Tag Archive | light

Shadow Box Puppet Theater

A very important factor in your toddler’s development is taking part in imaginative play.  This is partly because imaginative play is a natural way for children to both learn about and express their understanding of their world.  So what exactly is imaginative play?  Imaginary play happens when children use their imaginations to create pretend and make-believe scenarios.  One way to encourage imaginary play is through the use of toy figurines, puppets and dolls, for example.  Today’s post is a great way to get your tot excited about using puppets because it has the added elements of light and shadows!

 

On alternating Fridays I blog about the final activity of our current theme 

 

This week’s Theme:Dinosaurs

Activity Description: Make a shadow box puppet theater

This Activity’s Main Area of  Development: Language, creative, cognitive, fine motor, gross motor, social, emotional

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 5 months

 

  • Make your shadow box puppet theater (Find a medium sized box to use)

1.   Use a box cutter knife to cut out the front and back of your box but leave a boarder so that your box will retain its structural integrity. (Our box already had one side removed, so we only cut out the front).  Also if you desire you could cut out the sides too, to see the shadows from different angles.

Cut a large rectangle out of your box

Cut a large rectangle out of your box

O & M decided to get their toy tools to help Daddy cut the box

O & M decided to get toy tools to help cut the box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O & M remove the cut rectangle

O & M remove the cut rectangle

2.  Use lightly coloured poster paper to cover the hole.  Measure, cut, and secure with tape (ensure there are no wrinkles or holes in the paper)

Measure out your paper and cut

Measure out your paper and cut

Cover the hole with paper and tape it down to secure it.

Cover the hole with paper & use tape to secure it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Puppets – You can make puppets and place them onto a popsicle stick or straw, or you can gather figurines and tape a stick or straw to them.
  • Play! – Find a darkened area, use a flash light or similar to shine into your shadow box puppet theater and have fun making & watching little scenarios.
Gather figurines (puppets) and shine a flash light to create shadows

Gather figurines (puppets) and shine a flash light to create shadows

 

Have a great weekend, we’ll see you on Monday with a new theme and lots more fun learning!

Exploring Light & Shadows: A Reggio Provocation

‘In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.’ – Aaron Rose  (just ask a child).  If you haven’t already noticed, light and shadows are simply magical to children.  Perhaps this is why the Reggio Emilia approach greatly values using light as a material or ‘language’ to help support active investigation & discovery.  Today’s post is a simple example of how to provoke a child’s curiosity by using light.  I hope it inspires you to try this Reggio provocation with the children you love.

P.S.  The girls switched shirts half-way through the initial provocation so it’s possible that I have made a couple of errors in identity!

 

On alternating Wednesdays I blog about a Reggio Emilia Provocation

 

This week’s Theme: Dinosaurs

Description of Provocation: Exploring Light & Shadows: Provide flash lights, dinosaur figurines, crayons, wall mounted blank paper

O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years+ 5 months

 

Initial Topic (Observe and question your tot about a topic of interest)

  • The girls have shown a significant amount of interest in shadows lately.  As we’ve been going on walks they’ve been experimenting with their own shadows and have been waving sticks around and tossing rocks to try to track shadows as they move.

Materials (This can include anything)

  • For the light component, I chose flash lights
  • For the shadow component I chose dinosaur figurines because that is what we’ve been learning about.
  • I also included crayons and wall mounted paper.

Set-Up (This should be visually appealing and intriguing)

  • Where?:  I chose a space with little natural light (the darker, the better)
  • Workspace: I defined the workspace using green painter’s tape to outline the drawing space.  I placed a piece of slate as a platform for the dinosaurs.
  • Display:  I displayed the dinosaur figurines, flash lights & crayons on two levels to make it more visually appealing.
Display with the lights on

Display with the lights on

Display with the lights off and shining a flash light

Display with the lights off and shining a flash light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observation (Observe your tot interacting with the provocation you have set up.  Remember not to interfere or ‘teach’.  If you stay out of the way, you will be pleasantly surprised!)

  • What was interesting?  Manipulating the flash lights was the girls’ main interest.
  • What was asked? Can you turn off more lights?  Can you make it darker?
  • What was said? Some noteworthy statements were: “I’m finding a treasure”, “I can’t find my shadow”, “Shadow is bigger now”
  • What was done? There were three main areas of interest. (see below)

#1 – Experimentation with shadows and drawing – I had the display set up in the dark with the flash light shining so when they came upon it, they immediately showed interest in the shadow.  I showed them how we could trace the shadows.

O shines the light close to the dino

O shines the light close to the dino

O shines the light from a distance (the sun was bright)

O shines the light from a distance (the sun was bright)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O experiments with two dinos

O experiments with two dinos

O attempts to create moving shadows.  She manipulates the dinosaurs (finding food) in front of the light. (Unfortunately the light wasn't shining in the right direction.

O attempts to create moving shadows. She manipulates the dinosaurs (finding food) in front of the light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mommy traces the shadow

Mommy traces the shadow

Mommy traces again.

Mommy traces again (at their request)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M wants to try tracing

M wants to try tracing

O shines the light on M so she can experiment with her arm's shadow.

O shines the light on M so she can experiment with her arm’s shadow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 – Experimentation with light – This included shining the light on different surfaces, waving it around to try to follow it, attempting to illuminate darker spaces, etc.

O observes the light

O observes the light

O holds the light against the ground and lets the light peak out

O holds the light against the ground and lets the light peak out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M dangles the light and watches it move across the floor

M dangles the light and watches it move across the floor

Next, she places a dinosaur there to see what happens

Next, she places a dinosaur there to see what happens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M shines the light in my boot

M shines the light in my boot

O goes under the table to dry to get in a darker space

O goes under the table looking for a darker space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M was shining the light through the holes in the laundry basket

M was shining the light through the holes in the laundry basket

 

#3 – Imaginary play – Using the flash light to go on a treasure hunt (I didn’t get any good pictures of that part)

 

Extension (Based on your observations, add new materials as needed)

  • New Materials: The new materials were a total lack of light & a discussion about palaeontologists.  Because the bulk of their excitement revolved around manipulating the flash light, wanting it to be darker and pretending to go on a treasure hunt, I decided to set up a palaeontological exploration (at night time, of course!)
  • What Transpired?:  When it got dark, I hid dinosaurs around our home.  We talked again about what a palaeontologist is and played a game of ‘hot and cold’ in the dark, using the flash light to find the dinos.  THEY LOVED IT! (oh, and my camera battery died!)
Searching under a bed

Searching under a bed

We found one!!!

We found one!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our culminating activity this Friday will be creating a shadow puppet theatre for our dino figurines.  This will be a great extension to O’s idea of trying to create moving shadows.  She really wanted to play with the dinos and watch their shadows move as she did so.  She adjusted the light a couple of times but wasn’t able to achieve the desired effect, so this will be right up her alley!  We hope to see you then!

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