Creating our Costumes

Every year for our Fall Festival, the children create their own costumes for a Runway Show.  We have already begun to plan and make our costumes, because every detail of the costume is created by the children.  They choose the costume, measure, sew, decorate, and this year some of the children are dyeing the fabric the colors they choose.  It is a hands on experience that includes reading, writing, math, science and the arts.

As the children work on each part of the costume, they are given time to determine how to create each piece.

This child has told us that he is going to be a pirate with a bird on his shoulder.  We asked him which bird and he told us, “a parrot.”  We provided him with an animal book, and he started looking for the parrot……

These two children were working together to create the “Captain Stomp” costume.  In case you didn’t know, Captain Stomp works with Captain America. ;0)

They took out a large piece of white fabric to cut the cape he wants for the costume.  The children are familiar with cutting paper, now was a new task……….cutting fabric!

“R” tried for a while, and couldn’t cut the fabric.  Instead of the teachers taking the fabric and doing it for him, we used this opportunity to have the children work together and tackle this problem on their own.  It helps them communicate, problem solve, and strengthens their socialization skills.  We are always here to mentor them, and encourage them as they encounter problems, but allowing a child to think on his/her own and overcome the obstacle is so empowering for them.

When “J” saw that “R” was struggling, he said, “I will help you!”  So “R” held the fabric while “J” started cutting.

They attempted many different ways of holding the scissors and the fabric.  All the while talking to each other, trying different theories, and in turn slowly making their way down the strip of fabric…..

“J” worked hard cutting and made it about 3/4 of the way down the fabric, when he started to give up saying it was too hard.  But “R”was right there to encourage him to finish!  He said, “look, this is how you do it.”  He grabbed the scissors and modeled for “J” how to finish cutting so that he could finish the task……..

The teachers stood back and watched as they worked together to continue cutting the fabric.

Meanwhile, “T” found the bird section of the book.  With much excitement he yelled, “I found the parrot!”  He had been searching for a while, and he was so thrilled to finally find what he was looking for.  There were several parrots on the page.   We talked about all of them and he chose the one he wanted for his costume.

Below is the beginning of his picture.  We used a pencil first.  The horizontal lines on the left and the right side are the wings.  The body is in between the wings, and he made two circles  for eyes, and a line for the beak.


Captain Stomp had previously made an S for Stomp, but we still didn’t know where to put this S.  At first the boys thought the S should go on the cape.

They pulled out the S and they got the cape.  First they thought they should write an S on the cape.  When they started to make the S they came into some difficulties writing on fabric.  The fabric kept wrinkling as they wrote.  So “R” said, “lets make lines”.

The two of them got to work making lines.

The lines were finished, and the fabric was cut.  Now to see how it looked on.  “J” helped “R” try it on.  We asked if they were happy with the way it looked, and indeed they were ;0)

As the cape was being tried on, “T” started to add color to his parrot.  He analyzed the picture in the book and called out each color he saw on the bird.  First was green….

He finished with the green and said, “Look!  I made the bones.”

When the drawing was finished, it was time to cut it out.  We looked at the picture and talked about how we needed to cut around it.  He got the scissors and began cutting.  He is learning how to master using scissors, so this was an excellent opportunity for him to practice with them.

He took time testing different ways of holding the scissors and positioning the paper.

As long as he was comfortable trying, we gave him the time he needed.  He never showed signs of frustration, he was fully engaged in problem solving.  Although there were many times we could have interrupted and showed him a better way to hold the scissors and paper, he deserved the time and opportunity to discover it on his own.

As “T” continued to cut away at his parrot, Captain Stomp and Captain Smash decided that the S needed to go on his head, not on the cape.  They took time to position it where they thought it looked best.

One of “T”‘s friends came along and helped him finish cutting!  Here we can see his final drawing, and the parrot in the book that he got his inspiration from.  The pink lines at the bottom are where the parrot needs to land.  This parrot is going to look fabulous on his shoulder at the Fall Festival.

But meanwhile, the Captains have encountered a problem! ;0)  They realized that Captain     Stomp cannot see if the S is on his head!  One eye was covered.  So “J” said, “He can’t see!”

They tried and tried with no success!  But these problem solvers came up with a brilliant idea………….”we can make a small S”!

and so they did………….

As Captain Stomp and the pirate were finishing their morning project time, “S” said, “I am going to be a fairy!”  She brought over the square pieces of tissue and began talking about her wings.  What a perfect idea for wings!  We provided her with two strong strips of foam board for her to create her wings.   She grabbed the glue and began gluing her tissue paper down the board.  Row after row, she glued, when all of a sudden she said, “Guys, you want to count?”  This grabbed the other children’s attention, so they slowly began to walk over to her and ask if they could help.


Right before our eyes, the children were working together, counting each row of tissue paper pieces.  Without the teacher’s direction, they began to incorporate math.  Who would have thought that they would enjoy doing math for so long!  Better yet, how exciting to see this math lesson evolve during a time when the children were working on making fairy wings.

This is why it is so important in our philosophy to follow the children’s lead.  If we listen to them and provide them with the opportunity to contribute to the project work, the learning becomes so much more dynamic.  It also allows for the children to have a hands on experience, but more importantly create a love for learning.

When both wings were the “same size” and the children were satisfied with the look of them, they helped “S” try them on.  Beautiful aren’t they????

We are excited about all that is evolving from our costume project this year.  But most of all we are excited to see the final product at the Fall Festival!

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