Puppet theaters can be a fun and educational activity for children. They encourage creativity, boost imagination, help develop critical social skills and can even help to coax shy children out of their shells. Whether you are a school teacher, librarian or children’s ministry worker, puppet theatre is a great way to bring the classroom to life and engage students in creative play!
Make a Cardboard Box for the Puppet Theater
A cardboard box is a simple but effective way to make a DIY puppet theater. It takes just five steps to complete and uses materials that are often available in the home.
First, measure the box to determine its width. You want to be able to cut a proscenium opening, or door, that is wide enough to accommodate the height of your puppets. Then print off a puppet theater facade and cut it out to mount on the front of the box.
Next, add a curtain. This can be done by using old pillowcases, which you will cut a slit in on each side of for rod pockets. Then you can run a dowel through them to hold the curtains for your puppet theater.
You can also use two pieces of red construction paper folded an accordion style to create side curtains for your box. You can glue these to each side of your box.
Another option is to use a strip of cardboard that is three inches by six inches and then fit it across the bottom of your hole with a few slits in each end. This will give you a shelf to put props on and will prevent the stage from tilting. You can then secure the stage with triangular shelf supports from the hardware store.
Decorate the Puppet Theater
The scenery of your puppet theater is just as important as the character of the puppets. It is a chance for your kids to create a world for their characters, and it can help them feel more a part of the story. You can use a variety of backdrops such as forest scenes, ocean waves, or fantasy candy lands.
A scene can be as simple or elaborate as your child wants it to be! You can use a simple background such as a piece of white paper or you can go all out and paint on it.
It is also a good idea to have some sort of light source for your puppets. Using flashlights can be helpful, but you should keep in mind that they need to be stationary and not held by the puppeteers or they may fidget with them, which will affect their movements.
You should also place a dark curtain behind your puppet theater. This is because it is a frame of another world that separates the puppeteers and their characters from the audience. A thick curtain can be used to prevent any lights from glaring at the audience, but it is also important that the fabric be dark so it doesn’t reflect the room lights and make them visible to the children.