DIY Puppet Theater And Play
Learn how to use recycled cardboard to create your own puppet theater! This pairs perfectly with the new Folkmanis puppets from Safari Ltd. We are so excited about this new product - these puppets are absolutely beautiful and the quality is outstanding! I have worked with Folkmanis puppets in the past as a preschool teacher and I’m thrilled to now have a couple of our own. Puppet play has some amazing benefits for kids. Before we jump into the DIY, let’s talk for a minute about why playing with puppets is so valuable.
The Benefits of Puppet Play
Besides being a lot of fun, there are so many benefits to playing with puppets! Puppet play can help your kiddos develop language skills, social skills and even work on their fine motor strength.
Language Development: Playing with puppets encourages your children to practice telling stories! They get to act as the narrator and the characters as they perform. Their puppets can sing, cry, laugh and engage in conversation with each other. All of this play is incredible for developing strong language skills!
Social Skills Development: Pretend play is a wonderful way for kids to explore emotions and social skills. As they take on the persona of the puppet they are also taking on someone else’s perspective, which helps them develop empathy and prepare for deeper relationships in real life!
Fine Motor Skills: The task of manipulating a puppet is a great way to develop those fine motor skills and hand strength! These are both crucial for other skills like using scissors, tying shoelaces and handwriting. Play that encourages kids to use these skills is always a plus!
Making a Puppet Stage
When we received our Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Folkmanis puppets in the mail, I knew right away that I wanted to create a stage where my kids could perform with them! Having an exciting place to play with their puppets will naturally encourage them to tell more stories and engage with them more.
I chose to use cardboard to create our puppet stage. Cardboard is always my favorite choice for large projects like these! It is often readily available (especially if you’ve been doing more shopping online lately!) and is easy to transform. We had a really large box on hand that I used to create our theater, but a great alternative would be a tri-fold poster board, like you use for science fair presentations! Read below for all the details on how I built our cardboard theater.
- Large cardboard box
- Knife (for cutting cardboard)
- Clear packaging tape
- Hot glue gun
- Yellow and red felt
- Black ribbon
- Yellow pom poms
- Black and gold acrylic paint
Step 1: Begin by cutting your large cardboard box into three pieces. You will want one large rectangle for the front of your theater. Next, cut two thin rectangles, the same height as your large piece. These will become the sides of your theater to help it stand up. Use clear packaging tape to tape each of the small rectangles to the sides of the large rectangle. These flaps will be used to help your theater stand up! *If you are using a tri-fold poster board, these steps won’t be necessary, since the side flaps already exist!
Step 2: Use your knife to carefully cut a rectangular window out of the puppet theater. You want this to be large enough to see all of your puppets through it! Save the piece of cardboard you cut out!
Step 3: Next, I cut small circles from yellow felt to create the decoration around the edges of the windows. Use your hot glue gun to glue these circles and yellow pom poms around the edges of the window opening. We used yellow because we thought it looked like theater lights. It is also one of the main colors in our puppets!
Step 4: Next cut two large curtains from red felt to hang in the window. On the back side of the window, Hot glue each curtain across the top of the opening. Use a black ribbon to tie up each half of the curtain.
Step 5: Use the piece of cardboard you cut out of the window to create a sign! I used black acrylic paint to paint the words “PUPPET THEATER” on our sign. I also used gold paint to add some stars. Once it dried, I used clear packaging tape to tape this sign to the front of our theater.
Step 6: As a finishing touch, I used black ribbon to line the edges of the theater and the sign. I hot glued this ribbon in place! Cardboard projects always look more complete when you cover and finish the edges.
Once your theater is done it’s ready for play! Think of all of the fun possibilities with these amazing Folkmanis puppets!
This post is by Emily Limer. Emily is a preschool teacher and mom of two toddlers who love to play with Safari Ltd. animals! You can follow her on Instagram @makingwithmommy for more kids craft and play ideas.