How to Build a Simple Shadow Puppet Theater

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I completely underestimated how much the girls would enjoy playing with shadow puppets. Whenever something so simple makes them so happy, I can’t help but smile!! And this was SUPER simple. Added bonus — the perfect entertainment for whenever a power outage occurs.

Our little shadow puppet theater was made from an empty cardboard box with the bottom cut out, and replaced with two sheets of white tissue paper held in place with packaging tape.

As for the shadow puppets — you didn’t think I sat there and cut them all out by hand did you?? I am far too lazy for that!

Instead, we attached some fairy tale foam stickers to toothpicks with a bit of tape. Of course, just about any kind of foam sticker would work well for this, and they are available in so many different themes: Under The Sea, Dinosaurs, and Fairies to name a few. Very very easy, and the girls LOVED their shadow puppets! They could not wait to put on a show!!

A bit of styrofoam (recycled from some left over packaging) inside the box made it easy for them to position their puppets.

Dim the lights, turn on a flashlight (my girls adore this Melissa and Doug Mollie Ladybug Kids’ Flashlight), and enjoy the show for hours of creative playtime fun!

Have fun!!

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  1. Dear Valerie,

    Thankfully the prince defeated the dragon. Despite my efforts, Clara wouldn’t have it any other way.


    • I love how the _princess_ was the one to fight off the dragon in one of their versions!!! Fairy tales with a feminist twist – lol!

  2. LOVE this! Now I have to think what sticker sets would we use………

  3. I love it! My class would love it!

  4. Oh, I LOVE this!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Sooooo much fun!!!! Need to find a box now!

  6. We have done this before with just hanging a sheet in a doorway, but I love the theater! What wonderful fun!

    • A sheet in the doorway is a great idea — especially for anyone who happens to be out of cardboard boxes!! We are BIG fans of creative open-ended play around here! 🙂

  7. How fun! Definitely doing this with the bored kids today 🙂

  8. Great idea! Thank you for sharing. My little ones are going to have a blast with this! 🙂

  9. Brilliant – love the simplicity of it!

  10. This is so awesome! Love the idea of using foam stickers too.

  11. Since it is like a kajillion degrees outside , we did this today! My son LOVED it…you should have seen the soft yellow light on his smiling face, he is ventilator dependent and wheelchair bound, so finding good activities that don’t involve a lot of movement on his part is difficult. We had been in a rut. I thank you for this: it gave me some precious memories and a really fun afternoon for him. Thank you!

  12. Joe Mama's Mama says

    Congratulations on this post and all the previous ones! This is my first comment, but have been subscribed to this blog from the beginning. Keep up the good work!

  13. Lauritha Lane says

    I think I will use this idea for around Chinese new year!

  14. I love that you made a box that allows you to play with shadow puppets anywhere! We always find an empty wall. The foam and toothpicks is superb, too. I cut my shadow puppets out with my Silhouette – also too lazy to cut them by hand. 😉

  15. I absolutely love this! R will be thrilled. Flashlights and puppets surely equal hours of fun 🙂

  16. What a great idea! It’s one of the most creative, practical, easy ideas I ran across in quite sometime. I will definetly put this idea in my back pocket for a rainy day. My boys will love it! Thank you!

  17. Hi Valerie!
    This is such a great idea. On Fridays I share ideas, on my fan page, on how to facilitate memories as a family. I shared this post as it is so creative and allows the family to tell stories in a creative and fun way. Thank you for your ideas. I will be sure to come back often:)
    I invite you to stop by my shop as well.
    Many blessings!

  18. Valerie! Loved the post! My munchkin is really into puppets and making
    images on the wall right now so this is a great step up. Thank you for
    sharing your creativity !

  19. INCREDIBLE THINKING!! You did really making sense. My little baby girl like different things to do and I think this will be enjoyable for me also when I’ll see she is making this.

  20. bookmarked!!, I like your blog!


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