Visual Arts Planning: Toys, Puppets and Dolls

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Toys can provide an excellent and engaging subject matter, and one which helps nurture a strong sense of ownership within pupil’s artwork. The following resources might be useful in an exploration of toys.


Using Toys To Inspire Drawing

Favourite Soft Toys

This resource explores using line and wash to make drawings of soft toys. Children begin by making a continuous line drawing of their toys, and then go on to use watercolour washes to help describe form.

Drawing Toys by Torchlight

This resource explores how children can create illustrations based upon drawings of toys using charcoal and torchlight.

Drawing Stories

In this resource single lines of descriptive text are used to inspire the creation of small “scenes” which the children build with toys. These scenes are then drawn to create wonderful and evocative illustrations.

Making Modroc Dolls

Inspired by Rio 2016, the AccessArt Friday Club made dolls from modroc and wire, exploring costumes and personality

Barbie and Ken Transformation

In this adaptable resource, children transform Barbie dolls (and Ken!) using paper, fabric, modroc and paint. They had great fun researching and designing costumes and exploring appropriate materials to construct their creations.

Making Worry Dolls

This provides children not only with a great opportunity to practice their making skills, but also to create their own very special “friend” who can listen to their fears.

Puppets and Theatre

Shakespearean Sock Puppets

Using Shakespeare’s Macbeth as inspiration for these puppets made from nylon socks and assorted fabrics.

Middle Eastern Shadow Puppets

How a group of Year 4 children created shadow puppets inspired by Middle Easter architecture and devised a performance for the whole school.

Mixed Media Marionettes

A workshop providing teenagers with the opportunity to re-engage with a playful, child-like sense of making and exploration of materials.

Pop-Up Puppets

Inspired by the Historical painting ‘Penelope and Her Suitors’ Jan Miller shows how to make characterful puppets using a cone and stick pop-up technique.

Articulated Beasts

Young children use pliers, needles and wire to turn their contour drawings into wonderful, articulated beasts.

Animating Articulated Beasts

In this hour long session, pupils worked in pairs taking it in turns to be the photographer or the animator. They shot a series of photos of their articulated drawings using digital cameras and then animated them using basic stop frame animation.

Wire and Paper Marionette

In this simplified version of making a marionette, just the head and arms are attached to a cross bar – making it easier for children to control the puppets.

Shipwrecked! A Shadow Puppet Play

Creating shadow puppets over an extended project, using simple tools and techniques.

animating puppets

Bring your puppets to life! Use video, camera, apps and tablet devices to create story and animation.

Making Finger Puppets

These are the simplest finger puppets to make – an activity with some stages supported, but with opportunity for each puppet to be individually designed and finished.

shadow puppets and whiteboards

Making shadow puppets and using the whiteboard projector as a way to cast shadows.

Making Inspired by Objects

A practical hands on making session for teenagers inspired by the museum’s collection of eclectic local objects. They explored the museum’s ‘Handling Collection’, watched a demo on how to mix plaster and had the opportunity to experiment and play with a variety of materials and processes.

Sculpture Inspired by Toys

Steampunk Robots

Introducing the technique ‘kitbashing’. Kitbashing is the art of making a sculpture by taking bits out of broken plastic toys or using found and recycled objects.

Making A Treasure Box

A 10 year old girl recounts her experience constructing a treasure box filled with made objects.

Making Cotton Reel Motors

Focussing on various ways of combining drawing and making, to help build a relationship and understanding between the two.
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