One of the awesome things about being a parent, is that you get to be a kid all over again. Since my son is now preschool age (sniff, sniff - the time goes by way too quickly!), and gearing up to begin preschool in the fall, I am constantly looking for creative activities for us to share and learn from together. We get to go to a lot of cool places and do a lot of neat things outside of the home, but to me, home is where learning really begins.
We recently received an opportunity to work with MagicForest, importer of fine children's toys and gifts. MagicForest is located in beautiful Portsmouth, NH, and is celebrating its tenth year in business, which is definitely something to celebrate! When we try out new toys or activities geared toward children, I am always drawn to those that are less 'main stream,' and often wind up being imports, because the hold a bit more mystery and require a lot of imagination! That said, we were able to select a shadow puppet kit by Moulin Roty's Les Petit Merveilles line.
Moulin Roty is a forty-year-old French toy company, who is casting a new light on storytelling with their Les Petit Merveilles line of nighttime shadow puppets. We were able to select a shadow puppet kit by Moulin Roty, and couldn't wait to receive them, so we could start telling our own magical bedtime stories with them.
Our shadow puppet kit arrived bubble wrapped and well protected.
The packaging was quite charming... a thick paper sack, with a hard paper backing and fold over flap.
We decided to review the Castle Shadow set, which is a nine-piece set, and includes figures like a princess, a witch, and a dragon! I felt that B would really enjoy this set, as he's been into dragons lately.
The back of the package showed all of the wonderful figures that were included in the set.
I carefully opened the package and removed the shadow puppet set from the envelope. I was excited to see that they were each on their own wooden dowels, and the dowels were placed down into a thick paper stand. I thought this was smart packaging, and a smart way to display and keep the shadow puppets pristine, when not in use.
All of our new magical storytelling friends by Moulin Roty...
...and a couple of bonus figures!
The cutouts of the castle ensemble and objects are a thick cardstock-like material, so they're pretty sturdy. They're plain black, with no decorations, because they're meant for shadow play. We couldn't wait to put on our own show with the castle figures, so later that same evening, I turned the lamp on in B's room, and he watched as the figured cast their shadows on the wall. We made up all sorts of stories about the princess and the dragon, especially, and even the sneaky witch! It was a fun and unique twist on our usual bedtime story!
We have been having so much fun with the shadow puppets, that it was no surprise to me that B wanted to play with them in the daytime when we have our reading hour at home. We decided to get a little creative and incorporate a tiny puppet theater craft into one of our lessons.
We started with an empty tissue box...
...used some big boy glue sticks...
...and covered the box with construction paper.
B was able to practice using the glue stick, lining up the paper, and even using his big boy safety scissors to help mommy cut off the excess paper.
Ta-da! Green for the castle, and a secret dragon's lair below!
Next, it was time to decorate...
...so B used lots and lots of glitter glue!
After the prop stage had dried, we grabbed a few of the Moulin Roty Castle Shadow Puppets and began to put on a show about a princess who befriends a dragon, living underneath the castle! I was so proud of B (again, who is three), for using his imagination, both in creating the prop (the dragon's lair was his idea!), and making up the story.
Once upon a time, there was a princess, who was best friends with a nice dragon. They loved to eat apples together!
Playing with these Les Ombres, or shadow puppets has really brought back memories of my own childhood. I remember making up stories as my sister and I cast shadows of our hands, acting as puppets on our bedroom walls as little girls. We have probably all experience the fun of making our own shadow puppets with our hands, whether at home, or camping with family or friends.
The shadow puppets, such as the ones we received from MagicForest, are actually quite well known throughout Europe and Asia, have have been around for centuries. In fact, they were introduced to the Europeans by Asian travelers, who put on these amazing shadow puppet shows when they traveled through their land.
In 1776, French puppeteer, Dominique Seraphin presented the very first ombre chinoises in Paris. In 1781, he moved to Versailles, and entertained the French court, and established a very successful puppet theater, three years later!
These beautiful shadow puppets require a bit of hand-eye coordination, and a lot of imagination. I was surprised by how well our entire family took to the beautiful Castle Shadow Puppets Set by Moulin Roty. B has been asking for 'shadow stories' every night, since we received the set, and my husband and I happily oblige, as we've been having just as much fun, creating and telling the stories, with our son!
These sets are appropriate for ages 3+, and are available in:
Castle Shadows- 9-Piece Set, including a castle, trees, a princess, witch, dragon, etc.
Dinosaur Shadows- 10 piece set, featuring eight dinosaurs, a mountain and a tree.
Paris Shadows- 11 piece set, featuring the people of Paris, the moon and lovely Paris cityscape.
Circus Shadows- 11- piece set, featuring a lion, elephant, ringmaster, strong man, etc.
Nightitme Shadow Puppet Theatre- A 31" fabric screen, which can be hung indoors/outdoors for magical puppet theatre fun, anytime!
Want It? Buy It!
MagicForest believes in offering premier toys for children, those by Moulin Roty, among their very finest. They aim to be a magical, fun place for children of all ages to learn, play and grow. You can purchase your own Castle Shadows set, or any of the other available shadow puppet sets mentioned above as a special gift or treat for a special little one in your life! You can also connect with MagicForest on Facebook!
Want It? Win It!
One lucky MBP reader will win their very own Les Petit Merveilles Shadow Puppet Set by Moulin Roty, from MagicForest. Choose from Castles, Paris, Circus or Dinosaurs! Giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older.
Special thanks to our friends at MagicForest for allowing us to experience these small wonders, and for offering this magical giveaway for oure readers!