Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Mitten (story form & dramatized)

This post contains:
  1.  The Mitten by Jan Brett
  2.  (1st post in a series) 'Sewing with Youngsters'
  3.  (1st post in a series) 'Stories into Plays'
 by Jan Brett: this retelling of an old Ukrainian folktale is a delightfully illustrated, wonderfully worded, absolutely fantastic children's picture book.  Jan's intricate illustrations give clues throughout the pages as to which characters will 'climb' into the story next.  I adore her original (complete) version of this book,  but for our purposes in the activity I'm about to feature, we used The Mitten Board Book Edition (which is more concise in storytelling).

Sewing with Youngsters: my kids are always begging for sewing lessons (as soon as a child can reach the foot peddle of a machine I feel they are ready for some form of lesson- I'm just happy they are enthusiastic about sewing and I want to keep it that way). 

 I decided this would be the perfect opportunity for an easy 'strait stitch' lesson with my six year old.  Creating 'costumes' for our ongoing dramatization of 'The Mitten'. 

There isn't much to what we did.  We chose to make three hats (since there our three kids in our family).  Of course we had to have the bear and the mouse (both pivotal to the mitten's plot) then my young tailor chose a white rabbit hat for himself.

First I cut a large rectangle out of left over fleece (we used fabrics that would not fray... less seams and no hemming = a good project for someone without much experience or a long attention span).

We then cut the shape of chosen animal ears out of foam rubber (you can buy it by the yard- I used this stuff for the first time last Halloween and let me tell you... it's awesome for costumes! easy to cut through- keeps its shape- and you can sew through it or paint it... it's just really cool).

We folded fabric in half over the ear shapes and then machine strait stitched around them... raw edges didn't matter a bit.  I just cut about 1/4 of an inch away from the stitching.

The rectangle was sewn into a tube (to make the body of the hat), then the ears were attached by pinning into place and sewing them into the top seam of the hat.  It was all very simple.  My son helped cut out the pieces and operated the sewing machine with me by his side.  I guided the fabric for the most part and helped him along.

The lesson included lots of safety tips and sewing tips.

 Here's a picture of the hats being put to good use...

Stories into plays:  now for more specifics on the dramatization of The Mitten.  There are some stories that simply beg to be acted out.  This is one of them.  It has all the perfect elements.

1. Simple Storyline
2. Lots of Characters (and you can use as many or as few as you need)
3. Silliness
4. Repeated line of events

And you don't need many props.  We used an awesome 20+ year old cream afghan as our mitten and we made those fun hats... but as you'll see in the next series of photos, before we made the new hats we just used a bunch of winter caps from the closet as costumes.  (I even got my husband, sis & brother in law to play along).

We have acted this story out numerous times in the past week or so.   It's just fun.  The kids don't even need me to narrate anymore. 

happy reading-sewing-acting

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