What You Need:
- a fairly large cardboard box (at least 18" by 18")
- a utility knife (for adult use only)
- crayons or markers
- waxed paper
- large index cards
- plastic straws
- nontoxic white glue
What You Do Together:
- Build a shadow-puppet stage. First, with the child a safe distance away, use the utility knife to cut the flaps off the cardboard box so that one side is entirely open. Then cut a rectangle about 9" by 12" out of the bottom of the box. Invite the child to decorate the outside of the box. Then help the child tape a piece of waxed paper over the 9" by 12" hole.
- Make shadow puppets out of index cards and plastic straws. Invite the child to draw simple outlines of people or animals on the index cards and cut them out. Then glue the shapes to the top of the straws.
- Get ready for a show! Set the box on its side on a table so the waxed-papered opening faces the audience and the child can sit behind the open side. Shine a flashlight from behind the child directly into the box.
- Let the drama begin! Holding up the puppet shapes by the attached straws, children can make the puppets move. The shapes will appear to the audience as shadow puppets through the waxed-paper screen.
More Ways to Learn
Peekaboo Playhouse: Cut the flap off a 9" by 12" manila envelope and then cut several windows into one side. Help children make puppets to peek out of the windows by drawing small people or animals on index cards, cutting them out, and gluing them to strips of cardboard. (You can also find pictures of people and animals in old magazines.) Act out plays and stories by inserting the puppets into the envelope and popping them into and out of the windows, using the cardboard strip.