From time to time the ASL at the McPherson branch has a project idea that she wants to share with the kids.  In order to keep from having to many projects going at once which would distract the kids I offer to help out.  It’s important to get and give help where you can, especially when working in under-served regions when it’s common to get no help at all as money is spread so thin and honestly there are a lot of places in this city that need help. Many places depend on unpaid volunteers to piece programs together.  This has been a top of discussion we’ve been having here in Philadelphia when our MCM’s get together due to our uniqueness within the MakerEd program. Okay, I just got myself off topic a bit, but wanted to share a little bit of the way things go.

So the project was to make marionette puppets out of cardboard, string, popsicle sticks, and markers. It was a fun project to have the kids make and there was quite a bit of excitement about making them. A template was made that each kid would trace out onto the cardboard and then cut out first. (As I’ve mentioned previously it is truly astonishing to find so many individuals with no idea how to use scissors. You might be able to use scissors upside-down and backwards to some basic level of success when using regular pieces of Xerox paper, but when cutting cardboard or shapes it’s pretty important that the scissors are held properly in order to not only to ensure cutting evenly, but also safety! Anyway…)

The next step was to place holes in the proper spots on the puppet pieces and string them up.  The hole-punch we had before broke so this was another challenge. Making good sized holes in the cardboard to string yarn through using scissors without ripping the pieces to shreds made me really miss that hole-punch!

The marionette control-armature was made by lashing two popsicle sticks together. Once all the pieces were properly strung up the where they needed to be we connected them to the control-armature. At that point the decorating could truly get underway!

There were quite a few fun designs the kids were coming up with. One of the kids was excitedly making his puppet into his favorite pop singer. He made us guess who he was going to make.  It took a while running down the list of all the different pop singers we all thought it might be. Eventually it simply became a process of elimination. We were running out of pop singers! But finally we guess correctly: Beyonce. And he had her dancing around like crazy when he was all done. Definitely the most enthusiastic of the whole group!

Not all of the puppets turned out quite as had been expected in the beginning, but everyone who tried had a good time and was happy no matter what the results.

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