Paper Puppet Theatre

Age 6 - 8 | Year 2-3 | 2 Sessions

Kids with big imaginations, silly personalities, and love to tell stories will love, love, love this activity! I’ve tried this with Year 1 and Year 2 and few kids in Year 3. I found that even though the Year 1’s wanted to do this project, they struggled a lot with it, and I definitely needed a couple helpers or less kids. The Year 2’s enjoyed it just as much but I assisted them with the hot gluing by creating a sort of queuing system that allowed some kids to keep working, while others got their glue on, and the finished ones helped the unfinished ones. It worked out fairly smoothly. Of course the hot gluing aspect should always have adult supervision but older children will find it easier to cope with the cutting and placement of things. 

The activity might span over two seasons, one for the puppet making and one for the background/theatre part. This could be a really great project to follow World Book Week or a story your class has been reading, listening to, watching or writing...Give it a try!

What You'll Need:

For The Puppets 

  • Paper Cone Cups

  • Fun Fabrics

  • Scissors

  • Popsicle Sticks

  • Pens

  • Hot Glue Gun + Glue Sticks

  • Pipe Cleaners

For The Theatre

  • A2 White Paper

  • Crayons or Markers

  • Black Sharpie

  • Glue Stick

What To Do: (Puppets)

Cut The Cone

The cone will act as the characters body. Well actually its more like the base for the clothes. So to keep it simple I told the kids that if they wanted to make a girl character with a dress they keep the cone closed, and if they want a character with a cape they can cut it with an open down the middle. A lot of them chose princesses or super heros.

So for all the characters, cut the tip off the cone, but not too much. Just enough for the popsicle stick to be able to fit through it. If you’re making a caped character, make a vertical slice down the centre of the cone. 

Make The Body

Get a popsicle stick and draw little character on it. Divide it up into 3 parts - the head, body and legs. You can colour this is however you like. I drew a variety of simple emotive faces on the board for the kids to refer to when choosing the mood or expression of the character. 

Put the popsicle stick body through the whole in the tip of the cone, so the characters face shows through. The characters with dresses won’t need to pay attention to making body details on the stick. But the characters with capes, might consider an outfit. 

Dress The Character

Here’s the really fun part. Cut some fabric and wrap it around the cone, this act as either the dress or the cape of your character. Both the body and the dress. The kids get really super creative with this part, I was impressed with all their designs. I had some kids want like, special ruffles or and layers and things! Glue it all in place with some hot glue. 

Add Arms

Add some arms by simply wrapping a pipe cleaner around where the “neck” might be on your character. So where the cone and the stick meet. 

TIP: I got the kids to line up with both their bodies, arms and the clothes, so that I could do the gluing all in one go and send them on their way to start designing more characters or get into their Theatre backgrounds. 

What To Do: (For The Theatre)

Make A Prism

Fold the A2 Paper twice horizontally to make a prism. Kinda like a huge brochure. Each side can stand on its own, and act as a different scene in the play. i.e. inside or outside, day or night etc. Draw each scene and colour it all in completely. You may want to use a glue stick to keep it in place.

TIP: If your kids are going to be taking this home, I suggest not gluing the prism, that way it will lay flat when they want to carry it around. 

And that’s it! Let the show begin. 

If your students enjoyed this project, send me an email or comment below to let me know how the puppet theatres turned out!

I'm Mrs. Little

You've found my stash of art activities for kids. Have fun looking around for crafty things to make today!

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