I recently cleaned out the linen cupboard and gave the kids a huge bag of old sheets to play with. They like to make-up stories and turn them into royal capes or build dens with them. In amongst them was a white sheet. I thought it could be used to build a shadow puppet theatre in the garden. We have a swing set that isn’t safe to use, so I removed one of the swings and fastened the sheet to the frame.
The children and I made puppets from cardboard. The children chose characters and I helped them draw them in silhouette. They collected sticks from the garden, whittled them to smooth them out and stuck the cardboard characters on with tape.
I also found images of hand shadows. I printed and laminated them and stuck them on the swing set frame for reference.
We had to do a bit of work cutting back the tree branches to make a clear screen, but soon it was ready. The magical stories they have created have been wonderful. I think this would be a great resource for a school or pre-school to encourage story telling and build the foundations of story writing. You could build it outdoors or inside with a light source behind.
Videoing the story showed the children where they needed to improve. They saw that sometimes you couldn’t see the characters well because they were too low or placed at an angle. They also noticed that the size of the puppet changed according to how close to the screen it was.
I love the way my daughter played with accents and voices. It particularly love the voice of the bird and banana man in the land of the forgotten.
Shadows, like mud are a great, free play resource – check out some of our other shadow explorations or follow my shadow and light pinterest board
7 thoughts on “Storytelling with Shadow Puppets”
This is such a great idea. We are doing a weather study this week and I was wondering how to represent the sun, this might just be the answer – shadows cast by the sun. the voice overs in the video is brilliant. They clearly loved creating their story. What an inspired use of an old sheet.
Thank you for sharing such a creative idea with me on #CountryKids
These are really cool! I love that you have tested it out. I saw that hand shadow patterns going around on Facebook the other day. I’ve saved it for when we do camping next weekend. Can’t wait! #CountryKids. x
Sounds like you’ve had loads of fun with this activity. One to consider when my girls are older I think. #CountryKids
This is brilliant! What fun they had, and a great way to encourage their imaginations. Love it 🙂 #countrykids
This is so creative! I love that you used video to make improvements. I used to do that as a child with my dance performances. #countrykids
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