Shadow Puppets


Capture shadow puppets by tracing them and turning them into stick puppets.


1. Create a light and shadow wall in your classroom by dimming the light sources. Use flashlights or other projectors to cast light on an open wall or chalk board.

2. Play with hand puppetry by making rabbits, crocodiles, birds, and other shadow creatures with your arms and hands on the open wall.

3. Work with a partner to trace each other's hand shadows onto oak tag or posterboard with Crayola® Washable Markers.

4. Cut each traced hand shadow from the paper using Crayola Scissors. Add details to the hand shadow with markers.

5. Attach a craft stick to the back of each shadow puppet with Crayola School Glue. Dry.

6. To experiment with light and shadows, predict and then test how varying the distance between the puppet and light source changes its shadow. Experiment with various light and puppet positions. Record effects on the shadows.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.

Wood—By its nature, wood is rough and may contain splinters or sharp points


  • Write a play for your shadow puppets. Perform it for a group of younger children or your families to celebrate Jim Henson's birthday on September 24 or Groundhog Day on February 2.
  • Create 3-D shadow puppets using Crayola Model Magic. Build long, thin, and unusually shaped puppets by pressing the modeling compound around straws or paper towel rolls. Explore how shadows differ from the flat paper shadow puppets.
  • Invent shadow games to play with shadow puppets. Work in small groups to write rules for the games, then teach classmates how to play. Display shadow game ideas and shadow puppets for continued scientific investigation.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

Share on Facebook


crayola supplies
  • Markers
  • No-Run School Glue
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
household supplies
  • flashlight
  • craft sticks
  • oak tag or poster board



  • Grades 1 to 3


  • Science
  • Visual Arts


  • Less than 1/2 hour
  • 30 to 60 minutes


  • Children experiment with the effects that various light and puppet positions have on shadows they make with their hands and arms.

  • Children work in pairs to trace their shadows and create puppets with the silhouettes.

  • Children make scientific predictions about light and distance, test them, and evaluate the results.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards