Shadow Puppets


Shadow Puppets

By Anna Goolsby, Marketing Assistant

shadow puppets are a great crafting opportunity to explore properties of light

Shorter days don’t have to mean less play time! Shadow puppets are a great way to get your little one crafting and playing, even when after the sun has set. Take advantage of the darker evenings with this fun DIY activity that explores light, shadow and good, old fashioned storytime fun!


  • Lamp
  • Cardstock
  • Tape
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Skewers or Chopsticks
  • White or Light-Colored Wall


First things first, you need a story! Use your favorite bedtime story, tell a tale about your family, or make up a new silly story together. Using your pencil, draw your characters on the cardstock then carefully cut out with your scissors. Use your tape to secure your characters to the skewer/chopstick, making sure to leave plenty of room for your hand to grasp the end easily. Then, place your lamp on the floor or a table and point it at a nearby white or light wall. Time to turn out the lights! Make sure it’s good and dark, turn on your lamp, and move your new puppets across the light to see them on your wall! Take turns storytelling and acting out the scenes with the puppets.

The Science

This activity explores the science of shadows! Sometimes, objects (like our cardboard puppets) are thick enough to block light as it travels through the air. The size of the shadow depends on how close or far away from the light source. Shadows can also “stretch” and “bend” as the angle changes between the object and the light source. This is why trees outside your window can sometimes look like a scary monster!

Further Exploration

  • Try moving your puppet closer and further away from the light. What happens? Does it get smaller or bigger? Why?
  • Visit Space Chase at the science center to learn more about how the shadow of the sun creates our seasons and daily transitions from day to night!




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