I got this idea from the amazing puppeteers at Neenah Public Library during the 2009 WLA conference. Take a box (B&T boxes are so great since they have a flat bottom). Paint it to look like a barn door. Don't worry, you don't even have to do that good of a job--the kids won't care.
Then cut the upper part of the door so that it opens like so:
Now when you sing Old Mac you POP the puppets through the door. "Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a...COW!!!"
Sometimes I put in a big pause and really punch the animals through. Half the kids jump, and then they laugh and laugh. I always tell them when we've seen all the animal friends in the barn, but maybe if we all sing nice and loud one of them will come back for an encore. Usually it's cow who comes back, and he moos with gusto before saying goodbye to the kids.
I use this once a month or so regardless of my theme, but sometimes I'll put in a weird animal who relates to the theme or something to surprise the kids--like at Halloween the sheep 'dressed up' as a ghost when he popped out.
So much fun and easy to do!
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