Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
My third grader and I are learning about early American history this year, using a variety of living books for his curriculum. Since it’s mostly just a lot of reading, I was excited to see Figures in Motion come up as a review option through the Crew – it was the perfect opportunity to add something “fun” to the reading. (He likes to listen to me read; we snuggle up and read and he never, ever complains – and I rather like the 8-year-old snuggles too. But even so.) The Famous Figures of the American Revolution book was the perfect supplement for our reading!
Figures in Motion is kind of like paper dolls, but instead of dressing static images of people, students create movable “puppets.” Each page of the book has the famous figure divided up into multiple parts (body, arms, and legs – the limbs are usually 2 pieces each). For each figure, there is a page that is pre-colored and one that is just line art for students to color themselves. You cut out each piece and then attach them together using brads. The result is an historical figure that is a moveable plaything! It really is a fun product that adds a lot to a history lesson.
The paper in the books is very high quality – more card stock than paper, really. There aren’t “instructions” per se, but it was super easy to understand what needed to happen. On the back of each piece, there is a letter and the word “front” or “back.” Simply line up the letters, determine whether a specific piece needs to go in front of or behind the matching letter, and join with a brad. The result of such a simple product is amazing!
Our current history book is a biography of Benjamin Franklin, so I had both of the younger boys (excluding the baby) create a puppet of him. Grasshopper (8, and the official recipient of the history lessons) opted for the colored version, which left the white version for Dragonfly (5). I will say that I think 5 is a little too young for this product. He had a pretty difficult time coloring the page to his (admittedly high) standards. There were a lot of tears, and I didn’t even have him cut out the pieces himself!
In addition to the book itself, you need some mini brads to create the puppets (regular sized ones would work, but your puppets wouldn’t look quite as polished). A hole punch is also useful, but not strictly necessary – the brads can push through the card stock reasonably easily. Both of these tools are available from Figures in Motion, in addition to a wide variety of puppet books.
Included at the beginning of the book is also a short (1-2 paragraph) biography of each figure, so if you wanted to use this as a quick project rather than a supplement to another curriculum, you can still get some learning in there.
We had a really fun time working with Figures in Motion, and I will definitely be pulling this book out again and again as we learn more about the main players in the American Revolution over the rest of the school year!
Be sure to check out the other reviews from the Homeschool Review Crew; many of the Figures in Motion books are represented there, not just the American Revolution one.