Hi Everyone, Fiona Harrington here. Deirdre is on holidays at the moment so I will be taking over this edition of the ReCreate Blog 😊
This summer we were delighted to work with a number of summer camp projects around the South Dublin area which were funded by South Dublin County Council. We facilitated 18 workshops in total and were delighted to meet so many enthusiastic communities, young people, group leaders and volunteers.
One of the most successful and enjoyable workshops were the puppet making sessions, as we found the children were most engaged in this activity. The process can be easily adapted to suit all ages and abilities. As the age of the participants ranged between 5-12years and some of the young people had additional needs, it was important that each session ensured all boys and girls were included. Materials and approaches were considered by the artists, depending on who was in attendance on the day.
As well as this, puppet making is a great way to provide a safe space for children, to perform and pretend, using role play. Another notable benefit is the development of language skills by developing imagined characters and circumstances. It was such a rewarding experience providing a variety of materials to different groups and watching how all the boys and girls transformed those materials into their very own characters.
We gathered lots of different types of foam, wools, fabrics, buttons, paper cups and plastics which proved to be ideal raw materials for these workshops.
White foam was cut up and wrapped in white fabric to make heads, while our orange foam was the perfect materials to make a hand puppet with a mouth that opened and closed. This of course encouraged the children to give their puppets a voice. Watching the children make their puppets walk and talk made me realise that puppet making was a great way to allow children the opportunity to express themselves in a different way and develop additional communication skills.
Our range of wools and fabrics were great for creating wonderful hairstyles, beards, moustaches and very stylish clothing. In fact, I even noticed some potential future fashion designers!
The children really got stuck into the making process and seemed happy and content experimenting and exploring the tactile and sensory elements of the materials.
Pritt stick, staplers and tape were available, which were used to stick everything together and the artist also had a glue gun ready to ensure heavier materials and plastics did not fall off!
Wooden dowels were also used and inserted into the puppet so that the children could hold them comfortably in their hands and have better control over how their character moved.
Following the 18 workshops, the ReCreate arts team felt utterly inspired. We were delighted to have been part of so many positive summer camp programmes around the South Dublin area and to have met and shared such creative experiences with so many children. We got lots of new ideas about puppet making workshops and we already can’t wait until summer camp season next year!