Paper Bag Puppet
This is the first Uncle Sam craft we’ve ever made. Being Canadian I don’t have a great reserve of creative ideas for 4th of July but after brainstorming with my mother in law and looking at my supplies available we settled on making an Uncle Sam paper bag puppet. It’s easy to adapt to many different ages and the end result was so awesome!Oh and if you want to sneak in some learning this craft is full of all sorts of shapes.
- Gather your materials, You will need a paper bag ( ours was a blue one so we also use some paper bag for his face), googly eyes, red, white and blue construction paper, glue, a circle, heart and star paper punches and scissors.
- Start by cutting out the following shapes. Depending on your child’s age and ability make fewer of these for little guys and for older ones have them cut out their own. We used 2 red triangles for the bow tie, a blue square and red rectangle for his hat, and circle for his face. I made smaller rectangles to make his hat striped but it was too much for my guy.
- Punch out the circles and stars from the white paper. My son loves using these punches but if you don’t have one or a child who is giddy to use it try cotton balls! If you are using paper punches if you put down a fabric place mat it helps stop runaway paper from getting loose.
- Punch out or cut a heart.
- Time to add glue. Make sure you are only gluing on the bottom so you can use the bag as a puppet.
- Add the face , hat, eyes and more glue for the beard. He was super fast and didn’t need my help so my step by step pictures are a wee bit garbled! This is the look he gave me when I begged him to pause for a picture.
- Use the circles to make the beard. Add the triangles for the bow tie and heart for a mouth.
- Add the brim of the hat and the stars!
- Let dry.
My Favorite Book About The 4th of July
Apple Pie Fourth of Julyby Janet S. Wong is an awesome book. I am always awed by authors who can tackle complicated “adult” issues in the pages of a children’s book successfully. In this case the issue is 1st generation identity and immigration, at least that’s my take. The little girl in this book is sulking around her parent’s store on the 4th of July. They are busy making Chinese food for customers she is sure won’t come, who would want Chinese food on such an American holiday is her rational. Of course there are layers about her connection to her ancestral culture and her own national pride. As a proud owner of a green card and a Canadian passport I relate to this story, sure the differences are as deep or as obvious to an outsider when this book ended with fireworks I got tingles of pride for my adopted country. Fantastic book- and my son liked it too.
We have lots of other 4th of July book reviews do you have a favorite?
This craft came about because my son wanted to make a puppet to have a puppet show, and I wanted to do a panda bear craft because we’d never done one and I get requests quite often. I love using short cuts like cupcake liners if I have them on hand but you can just use white paper too. Puppets make great crafts because their usefulness extends past their creation and spark my favorite type of play – pretend play!
- Gather your materials. You will need a paper bag, some white cupcake liners or paper, black paper, black marker , googly eyes, glue and scissors.
- Start by having your child color the paper bag, a little, a lot it won’t make a difference to the end result. I have been trying to fit more pen/pencil/marker time for my son because we are working on his tripod grip and I am not a fan of sitting down and forcing a skill at this age. However if I can use a fraction of art time to practice it’s a bonus!
- While they color cut out a nose( which I forgot and had to do after I took this picture), 2 ears and 2 eye patches for the panda using the black paper.
- Next glue on a cupcake liner on the main part of the bag for the panda’s belly.
- Glue the 2nd liner on the folded bottom ( now the top) for the face.
- Time for more glue – for the eyes.
- Add the eyes. You can see crafts are so useful for things like fine motor skills not just killing time with your kids!
- Add the ears and nose too!
- Let dry and play.
Dinner at the Panda Palace by Stephanie Calmenson is a great book. I grabbed it only because of the title but found a gem. My son and I both loved it and had a blast reading it. The story is about a restaurant and the people , or rather animals that come into the restaurant in ever enlarging groups. The text is rhyming and well written. My son loved counting each group that came in figuring out after a few that each group was one animal larger. It was a great opportunity to practice one to one correspondence as he counted one each page. There was also a great message about there always being room for one more when all the chairs were taken and a mouse came knocking wondering if he could eat too!
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?by Eric Carle is a sequel to the much loved Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? . What I appreciate about this book isn’t just the vibrant illustrations or the repetitive text that encourages children to recite it along with the reader, it’s that the book is a great intro to endangered animals. The book introduces readers to animals like the giant panda , bald eagle and giant sea turtle that are all endangered. When my son was little he liked the repetition, colors and rhythm the test provides, now that he is older reading this book sparks talks about taking care of the earth and all her inhabitants.