Stories in tune – The Magic Flute Part 2

posted in: W.A. Mozart | 11

Yesterday, as part of my series Stories in tune, I rounded up the various picture book versions of The Magic Flute we’ve recently been enjoying. Today I’ll describe the play all these books and music inspired in us…

In between reading the different versions of The Magic Flute lots of playing involving dressing up ensued where we were either serpents or princesses (if you are unfamiliar with the story of The Magic Flute there is a detailed synopsis here from Glyndebourne Opera ). We also considered trying to make our own flutes – the ones on looked like a lot of fun! But eventually, inspired by this post from Silly Eagle Books and this project at, we then set about playing “Papageno” and catching our own birds.

1. I cut out some small bird templates which M and J decorated and added eyes to.

2. M folded coloured paper concertina style, cut it to about 10cm long and then inserted it into a slot I had cut in the birds’ tummies to create wings.

3. M and I made cages for the birds. Each cage required 9 long pipecleaners. First we took 5 pipecleaners and laid them like a star, just over lapping in the centre by a centimetre or two.

4. We folded over the ends of the pipecleaners to attach them to each other, creating a “knot”. We bent up the pipecleaners about 5 cm away from the “knot”.

5. We twisted the loose ends of all 5 pipecleaners together tightly and then gently pulled the pipecleaners to create a bit of a bell shape.

6. We used the remaining pipecleaners to weave around the bell creating a cage.

7. We hung up the birds in their cages with some thread and tied some ribbon on to each cage so we could hang them up – in our crab apple tree. M and J then found their wings from when we played Flyaway Katie and pretended to be Papageno. We all had a great deal of fun!

Here are selection of links to items about The Magic Flute if you want to play or learn some more with your kids:

  • Eric Carle designed scenery and costumes for a semi-staged production of The Magic Flute a few year’s ago. Some images of his designs can be found here – and they’re available to buy here. Once your children are familiar with the story, they could design their own costumes and scenery.
  • A post about The Magic Flute, including another review of the Kyra Teis version from Rebecca Reads.
  • YouTube has another animated version of The Magic Flute – an older, Italian version. Click on the numerals for part 1, 2, 3 and 4. The musical recording is unfortunately rather grainy, but it is interesting to see another interpretation of the story. YouTube also has zillions of film clips of staged (opera) versions of the Magic Flute / Die Zauberflöte if animated versions don’t appeal to you or your kids.
  • Wikipedia’s article on The Magic Flute makes reference to several other works (eg films, books) inspired by the opera.
  • Glyndebourne offers an online education pack about Mozart’s Magic Flute – suitable for older kids or adults.
  • A 111 page teacher’s guide (in pdf format) to The Magic Flute, from Boston Lyric Opera – absolutely jam packed with activities from crosswords, to maths projects to tips on designing sets for opera!

  • I can honestly say M and J have loved listening to The Magic Flute, as have I – the music really is gorgeous (I know that is stating the obvious somewhat) and we’ve had great fun with the books. Have you listened to The Magic Flute with your kids? Or read any of these books I reviewed yesterday? I’d love to hear how you go about introducing classical music to your children.

    Today I’m linking up with The Madhouse! Lots of crafty goodness going on over there!

    11 Responses

    1. vanessa@silly eagle books

      The picture of M flying off the table is priceless! Wow! I love that one. I”ll have to look for a magic flute book for Juliet. Sounds like something she would love.

      Thanks for the book suggestions! I am also on the lookout for “preparing for the baby books!” Juliet and I have found a few good ones, but we have some more time to kill before the baby gets here! 🙂

    2. Zoe

      Yes, thanks Vanessa – M just loves “flying” – slightly dangerous but clearly it feels very good! And so many congratulations on your wonderful news 🙂 I left a book suggestion for Juliet on Silly Eagle Books – and I checked – here in the UK that book costs less than £2 (instead of $280!!!) so even with the extra shipping it still works out somewhat cheaper…

    3. Ian Newbold

      Thanks for sharing Zoe, we need, or I need, to do more stuff with my son that relates to the books we are reading, or have read. Mind we read a Star Wars annual last night, and we are forever doing something linked to that.

    4. vanessa@silly eagle books

      $280 is crazy! 🙂 Glad there is a better option.

      I just saw that you were inspired by our christmas bird cage ornament! So fun! I’ll have to keep the pipe cleaner option in mind for this christmas–looks more child friendly than my version!

    5. AZ

      Those are awesome birdcages – so colorful! And the picture of your daughter launching off the table is great!

    6. Tarie

      Those birds and birdcages look really cute. Now I want to make some of my own! And your children are beautiful. :o)

    7. Zoe

      Hi everyone, yeah we were pleased with how the cages turned out, and every thing looks better with a little bit of sunshine on it!

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