How to create great shadow puppets

Children love creating shadow puppets, but have you ever been disappointed by the effect – how the puppets’ outlines are hazy and not crisp, black and distinct? Here’s a simple, and foolproof way that looks brilliant!

Encourage children to draw on card, and cut out, their own puppet shapes. For example, at Divali, children could draw and cut out, Rama, Sita, Ravana and Hanuman . Using sticky tape, attach a thick knitting needle, long paint brush or a ruler, at right angles, near the base of each puppet.  Shine a large torch behind your ‘screen’ (e.g. large sheets of white paper or thin sheeting stuck along the top edge of a table and to the table legs, so that the table top is the ‘roof’ of the ‘puppet theatre’).  Ask the ‘puppeteers’ to kneel on the floor at the side of the table and to press their puppets right up against the screen, as they tell their story in their own words.  The secret to getting the really crisp black outlines is to see that the children make sure that they hold the puppets so that they actually make contact with the screen.

To see the story of Divali and how two young children celebrate the festival at home, at the Mandir, in the community, and with friends at school,see the award-winning A Child’s Eye View of Festivals DVD Plus, which has a delightful scene in five year old Anya and Sarah present their own shadow puppet version of the story. Happy shadow puppeteering!

About Linda Mort | Early Years Learning

Early Years Learning is a blog by Linda Mort, a published early years specialist and Educational Director at Child's Eye Media.
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