This weekend was snowy (Bleh!). Friday was 72 degrees, and we were enjoying every second of it. Then a good 5 inches of snow dropped on us, and we've been bundled up in the house all weekend.
Spring, and I tend to forget this every year, is like that. You never know when those 'inside' days are going to hit. And I wanted to have some fun.
So, I made a puppet theater for the kids. And it was so much fun to make, I've decided to post it here so you can play too!
Peter and the Wolf is a long time favorite in our house. I grew up listening to the record and my husband, who is 1/4 Russian himself, grew up the same way. Our children were listening to this story before they could even talk! It's just such a classic. You know the music, right?
In case you are unfamiliar, Serge Prokofiev wrote Peter and the Wolf (the first symphony for children by the way) in 1936. It's a narrative symphony about a boy (Peter) and his animals as they encounter a wolf from the nearby woods. Here's a fantastic 1941 recording for you.
Peter and the Wolf Recording with Basil Rathbone (22 minutes)
The story goes like this:
One day, Peter opens his gate to play out in the meadow beyond his house. He meets a bird, and soon his duck and cat come to join in the play.
He comes back inside and his Grandfather scolds him for leaving because beyond the meadow are woods filled with wolves (just like a Russian Grandfather would).
Grandfather locks the gate and tells him to never go out there again. But, Peter paid no attention. "Boys like Peter are not afraid of Wolves."
Peter is inside the gate, but his friends, the bird, cat and duck are still out by the pond. The wolf swallows up the duck in one big gulp and goes after the cat and the bird who are up in a tree.
Peter gets a rope and climbs over the gate and into the tree where he ties up the wolf and catches him.
A hunter comes and sees the wolf and is about to shoot when Peter cries out that he has caught the wolf. They tie up the wolf and take him to the nearby zoo.
In the story, the duck is still alive inside the wolf's belly as they parade heroically to the zoo....and our version, we like to say that the wolf spits up the duck and they all parade together.
And that's the story! But the music is what makes it. I can't get it out of my head. And it's so good for children!
Last Christmas, my husband's parents made us an incredible hand carved collection with all the characters and the book and CD in a hand painted wooden box. We have spent the past year acting out this story at least once a month. The children listen to it over and over again, using the characters to follow the musically narrated story. It's been such amazing play for the kids, I've wanted to do something similar for YOU! But I've not been able to come up with how to do that. I nearly came up with a paper doll version, but it didn't seem to be as fun.
But with paper puppets, the body parts move....and can be played with even outside the stage. Hours of fun.
So here's what you need:
A Paper Stage:
This is a FREE download in hopes that you can use it for more than just Peter and the Wolf. You can cut it out and fit it to any kind of box, but a cereal box works great. The stage is very close to a full size sheet of USA standard paper (8.5 x 11 inches). So find a cereal box that works with that size. The crown of the proscenium is easy to tape on, or even better, fasten on with brads so you can change it out and replace it with others that title the performance.
Download the Stage HERE.
Peter and the Wolf Characters:
I debated on this one....I wanted to make it completely cost free, but since it is rather elaborate, I'm charging just a small fee: $5.50 for the entire set. I plan on making more stories, some of which will be more simple will be a free download.
You can purchase the full PETER AND THE WOLF set HERE.
Other Household Supplies:
Small brads (these are used for scrapbooking and are smaller than normal brads used for school or office. You'll find them in any craft store that sells scrapbook materials).
Safety pin (to pre-poke holes before fastening with brads)
Sticks for puppeting These are found at any craft store, wooden skewers used for barbequeing work as well. Popscicle sticks are going to be too wide, so don't try.
The Disney animated classic can be viewed on You Tube HERE.
Another favorite version is here, but there are lots more.
But feel free to LISTEN OFF THE BLOG for free whenever you want. (It's not the best recording out there, but it is the best FREE recording out there. But the voice of Basil Rathbone? Fantastic!)
So there you go! I really hope you like it....in fact, I'd LOVE your feed back on this one. Please comment and tell me your thoughts....I have been wanting to add this kind of thing to my shop/blog for a long time.
Is this something you'd like to see more of?
Can you think of other favorite (copyright free) stories that you'd like to have characters of?
Would you prefer a PDF download, or a KIT with all supplies included that you can purchase and have mailed to you?
I can see this as a collection you can keep adding too....some with just black and white print outs that children can color themselves, some more elaborate and entertaining.
I'd love to know what you think! I can't think of anything out there quite like this....so spread the word and we'll see if I can't get more little "performances" put together. It's the perfect creative play, and I can promise you it's going to be a big hit at your house. Tell me how it goes!