Shadow Theatre

by Claire Minnaar


Now that it’s holiday time, no child will want to go to bed at 8pm sharp! So keep them entertained for hours with this magnificent self-made shadow theatre.

What you need for the theatre:

  • A cardboard box
  • Semi-translucent plastic of paper like wax or parchment paper
  • Scissors
  • A blade
  • Sticky tape
  • A small torch or desk lamp
  • Fabric scraps, glitter and other decorative goodies

What you need for the puppets:

  • Thin cardboard e.g. cereal box
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Long wooden dowels

How to make the theatre:

  1. Using your blade, cut a rectangular opening in the centre of one side of the box, leaving a frame of at least 3 cm wide – this will be your “stage area”.
  2. Cut off the side of the box that’s directly opposite the stage area so that the backstage area is open for the light to shine in.
  3. Cut out a piece of semi-translucent paper that’s 1 cm bigger than the stage area opening, and stick it to the inside of the box to cover the rectangular space.
  4. Turning to the bottom side of the box, cut a long wide slit that runs all the way along the back of the stage area – this is where the shadow puppets will be moving around
  5. Your basic stage should now be built, so time to start decorating! Use your fabric to create curtaining to hang around the stage area and glam it up with glitter and other decorative goodies.

How to make the puppets:

  1. Cut figures out of the thin cardboard. If you’re struggling to get the shapes right, use cookie cutters and line drawings as frame of reference.
  2. Stick your figures onto the ends of the dowel sticks using sticky tape.

And there you have it! To get started, simply shine the light into the box, from the backstage area, and let the kids act out their made-up stories behind the wax paper stage.

Original images and their credits available on Pinterest

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