Monday, January 28, 2013

Exodus story of Moses playset (felted!)

I finally got some photos of our Moses playset ready to share!

I'll start by describing what I did. 

The background is a needle-felted and wet-felted piece I made at a felting class I took a few weeks back.  Definitely not necessary for the playset, but nice to set the scene.  The same thing could be made with watercolors or even crayons/markers or completely left out. 

The river is a blue-green scarf.  I added a few stones to set the scene, as well. 

I made all of the women the same way--I cut craft felt (for the mother, sister and princess) or tshirt scraps (2 maids) in the pattern shape.  I made them different sizes depending on the character.  Remember that they'll shrink when sewn, too.  I handsewed them (right sides together) and then turned them right side out.  I stuffed them with batting (I cut open an old bedpillow) and then tied some string around the neck to define the head shape.  For the Princess I also tied a belt around her middle. 

I then needlefelted details on my characters, but this could also be done with hotglue and felt or fabric scraps. 

Here's the pattern--the oval with the flat bottom is the body piece (cut 2) and the small piece is the base (cut 1).  You can adjust the size of your body piece and to adjust your base you just need the length of the long sides to be the same as the bottom of your body piece.  You will actually round off all 4 corners of the base, I just wanted to show that they were the same size in this photo.

So cut 2 body pieces, sew (glue) together right sides together, turn right side out, stuff, tie string to make head, and then handstitch bottom onto body.  I used embroidery thread that matched the body color.  Definitely nothing fancy.

Princess and her two maids:

Moses' mother and sister: 

I felted baby Moses with white roving and a ball of dark brown roving.  You could do the same thing with felt and fabric scraps and a hot glue gun. 

I always like to give opportunities to involve my kids in setting up the scenes for the stories.  For this one I knew I wanted to make a set of reeds (river grass) they could work/play with.  I used my husband's bandsaw to cut a limb into small sections and then drilled holes in each piece.  I had some greenery I cut apart (in different lengths) to stuff into the holes.  It is removable, so the kids can choose which pieces go where and can also put the pieces in and out of the bases.  The little root piece hanging out was on one of the greenery pieces. Great fine motor practice!!

When I first thought about this project I was imagining us gathering real pieces of greenery to use, so that would totally work, too!  I just happened to find this particular greenery in my studio and wanted to put it to use. 

The wire basket was one we already had.  I had also toyed around with using a walnut shell for the basket. 

Quinn loves setting up the scene (a little differently each time).  We have a board book of the story that she can "read" while I act it out with the characters, then we switch and I read from the children's Bible and she moves the characters.  Beck just loves watching and occasionally holding the baby.  Then running off with him and being chased down to get Moses back.  :)

Q has had so many thoughful questions for me as we've explored this story for several mornings.  She's very interested in why the mother would need to nurse the baby and whose baby he would actually be.  So fun to explore the power of God's word with my little ones!

I love letting my kids get "hands on" with the manipulatives and even using them later for extended pretend play.  Such an important opportunities for toddlers and preschoolers.

This playset did take me quite a bit of time.  Several evenings I worked on the items while we watched a movie, etc.  I really consider these to be such important tools in my children's faith development (and maybe someday even my grandchildren's....) that I think they're worth the time.

I hope you aren't immediately turned off to this project if you don't know how to felt.  Or sew.  There are so many options available for making playsets--and you can pretty much do anything with a gluegun!  The Moses story lends itself to making a great playset, so I'd really encourage you to get crafty with the stuff you have around the house and make your own set. 

PS) One day I have big plans for letting my kids act this story out in our little pond!  We'll have to find something that will really float for Baby Moses.  They are going to LOVE IT!

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