Creating Puppets at the Edgewood Library
During the week of July sixth I had the opportunity to work with Mrs. Susan Ciavolino, three other interns/employees from the Boys and Girls club, and a group of remarkable children at the Edgewood library. The children were able to combine knowledge of basic circuitry, sewing skills, and creativity to create adorable (and bright) puppets with entertaining backstories and LED lights.
During our first day in the library, the kids were able to design a puppet, decide where they would like to place LED lights on it, and give it a name and an often complicated back story. Once the template for the puppet was complete, they picked out the materials they wanted to use and shared their creation with the rest of the group. Listening to children between six and twelve years old tell incredibly creative and humorous stories they thought up in a limited time frame was one of my favorite parts of the week. Everyone was excited to share as well as listen to the stories created, and we all had a great time. Besides being extremely fun, this time was also very informative. Apparently puppets can enjoy Spanish soap operas and pizza. Who knew?
To learn about circuits on the second day of the week, the children were given instructions on how to make “squishy circuits;” circuits that are created using only playdough, batteries, wires, light bulbs and or buzzers. They quickly picked up this skill (although the sound of the buzzers was not very popular) and were later able to apply it when creating and inserting circuits into their puppets.
When learning how to sew, the kids were shown a power point created by one of the interns with diagrams and instructions on how to perform the task. Following the power point, the other interns and I assisted the children in cutting the material for their puppets and sewing LED lights wherever they desired.
On the days that followed, everyone worked hard to create and insert a circuit into their fabric and finally sew the puppet together. The results were phenomenal; the puppets were beautifully made, and the circuits functioned perfectly. The kids absolutely loved their puppets.
I learned numerous things during this fun experience (listed below):
- Although sewing correctly takes a while, the end result makes it totally worth it.
- Threading a needle is more difficult than it looks.
- No matter how many times you turn on a circuit you made and it works, it’s just as exciting as the first time.
- It’s important to use your hand as an outline for a puppet to ensure more than two of your fingers are able to fit inside.
- Hot glue and electrical tape can solve most of your problems.
Besides what I learned, it was the first time the majority of the children had ever sewn or created a circuit. Not only did they take home a fun little puppet, but they also took home a good amount of useful knowledge. Interning at the Boys and Girls club gave me the opportunity to work with these wonderful kids, and was overall a great experience.
Sierra, Tenth grade student at the Science and Math Academy