Set the stage for a series of fun-filled puppet shows with your preschooler by transforming an ordinary cardboard box into a one-of-a-kind, box theater! This puppet theater is a great way to spend quality time with your child while creating a useful play set. Work together in the creation of a stage, scenery, puppets, and storyline inspired by a favorite character, book, or movie. For an added lesson, re-purpose everyday household objects for the art materials used to emphasize being environmentally aware.
What You Need:
- A large cardboard box
- Packing tape, or other strong tape
- Crayons or markers
- Magazines, newspapers, or fabric samples
What You Do:
- Turn the box upside down. Make sure that the opening is on the bottom.
- Ask your child to trace a line around the top half of the box on the front side. Extend this line across the center of the box.
- Using the scissors, cut the line around the edges of the box. Do not cut through the middle line. This step should be done by an adult.
- Fold the top half flap that has been cut down by bending the cardboard at the drawn middle line.
- Optional: If you do not want to have to lift the box up and down every time your child uses the puppet theater, have her help you to create a back door. Ask your child to draw a door on the back of the box. Cut out one side and the top of the drawing. Fold the door back to form a flap.
- Invite your child to decorate her new theater however she would like. This can be done by drawing with markers or crayons or gluing child-friendly magazine or newspaper pictures onto the box in collage style. For an added flare, decorate with ribbons or pretty pieces of cut fabric.
- When the decorations are in place and the glue is dry, she now has a place to perform. Round out your stage by encouraging your child to create a variety of puppets to perform with and multiple backdrop drawings that can be hung inside the box. Finally, enjoy the show!
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.