When conducting a children’s workshop featuring puppetry building or animation creations, the first thing I notice is the enthusiasm of the children is bare contained to their imaginations run wild when they first realize that puppetry affords them complete control over the design and creation of characters as well as scenery and script. For some students this is too much responsibility and they need to be a little more nurtured and guided, but for others, you can seen their minds ticking over as they inwardly ‘scheme’ their production.
I have devised 2 styles of workshop that can be provided for children (in ages ranging from 8 to 14) that guarantee satisfactory and rewarding results – first time. This is important so that the child doesn’t feel that the skills are beyond them, and encouraging for them to go on and expand their efforts and try new directions and designs that they conceive themselves.
A simple string puppet can be made from found objects and is cheap enough to be provided to
hundreds of children in say a festival day. Another workshop in which the children make one or more simple shadow puppets (or select a more complex design as their skill level allows) have been developed in which the children can discover all the principals needed to develop their own creations.
“It’s not enough just to provide all the materials, as a teacher you need to have thought through what are the lessons and skills being discovered in this exercise and can they be applied to other endeavours?” This is the key principal applied to all the children’s activities and puppet workshops run.