Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Making Your Own Felt Board Characters

Felt Boards are extremely useful in engaging young children in lessons about a multitude of subjects but pre-made kits can start to add up and storing all the characters and background pieces can become difficult.  The cool thing about creating your own felt boards is that items can become interchangeable.  This means less money is involved as well as less storage space required.  What is super cool is that after you get the hang of it, you don't have to find the resources to help you make sets that just aren't available on the market.
Definitely can't find Greek and Spartan
warriors in battle on the market!
To make the people, I simply cut out shapes from felt using a gingerbread person cookie cutter.  

Basic "Doll"
To Add clothing, I used some print outs from a Family Crafts article about making paper dolls.  I found this website wonderfully helpful in forming a set of "dolls" my preschoolers could use to dress the dolls for the weather.  You'll find this link will have directions on everything from jackets to shoes.  Simply size your copies to make everything fit, and use the print outs as outlines on felt fabrics instead of using them as paper.

Make sure to cut off the little "tabs" that stick out.  I then outlined the clothes with "puff paint" to give them some texture, color and help the fabric stay together even with a lot of use by preschoolers.

My kids started asking for sets to dress their dolls as their favorite fairy tale characters.  Of course I needed longer hair for Rapunzel, crowns, ball gowns, a red cape an axe and I had to start figuring out how to make animals too.  I made some slight changes to some of the patterns from the website in order to figure out clothing for the fairy tale characters the kids wanted.

To make the hair I simply made an oval shape on one end of a rectangle.  I then made a slit about where the face would go and "shaped the hair with straight cuts like long fringe and angled cuts etc.  Here is a photo of some of the hair without a body to obscure the cuts.

If you use this link and look for Paper Craft animals you will find a plethora of animal choices along with instructions about how to make those animals out of paper.  If you use the same methods as given above for the clothing kits, you will find the animals pretty easy to make too.

Most frequently, I used the felt board to allow kids to reenact a story they've just had read to them, or to illustrate a story as I read it.  This is a great place to start with your felt board activities with your kids.  I hope  you'll look forward to more articles about how to put together more felt board activities to help with science, math, sorting skills, shape recognition, geography, literature. . .

Be creative and have some fun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cheap, fun and educational all in one. That is a virtual trifecta of benefits for the kiddies! I want to get felt right away :)

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments!