Jennifer Aguirre's

Circle Floor Puppetry for Thanksgiving

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2014-11-21-09-55-50One of the best ways to include children in a puppet performance is to sit on the floor in a circle together and have the children interact with the puppets as the story is told. This method of puppetry is quite effective with kindergarten age children and grades 1 and 2.

Over the years I have developed several stories performed in this manner and have found that seasonal stories lend themselves well to this style. The puppets are usually “table puppets” which are doll like figures that can stand on their own and are flexible enough to bend which brings them to life through movement and gesture. Simple knitted or felted animal figures can be utilized as table puppets as well.

During Thanksgiving I bring a story about a squirrel who gets hurt and now limps along. His injury prevents him from gathering enough nuts so he often goes hungry. My felted squirrel is acted out in front of me on the colorful silk scarf scenery spread out on  the floor in the circle while I narrate the story.  Squirrel is very sad and hobbles under a silk and is hidden while the story shifts to Mrs. Chipmunk who now gets uncovered in front of me.  She busily sorts through all her various nuts deciding what to make for her Thanksgiving pudding. She recalls that the last time she saw squirrel he looked thin and she decides to bring him a Thanksgiving meal. She journeys round the circle to his house with some nuts in her basket with the children moving her from one child to the next (to my left) while keeping her on the floor within the circle floor scenery. Along Mrs. Chipmunk’s  journey she encounters animals who greet her and give her food to take to Lame Squirrel. These animals are strategically hidden within the circle and are uncovered  when Mrs. Chipmunk arrives and are moved by adults or an older children sitting within the circle. An older kindergartner could do it after seeing the show performed if repeated performances are desired.

Mrs. Chipmunk arrives at Squirrel’s house, having journeyed the full circle and once again the story takes place in front of me. Squirrel is very grateful for the gift of the meal and just before they sit together at the table to bless their meal they hear the pitter pat of animal feet and one at a time the animals, who earlier had given food, come to join the festivities. A blessing is sung by the children and the story comes to  a close with a silk scarf covering the animals seated round the woodland table.

Here are a three photos from a recent Halloween story performed in this style.

May there be much you are grateful for this coming Thanksgiving and may we kindle kindness and warmth along our various paths!



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