Play + Learn | Shadow Puppets

by , posted on November 13th, 2012 in Arts & Crafts, Kids DIY, Play + Learn

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s that time of year when the days are short and the nights are long. And I’m feeling it right now. See, we made this rule that the kids couldn’t have screen time during the school week. It seemed like a good idea at the time. And truthfully until the time change, it was pretty easy. The kids would come home, do homework and then they’d go out to play with their friends until suppertime. Oh, those were the days, sigh.

Now, it’s starting to get dark by the time the kids are finished their homework. And we all start getting restless by 4:45. Restless at 4:45 makes for a long night. A. very. long. night.

To help pass the time, and also encourage the kids’ story telling skills, the other night we made a shadow box and puppets. They’re super simple to make. Here’s how…

You’ll need:

To make the shadow puppet box
tape (I recommend black duct tape but you can use whatever)
a piece of muslin, vellum paper or white printer paper
craft or box knife

To make shadow puppets
black cardstock
craft sticks or you can substitute straws
hole punch (optional)

1. Take your box, cut out the back. Then cut out a square in the front. This is your stage.

2. Tape muslin or whatever you’re using, to the inside of the box.

3. Now cover the box in duct tape. This will help it last for many shows.

4. Make the puppets. Draw characters on black cardstock. The trick is not to make the outline of the characters too intricate. Then cut them out. You can use a small hole punch to make eyes if you want. Then tape the character onto a craft stick.

Now you’re ready for a show.

When the kids are ready to put on a show, use a flashlight to cast shadows onto the puppets. You may need to play around a bit to get the right light to puppet to stage set up. But that’s also part of problem solving process.

ps. To help this process along, I suggested the kids choose a story and then make characters from it. Ellie chose Wizard of Oz. Meanwhile, Jonah went in a different direction and just made up characters all his own. There’s always one rebel in the bunch, isn’t there?

pps. If you want to be a rebel and ditch the box in favor of shining them right onto the wall, I say go on with your rebel ways.

Enjoy the show!

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