One of my Christmas projects about a year ago was to make puppets for the kids in the family. I made the dragon whose picture I posted a few days ago, along with three doll-like puppets. But my prototype remains one of my favorite projects ever. I tried to make a puppet of Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, a movie that I loved when I was a child.
I cherish this piece in part because it required the use of several techniques in turning, shaping and joinery as well as techniques I did not know about from the fascinating realm of puppetry. And most of all, I will never forget my 4 y.o. daughter’s face that literally lit up when she saw it for the first time, even before it was painted or had the strings on. It was just an articulated, wood-colored figurine then, but I had never seen her so fully dedicated to a toy. She absolutely loved it.
This made me think that in this day and age where we may believe that kids only appreciate “modern” toys with all the bells and whistles, there is still much room left for traditional wooden toys whose true potential lies in getting children’ imagination going.