A week or so ago, I blogged about the use of puppets in the preschool classroom. At that time, I showed you a very plain puppet stage - all white with no bells and whistles. Now I want to illustrate the potential use of a display board once you get it all fixed up!
I am a big user of stick puppets in preschool. For every song or fingerplay that uses a character, I make a stick puppet. To go with my stick puppets, I have made this stick puppet stage.
I bought a yellow science display board from the local school supply store and added bulletin board borders around the edge. I also glued little pockets along the bottom and sides to hold the stick puppets.
Everything has a purpose
You will notice along the bottom of the stage are apples in the pockets and number stickers placed below the pockets. The apples are in an AB pattern - yellow/red. The numbers help with counting when we are singing a song or fingerplay where numbers are involved. Everything on the board has a purpose!
The top pockets are holding little frogs and fish that I will also be singing about. I can rotate the puppets as often as I rotate songs. When I am ready to sing the frog song or the fish song, I just have a few children come up, get a puppet and jump in behind the stage to sing along.
Making a big opening
This is the other stage that I still haven't decorated yet - something I hope to get done this week. But you will notice that the opening is large and low enough for Wy to see through. What I find, is that the younger children are happier when they can see the action or their friends on the other side. They rather look through the window and hold the puppet. The older children may duck down low to only show the puppet, but they like to take a peak too just to see everyone laughing and singing along.
Choosing a board
The thing you need to know about the yellow stage is the back of it is brown cardboard. So the sides have to face out towards the audience. The white board is white on both side so I can pick which side to decorate and which way I want the edges to point. So just keep that in mind when you are choosing a board for yourself.
I rarely leave the boards that I make out for free play although you might decide you want to. I use them as a teaching tool in circle time. They are easy for me to fold up and tuck away when I don't need them and when I do use them, the children are delighted. I use the boards as one approach (of many) to invite interaction and play-fullness during circle time activities.
Now, go and check out all the ways you can make puppets from this NAEYC Teaching Young Children article!
And check out these unique stick puppets made by The Wonder Years!