This set combines flannel board shapes with finger puppets for a fun storytelling experience. First, I will go over how I told the story and used the set, then I will get into the nitty-gritty of how I made the set and what I would do differently.
Changes to the Story:
I made a few adjustments to the classic Goldilocks tale to make the story more interesting, interactive, relatable, and easy-to-follow.
1. Sound Effects - There are many opportunities for sound effects, like when Goldi knocks on the door, her stomach rumbling, and her snoring. My favorite was when she sat on Momma's chair and bed, I had the cushion make a high-pitched deflating sound.
2. Goldi's Backstory - She needs a reason for being in the woods. I explained that she likes to go hiking on the trails, but she wandered off. This gave me a good aside about staying on designated paths so you don't get lost.
3. Porridge = Soup - It's just more relatable. Describe the soup's color, smell, and flavor in detail to get their mouths watering and incorporate those senses.
4. Beary Jr. - This is the son's new snazzy name. He also has a rockin' propeller hat.
5. Bears' Walk - I had the bears return from an evening walk, a family tradition.
6. Scared Bears - I had the bears huddle up when they heard Goldi snoring in the other room. They think it might be a dragon. Papa Bear is brave, so he goes to check and when he pulls the covers up, he laughs when he realizes it was just a little girl.
7. Nice Bears - Goldi wakes and is frightened, but when she tries to run the bears stop her and ask her to stay, as it is too dark for her to go out alone. They spend the night eating soup, playing board games, and they even have a dance party.
8. The End - The next morning, the Bears help Goldi back to the trail. Goldi is sad to go and she hugs Beary Jr. goodbye, then remarks "You are so soft and fuzzy, like my teddy bear at home!" Papa Bear scratches his head in confusion, as they've never heard of a teddy bear. Mama Bear suggests Goldi bring her bear to show them next time she visits. Goldi cannot wait to see her new bear friends again.
9. Audience Involvement - Ask them questions, like "What do you think Goldi decided to do, when no one answered the door? Do you think it was a good idea for her to invite herself into a strange house?" Have them help you with the sound effects. For example, when all of the bears laughed, I had everyone join in so we were loud enough to wake Goldi.
Using the Flannel Board & Puppets:
I used a folding flannel board to create separate rooms for the kitchen and bedroom. I put the table next to Beary Jr.'s chair so that Goldi would be right where she needed to be after trying all chairs. Goldi fits in the beds, but I didn't put her in since it was a tight fit and would take some time. I hid the bears until it was there turn to enter, then I was able to fit all of the bears all one hand and Goldi on the other.
Pieces & Assembly:
1. Goldilocks - As you might have noticed, she is a store-bought puppet, but you can make one using the same method as the bears.
2. Bears - I used a rounded template and cut out two brown pieces for each bear. I then hot glued the top and sides together, let it dry, then flipped the puppets inside out so they are fluffier. I then added on little ears, a nose, and costumes. The eyes as sniffers are black puffy paint.
3. Chairs - Each chair requires one trapezoid, one parallelogram, two long legs, and two short legs. To make them 3D, I cut out an extra parallelogram and added stuffing between them. You can cover the whole with a scrap strip of felt.
4. Beds - The pillows are almost square pieces of flannel that I folded and glued on just the sides. I flipped them inside out so they were fluffy, added stuffing to the middle, and glued the final edge. The beds require a long rectangle for the back, a shorter rectangle for the sheet, a long and short rectangle for the sheet's edging, and two headboard pieces.
5. Table and Bowls - Simply cut out a table shape. Make the bowls and spoons separately and cut carefully as they are tiny. Each bowl has two bowl shapes with are glued together except for the top so I could slip the spoons in and out. When the bowls are finished, glue them in order to the table.
Learn From My Mistakes:
1. Inside Out Method - If you are turning the shapes inside out to make them fluffy, as I did with the finger puppets and pillows, always cut the sides larger than you need, as you will lose some length to the "hem" line (where the glue is).
2. Puffy Paint - Puffy paint is great for the eyes and nose, but squeeze gently and less is more. It takes about 4 hours to dry, but you can add layers after if you want to clean it up or make it more 3D. I had to redo the Mama Bear because I squeezed too hard and she ended up with black holes for eyes.
3. Save Scraps - Small scraps of felt that are leftover from other projects are perfect for tiny shapes like the spoons and the propeller hat.
4. High-Quality Felt is Worth It - I was using mostly cheap, thin acrylic felt which can be harder to cut, stretches easily, and leaves you with floppy shapes. I thickened up the beds by adding lots of extra layers, but this took more time and one of the beds fell off the board during my story, so it may have been too heavy.
5. Templates Are Friends - I thought templates were for people who can't draw, but they are really important if you are making several of the same felt shape. This will keep them uniform in size and (if you are a perfectionist, like me) keep you from going crazy.
6. Choose the Right Glue - Hot glue is great if you are impatient like me, but it can leave strings everywhere. I think it was great for parts that needed a strong adhesive, like the ears, but the bears would have looked neater if I had used tacky glue for the face and outfit pieces.
7. Decide Which Pieces You Really Need - As you saw, I didn't have time to make a Goldi puppet so I used a girl from a set we already had. If I had more time, I would have liked to included a cottage or at least a door, but it wasn't totally necessary.