DIY Shadow Puppets

A couple weeks ago our family went camping, which is a really big deal, because we are NOT campers!  Two of our kids attend a school where they have a Fall Campout each year so we committed to staying one night…and although my husband and I both agree that we are more “glampers,” than campers, we ended up having a ton of fun and our kids loved the whole experience.  I have a feeling we will be camping again!

My daughter was super excited because her daddy bought her a pink flashlight and she was really looking forward to making shadow puppets in the tent with her big brothers.  Of course, when we got home, she wanted to create some animal shadow puppets to play with.  One evening, last week, we went to work creating these cute little popsicle stick puppets that have provided a ton of content for imaginary play and story telling for little miss.

I used my Cricut Expression 2 to cut out the animals and other shapes, but if you do not have a Cricut, simply create a document with templates that you can cut out of card stock.  Here is one I put together that you can print off and use to make your own animal shadow puppets without using a Cricut.  animal template pdf

The possibilities are endless with these little puppets.  You can create seasonal themes, print off silhouettes of your child’s favorite story book or movie characters, weather puppets, dinosaurs, garden, farm, cars, princesses, fairies, and so much more.

One thing that I realized, after creating so many characters, was that they were hard to hold onto.  So with an old shoebox and a pair of scissors, I created a diy holder for all of the puppets.  This made a perfect “stage” for my daughter to put the puppets on as she told her story.  The great part about using a shoebox, is that it doubles as storage to hold all of the characters and a flashlight so they are contained & easy to find for future use.

Check out my video tutorial above for tips on making some shadow puppets with your own children.  fullsizeoutput_eda2fullsizeoutput_eda1IMG_9671IMG_9676IMG_9677IMG_9679

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DIY Magnetic Marble Track

At the beginning of this summer, we spent a day at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA.  If you’ve never been there, it is such a fun experience with tons of hands on exhibits.  One of my daughter’s favorites was a wall with plastic magnetic tubes to create a “marble track” and little balls to test it out on.  She spent quite awhile rearranging the tubes to make different tracks and trying them out.  As I watched her, I started thinking about how I could make something similar at home, and this idea was born.

I began saving toilet paper and paper towel rolls and waiting for just the right time to create our DIY Magnetic Marble Track.  This Saturday was the perfect day!  My oldest was away at camp with his youth group and my two younger kids were having a pajama day.  My husband was taking a nap and the kids were getting “bored,” so together we created this super fun “boredom buster!”

Check out my daughter’s “Craft Time With Karis” video tutorial (above) to learn how to make these with your own kids.  It took some trial and error, but we figured out the best way to keep the tracks up and the best balls to use.  Here are a couple of tips:

  • make sure your magnets are strong enough…we tried some at first that would not hold
  • use light weight balls: we found my son’s Nerf Rival Bullet Balls to be the perfect balls for this project.  Small bouncy balls were a close second.  Marbles were too heavy and knocked the tracks right off.  Experimenting with different options is part of the fun!
  • even though we used magnets that were sticky on one side, it is best to hot glue them as well for a stronger hold

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For more “Craft Time With Karis” videos click on the following:

DIY Kids Magnetic Puzzles

Colored (RAINBOW) Rice

Tricky Hopscotch (with a twist)

Valentine Craft: Cookie Cutters & Paint

 

Trolls Craft: Poppy’s Popsicle Stick Frames

You know that scene from the movie “Trolls,” when Poppy and Branch are on their way to rescue their friends from the Bergens, and they camp for the night?  Poppy sets up a collage of Popsicle Stick Frames with pictures of all the missing Trolls and it keeps expanding.  That was the inspiration behind this Trolls Craft.  As soon as I saw that scene, the first time we watched Trolls in the theater, I knew that my daughter and I would have to make a “Poppy Frame” of our own.  So I started gathering the supplies, and my plan was to have a special “Trolls night” with my girl as soon as the movie came out on DVD.

I found a set of Trolls stickers at Joann Fabrics.  The rest of the supplies we bought from the Dollar Tree.  I also picked up this amazing find, a plastic veggies and dip tray to hold all of our craft supplies.  I have reused this dollar store treasure many times since for other art and craft projects and sensory activities.

The week that Trolls hit the Red Box, I surprised my daughter with a special “Mommy/Sissy” Day.  We rented the movie, made our craft, and also created a yummy   treat to enjoy,  Trolls Marshmallow Pops.

My daughter thoroughly enjoyed her special day and spent a long time making her Poppy Popsicle Stick Frames with pictures of her favorite Trolls and tons of decorative embellishments.  Here’s what we used:

  • colored popsicle sticks
  • colored cardstock to back the frames
  • Trolls stickers
  • buttons
  • beads
  • sequins
  • paper cutouts (cut from my Cricut, left over from another project)
  • butterfly charms
  • pom poms
  • glue (I used a hot glue gun for the frames and my daughter used Elmer’s glue for the decorations)

Here’s a screen shot of Poppy’s Frames and some fun pictures of my daughter’s creation.

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