Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hours of Entertainment: A Shoebox TV

This activity is something I read about in some book YEARS ago when I was a kid. So--full disclosure--I did not come up with the idea myself. Like most ideas I ever had, I swiped this from somewhere else and forgot where it came from.

So, of course, my kids feel as though I've been holding out on
them and that I should explain why I hadn't already made it with them, like, a long time ago. Well, friends, I've been holding out on you, too, so here's how you do it, with step-by-step photos and adorable kid models. (My kids, of course. Who else did you think I'd get to do this?) And since we're in full disclosure mode, you should know that the pictures were hard to take, because Olivia refused to put on any clothes. So, for her...only one measly head shot.
How to Do It
It's simple enough that I could explain it in a paragraph paired with a picture, I guess. I used pencils, tape, scissors, newspaper, and a shoe box. I cut up the comics from the newspaper and made my own shoebox television for my Barbie dolls. The "show" is reminiscent of the film strips you other old people used to watch in school...there's a roll of "story" and some scrolling that has to be done with the pencils, which are lodged in holes that you poke in the cardboard shoebox. It entertained me for hours when I was a kid. 
Here you can see the shoebox with a rectangle cut out to make a "screen." We punched holes in the top and bottom of the box with scissors and inserted unsharpened pencils. This was before we attached the "films" the girls designed.
The box from the front and Olivia's favorite new toy, Lamby.

Creating Your Own Story Pages
Not to be outdone, Rosemary has to make every idea better than mine, so she elected to create her own movie to scroll across the screen. That and we didn't have any comics in our house when I introduced the-best-idea-that-I-withheld-from-my-children-for-way-too-long (i.e. this little TV project).
We used regular computer printer paper and cut it in half horizontally, then just taped the half-sheets of paper together to make super long paper that could be rolled up. 
Rosemary creating her film...a masterpiece.

Olivia ended up drawing a lamb multiple times. Sorry...I couldn't get a good pic of her face. It's hard to photograph a naked child.

Look! I made the cast for Rosemary's movie. Better work on my Oscar acceptance speech...
And this one, just because it makes me smile.

Putting Your TV Together
To get the "film" up  on the screen, take the pencils out of the box. Carefully tape the end of your super long paper to the side of one pencil that will go in the box, then roll up the paper on that pencil. Then just tape the remaining end of the paper roll to the other pencil. 
See? Put tape on the side of the paper. Then roll it up. You will have to attach the papers with tape on both pencils. Voila! Homemade "film strip".
Then, still being careful, put the ends of the pencils back in the holes in the box.

Here's what it looks like once the pencils have been put back in their right places. Set the box down on the erasers so you don't scratch your floor. Spin the nubs sticking out of the top to move your film forward and rewind when you're finished.

"Performing" the Story
Oh, and not to be copycats, the girls refused to use simple-minded dolls for their TV "performances". This meant their daddy and me sitting in absolute anticipation while they both scrolled through every inch of the 8-page "movies" that I'd just watched them spend 2 hours making, and sometimes Olivia doing interpretive dance in the background. And it meant clapping afterwards, of course. Lots of clapping.
Showing off her hard work. Olivia was present, but still not pictured. You know why.
They are pretty sure they're going to work on their movie careers next. Olivia is a little disappointed that they didn't get a real movie made by the end of the day, but there's always tomorrow...By then she better have on some clothes.
The finished product!

What have you taught your kids to make on a rainy day? Share it in the comments!