By The Thinkery


Have you ever put on a shadow puppet show? Combine art and science in this fun and easy activity to learn how light interacts with matter.


You’ll need:

heavy paper, straws or sticks,white sheet, scissors, hole puncher , brass paper fasteners, tape or string, cellophane (optional), table and desk lamp



1. Draw the body of your puppet on paper. Cut out each moving component separately.

2. Hole-punch the areas you want the parts to move and join. Use brass fasteners to connect the components.

3. Tape the straws or sticks to the main body of your puppet and any other moving parts it may have.

4. Use cellophane to add color to your puppet (eyes, buttons, etc.).

5. Create your screen by tying or taping up your sheet. Place your table behind the sheet with the desk lamp on top.

6. Now you can put on a show! Stand behind the screen and move your puppet in any way you’d like. You’re now a shadow puppeteer!


What’s happening?

•  Light travels as a wave. When you put your shadow puppet in between the lamp and the wall, the puppet blocks some of the light waves.

•  The closer you put your shadow puppet to the lamp, the more light waves are blocked. This makes a bigger shadow. Moving the shadow puppet away from the lamp makes a smaller shadow as fewer light waves are blocked.


Did you know?

•  Shadow puppets are often used to convey culturally important stories, such as myths, folklore and religious stories.

•  The tradition of using shadow puppets to tell stories dates back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest forms of motion-picture storytelling.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Austin Family Magazine

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this with your friends!