Make Bedtime (Even More) Theatrical with Shadow Puppets

Meet the Prince and Princess of Shadowland. The Nasty Shadows Who Dwell in Closets fear their benevolent dictatorship.

Shadows can be scary—great big black shifting things that make us wonder about the creatures in our closets and those potentially lurking under our beds. But the truth is (and not a lot of little people know this) that shadows don’t have to be scary at all, especially if you make your own!

What you’ll need:
• Sturdy paper (we used card stock but cereal boxes would be perfect for this)
• Pencil
• Scissors
• Tape
• A bamboo skewer or two
• A flashlight


1. Draw your puppets on the paper and cut them out. Depending on your scissor skills, you may need to choose characters made out of simple shapes. (Think bunny rabbits and stick figures.) Our rabbit (not shown) is basically two circles stacked on top of one another, snowman style, with long ears. If you’re really adventurous you can give your creations movable parts with brass fasteners.

2. Cut out and tape each shape to a skewer.

3. We could have hung a white sheet but that would have been hard to pull off in our bed, so we just lay down with our puppets close to the wall and shone a flashlight right on them. It worked fine.

Here’s where you can really go to town: think up a story for your characters. Give them funny voices and plan out some adventures for them. If you’re stuck for plot lines, try the “one line at a time” style of storytelling. You contribute one line of a made-up story, and the next person adds the next line, and so on.

You could make it part of your bedtime routine. It’s the perfect motivation for the kids to brush their teeth and get into their pyjamas, don’t you think?

Andrea Tomkins is a mother of two imps, and wife of one. You can follow her adventures on her blog, a peek inside the fishbowl, where she’s been writing about family life since 1999. She’ll be sharing a great new craft idea here at every Friday.

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