30 Days of Dolls: King Sun Puppet
No. 1: Simple Storytelling Puppet & for imaginative play
This month, I’ve set myself the task of sharing some of the simple dolls I’ve created or discovered over the past 15-odd years as an early childhood teacher. I’ve made many of these again and again – for my children at home, for story telling props, or for my kindergarten children to play with during inside time.
Most of these projects take only an hour or two at the most, and plenty of them take much less time than that. These are the kinds of activities I love as a parent. Simple. Quick. But still beautiful, truthful and good. I don’t craft rubbish. I can’t see the point. I want the things that the children and I make to be robust enough that they will last for days, weeks, or months in vigorous play or storytelling adventures. (Nature-y crafts may only last hours or days of course!)
I also strive to use the best material I can find. And so I find I’m always on the lookout for good value crafty supplies. When I find them, I snap them up and pop them in my crafty cupboards for a later project. You might like to start doing this too.
This craft is one that might use up some of your older materials or scraps from bigger projects. (I love to keep a scrap basket that Ned is allowed and encouraged to sort through for his play adventures. I’ve had a scrap basket in all my preschool classrooms too. I’ve seen quite a few children use their own initiative to make simple dolls, toys, gifts, and things to use in play using scraps and a bit of thread. What a skill to have.)
My yellow muslin called for a King Sun. But depending on your fabric stash, you might make a mermaid, a water nymph, a eco-warrior with stick sword, a pumpkin Queen, a spell-making witch, or a kite-flying boy. Embellishments such as aprons, hair, hats, shoulder bags, crowns, and tiaras help your puppet dreams to come true. All it takes is a ‘suggestion’.
Just follow the basic steps below to make your puppet and add your identifying objects as necessary.
1. Take a square of material about 20-25cm width.
2. Roll up a ball of fleece or stuffing, and place it in the centre of the square.
3. Catch the ‘head’ in your hand. Tie off the ‘head’.
4. Tie off the head simply by using this fab trick: Fold your thread in half, so one end has a loop. Loop it around the neck as shown. Then tuck the loose ends through the loop, and pull tight. Take one end around the neck via the left, and one via the right. Knot the ends securely.
5. Take the excess threads, one by one, through the head. The first one can be used to secure the crown. The second as the hanging thread.
6. Cut a small crown from gold card.
7. Place the two ends of card together and check the fit on the puppet head. Trim as necessary. Stitch the crown along the seam to close it.
8. Attach it to the head with a stitch in four spots.
9. Stitch a piece of raw fleece fluff on the face for a beard.
10. Tie the hanging thread onto a wooden stick or skewer.
A quick ten minute open-ended toy that can be used in story, in a game, or on a mobile hanging.
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