Our family moves every few months right now, which makes it really tough to build up a good supply of craft materials. It's hard to justify the space for all that extra cardboard and the pile of old socks when you're packing to move cross country.
When you are cramming all of your kids' toys into a single suitcase, and that suitcase may be thrown down on the tarmac, you don't choose finger paint. When you're driving all the way from Alabama to Arizona, you don't choose wax crayons that may be left in the sun.
I've decided to keep paper on hand, and use it as many ways as possible. These finger puppets were really fun. They're also a good way to build your child's observation skills, one of the two skills needed in toddler science. We made barnyard animals to use with David McPhail's "The day the dog said, Cock-a-doodle-doo!".
This month my toddler and I are participating in the book club at Toddler Approved!. The featured author this month is David McPhail. As I was browsing the library catalog I found not only, "The day the dog said Cock-a-doodle-doo", but also, " El dia que el perro dijo, Quiquiriqui! ", the Spanish counter part. I reserved them both, and we made some simple finger puppets to help us tell the story.
How to make a basic finger puppet
Materials for this project are colored construction paper, six sheets of basic white paper, scissors and glue. You also need pictures of each of the animals.
1. To start fold over about a inch and a half (5cm) along the long edge of the paper. Fold until you have an inch and a half tube.
2. Fold the tube in half and crease it. If you have an ugly left over edge, fold it to the outside.
3. Fold the edges of the tube back toward the center fold. You can see the mouth forming in the center of the tube.
4. The holes on the ends are the pockets where you put your fingers.
5. Here's your puppet, ready to talk. Time to decide what it's going to be!
How to build observation as your toddler makes her animals
6. I told my daughter to look at the picture of the pig and decide what body parts her pig needed. She said, eyes. I asked, "What color?" She chose blue, and I cut them out. Then she pasted them to the puppet, wherever she felt appropriate. Then I sent her back to the picture to pick another body part. Once she was satisfied, we went on to the next animal.
We added the new word "whiskers" to her vocabulary during this project, and it's always fun to see the world through my daughter's eyes. She even managed to cut out a few body parts on her own. When we were finished, I used the puppets to tell the story in Spanish. Although they've had minimal exposure, both my two-year-old and my four-year-old thought it was hilarious. It took a couple of days to get the book in English, then my kids helped tell the story using the puppets. They insisted on doing it twice. Getting double mileage from a single activity is always a bonus- especially when you're traveling light.
This is part of the monthly Book Club. Be sure to check out all the great projects!
More ways to build your toddler's science powers of observation:
How to make cardboard people
How to observe animals without visiting the zoo