Shadows on the Wall

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It's sometimes hard to remember, but back when I was a kid, there wasn't any Internet and there weren't any smart phones to help entertain us when we were bored. So when summer would roll around, parents had to get creative. Most of my summer days consisted of my mother telling me to "go play outside" (we lived across the street from a huge park). But what was there to do when the sun went down? Or what about when it rained (a rarity in Southern California, but it DID happen)? That's when mom had to get extra creative. I grew up in a theater family, so anything having to do with "putting on a show" was perfect for me. You could often find me putting on a one-woman show to an audience of parents and pets. One of my favorite summertime "indoor activities" was playing with shadow puppets. Now, you can always make shadows with your own hands, but here is an easy tutorial on how to make a shadow puppet theater! What you'll need: A cardboard box (a cereal box is a great size!) Wax or tissue paper Tape and scissors (or X-acto knife) Black construction paper or heavier stock white paper (and just color in your puppets with a black marker) Straws (or any kind of long stick) Your imagination! Optional: paper fasteners (to make "moving parts")


Instructions: 1) Cut a large rectangular opening in both sides of the box. Tip: Use the piece you cut out first to trace on the other side. I started cutting a little less than an inch from the sides here. 2) Next, cut your tissue paper to cover one side of the box and affix it with tape. 3) Now it's time to make the puppets! Let your little one (or you, if you're the director) decide if they have a theme they want to go with or just wing it. Download pre-traced puppets HERE  that you can cut out...or you just make your own!  (The Rockabye Bear makes for a good character, we think!) Make sure to color one side of the puppets black, if necessary. And cut out holes for eyes, mouths, windows, etc., to make them more realistic! 4) Next, just tape a straw to the back of each puppet (you want the darker side facing outwards). If you want to get truly animated, try making a puppet with a moving part using fasteners for that. You simply cut out the part you want to "move," attach it with a fastener where it would go normally, and then add a second straw to make it move. Here is a shark with a chomping mouth, for example 5) Now, it's show time! Grab a desk lamp and turn down the lights. Make sure the audience is facing the wax paper and your little puppeteer is behind it, with the lamp behind them shining through the paper. 6) Have fun! For more DIY projects, click HERE or choose one below! 

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Need a soundtrack for your show? Take it to another level with these Rockabye Baby titles.

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