Webelos Showman Activity Pin
Jan Mussler (mussler@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Wed, 8 Oct 1997 22:00:10 -0600
A while back I queried the List as to whether making marionettes was too
much for my first year Webelos boys. My co-leader thought it was; I
wanted to do something more challenging with the Webelos boys. I thought
I'd give you an update and some advice on how it's coming.
1. Use Basswood if making wood marionettes. The soft wood is so much
easier to cut with the coping saw than any other if you are shaping the
2. The wood doesn't need to be shaped necessarily. You will be likely be
covering the wood with design or clothes.
3. Felt scraps made great clothes. I didn't think of this but the boys
"pinned" them on with colored thumb tacks. They made great earrings (Just
Kidding <g>, buttons etc. One boy took his own and colored the wood with
markers. He did a neat job and it looks great. Gave us one "Marionette
4. Macrame cord ravels and makes great hair, eyebrows, sashes (I knew
there was a reason I picked up a grocery bag full at a garage sale!).
5. We used leather thong for stringing the body parts. It "moves" more
like real joints than string. The down side was that it's hard to keep
tied (but I can check the knots easier to see if it's really a "knot").
Stringing is hard. The instructions called for "simple" aeroplane
control. We simplified it further to have the head nod and just the hands
move. The cross piece for the legs is cool, but a little too advanced for
The amount of creativity and problem-solving that I saw demonstrated by
the boys with this project was awesome. They were engaged through 4
meetings. We rotated groups - one set up the stage (borrowed PCV pipe
stage to save time - if you're doing a simpler project, then more time
could be devoted to constructing the stage). If anyone's interested, I'll
describe it for them. Other group wrote the play, one group cut the body
parts. Next week one group did marquis (sign), one group scenery (fabric
crayon on muslin), one group strung the puppets, one group made heads and
clothed the puppets.
Next week finished other puppets (I cut some extra parts here or we
wouldn't have had a puppet for everyone), strung them and then rehearsed.
Next week's the pack meeting and while it'll be rough around the edges, I
believe strongly in this group of boys ability to "punt" when necessary.
As they say "the show must go on". They'll "Do Their Best".
Was it hard? You bet! I had lots of parent help with this project. Was
it worth it? Because of the engagement of the boys, the amount of tool
handling, problemsolving, FUN and novelty and because I think they'll do
their parents proud, it was ABSOLUTELY worth it! Did we take on too much
E-mail me if you want better instructions on the stage or puppets.
Jan Mussler, Webelos Den Leader, Pack 170
Nederland, CO - Long's Peak Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City