Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dinosaurs' Cardboard Mini Theater.

Here is how I made an impromptu mini-theater today. Simple, simple, simple! I used just a cardboard box, an old T-shirt and a thin rope. It took me a while to hand stitch the curtains and I spent some time thinking how to set up the curtain pulling system, but otherwise, it was a quick project.

 Santino received more dinosaurs from Santa on Christmas. He had destroyed a few T-Rexes and never actually had a stegosaurus, so we got him those. He is a very happy boy these days! He only wants to play with dinosaurs, completely forgot about his trucks, and ... constantly wants me to play with him. I don't mind playing dinosaurs with my son, but I need to have a game to play, something to do with those dinosaurs, not only roaring and scaring each other. I'm a girl, you know.


I cut out a square in one of the sides of the box, leaving the "roof" open. Now we have a stage! We made a quick backdrop for our play, setting up a dinosaur scene. 

The curtains were tricky. First, I don't have a sewing machine, so I had to hand stitch them. I measured and cut very carefully, so that they would fit perfectly in the box. I used a wooden dowel to hang the curtains and a thin rope, more of a string, to set up the opening-closing system.The system works, and my curtains open together, going in 2 different sides, and then close together. I am very proud of myself for setting this up.

When I was making this theater, I didn't know what we were going to perform there, but then I got an idea to re-enact a simple story from one of Santino's books about dinosaurs. The book is called "Bobbing for Berries" and tells a story about a short dinosaur who couldn't reach for berries on a tree, and a long-neck dinosaur, who helped him get those berries. Then a short dinosaur got to help his friend, too. Basically, a simple story about sharing and helping each other.

 This story was perfect! Santino got to play with his stegosaurus, it and the other dinosaur fit perfectly on the stage (although Santino preferred taking them out and play on the table.) I also remembered I have a Ukrainian necklace and earrings that look like berries. We used those as props, and they were perfect to hang and separate into "a cluster of berries" (earring) for the Steggy to enjoy.


 Later I also added more decorations. I cut out two slots on the sides, and slid cardboard strips. These are the holders for the removable stage decorations, like trees or rocks. I just stick them with a sticky tape, easy to remove.

The backdrop, of course, is also removable and replaceable, in case we want to make another play.

We loved our theater! Santino has been to a theater already, so he understands the concept. Although, he kept calling the stage "the movie".

I even pulled out a small flashlight, that Santino at first put on his head (it has a special band for that), but then we just hung it in the corner, pretending it was our sun. Otherwise the stage was kinda dark.

 This was a great activity! I was so happy that Santino participated 100%, was very active, played a role and improvised. I am also looking forward to setting up other plays with other scenes, not only dinosaurs, but also animals or trucks, queens and dragons. Yay, mommy is excited!

Check out the extension of this project, a shadow theater!