good things to people. And the Prince and Princess stay together – happily ever after!
The story came first and then the puppets
Now that she knew the characters for her Puppets – or should I say – the Fandango puppets – she goes about figuring how to create the look. Since Fandango Puppets are made using waste household items (besides the two basic raw material – paper bags and glue), our junk cabinet was to be our go-to resource.
Some of the things we spied in our junk cabinet:
- Fabric scraps from the tailor shop (yeah, I shamelessly go about collecting these rags)
- Bottle caps/lids
- Hair bands
- Broken hair clips
- Expired pasta/noddles/beans
- Empty Medicine strips
- Last remnants of crayons
- Caps of waste pens/sketch-pens/sharpies
- Old sharpeners
Pari was pretty sure she wanted her Princess dressed all pink. This part was fun and easy for her.
The glass beads that had gone white from the under side – due to being under hardwater in my terracotta pot, were used as lovely blue eyes for the Princess. She was given a cute button nose and painted some blush on her cheeks. She got a golden painted necklace and pouty pink lips (I cut them up and pari pasted). The lips seem to be a prominent feature of all Fandango puppets.
Creating the look for the Prince with those household items was not so easy. More so – his eyes!
No matter what she used – caps, marbles, buttons, he looked rather monstrous or animal-lish!
Finally, something seemed to click. I suggested that she created some eyebrows to make him look decent. The eyebrows were made out of strings of the paper bag itself!
The witch was easy to create too.
Pari spelled out the look she wanted before she even started – long piercing eyes, long nose, teethy grin, coarse, unruly hair, purple attire and a broom in her hand (did not get around to adding the broom as her friends poured in and she ran away to play).
The owl was made by an older friend of Pari – Mitali, who’s about 15. She used expired pasta and coloured them.
I gave her some paper strip beads (Pari had made long time back) that she used as the owl’s head.
Once we had the puppets, we did some rehearsal for the upcoming puppet show. We are planning to do it sometime next week with Pari’s friends chipping in too! We’ll be discussing the script this week – for the puppet show.
I’ll keep you posted about it.
What a fun and creative mix of art, literacy and drama this turned out to be! It kept Pari busy for 3-4 days! And, I can vouch we will be making many more of these puppets for storytelling and drama.
Here are some more examples of how art and literacy can be integrated to enrich learning for our children:
- Art and Poetry
- Autobiography with cues from personal photos
- Adding script to photos of wild animals
- A movie based on Storybook
- A gratitude Art Journal
- Self Portrait with Words
If you’d like to make Fandango puppets, go ahead and try for it’s a really process-oriented, open-ended sort of art/craft that will fuel the child’s imagination.
Or, I recommend this game that lets you create your Fandango puppets online. Pari and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Tinkerlab’s creative challenge is seeing participation from around the world!
You can participate too!
If you have created something with paper bag or plan to create soon, please add your post or photo below in the linky. There’s a Pinterest contest happening around it, too! You will be entered into the contest to win some attractive goodies.
Here’s a whole creative bunch of bloggers who are showcasing their creation with brown paper bag. Visit these fabulous blogs to see their inspiring creations.
Paint Cut Paste, Imagination Soup, Hands On: As We Grow, Child Central Station, Putti Prapancha, Irresistible Ideas for Play-Based Learning, Teach Preschool, The Chocolate Muffin Tree, Nurture Store, Small Types,Make Do & Friend, The Imagination Tree, Toddler Approved, Red Ted Art, Kids in the Studio, Rainy Day Mum, Glittering Muffins, Sense of Wonder, Mom To 2 Posh Lil Divas, Come Together Kids, My Creative Family, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, A Mom With A Lesson Plan, Angelique Felix, The Golden Gleam, Clarion Wren, Living at the Whitehead’s Zoo, Let Kids Create, De tout et de rien, PlayDrMom, Creativity My Passion, Kiwi Crate, Tinkerlab, Mommy Labs