Years ago our school had regular field trips to the local puppet theatre and this year we revived that tradition. We took our kindergarten class to visit the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre. If you are in the LA area and don’t know this gem, you have to go check it out. They have been restoring and producing some of the classic acts and they are working with local artists to create new shows. This gave us a great tool to apply our study of push and pull forces.
This was an amazing field trip for our kindergartners because the performance is on the same level as the kids. There is a great deal of close-up interaction between the puppets and the kids and so much of it is absolutely magical and inspirational.
The field trip took 1/2 of the day and the performance was followed by ice cream for the kids and that was followed by a backstage tour. The performers were so great engaging the kids and getting them to see and appreciate all the pieces that make up a complex performance.
After we returned to the school we started making out own marionettes out of found objects. We are applying what we know about push and pull forces to design puppets that movie like we want them to move.
That is the #STEAM application and the NGSS standard – push and pull forces, puppets are physics.
After the Theater
We did one day of free play and building, I made a sample rabbit puppet and gave the kids the same materials I had used. Several made their own versions of the favorite puppets from the show. There were several watermelon puppets as well as a flying bee puppet.
Once we had the class invested in creating puppets we got a bit ambitious and decided to take one of our songs and create a puppet show for the song and present it on Earth day. Wish us luck, seriously.
How could you connect the learning in your class to puppets?
Find puppets near you through the Jim Henson Foundation