Warning message

The subscription service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

Shadow Puppetry

There’s no need to be afraid of the dark! Learn the science of shadows and light through creative play.
15 favorites


Let's do this!

Favorite and conveniently book Kid Experts for sessions throughout the site.

Ever wonder what that spooky shape is in the corner of the room? It’s a shadow! In this activity, we will explore the absence of light through playing with shadow puppets. This fun experiment can be done with paper cut outs, toys in the house, or just our hands!


-scrap paper
-craft stick or string (optional)


As parents, it's important to make sure that activities are age appropriate and that allergies or medical conditions are communicated as you see fit.

Sometimes, a materials or other additional fee is charged. We do this to bring you the best possible activities. It's the Kid Expert's job to confirm any such fee in advance.

Sample Activities and Instructions

Using a pencil, draw the outline of your favorite character or animal on a piece of paper. Cut out the shape with scissors. If you want to add details, you can draw plain shapes inside and fold the paper to cut out the eyes, nose, mouth, or special patterns on an animal’s skin.
Once you’ve cut out the characters you want for your puppet show, attach each paper cut out to a craft stick or string.
Move to a dark room, or set up an indoor tent using blankets.
Take your flashlight and shine it on a wall or on the floor. Do you see the light? Now put your hand in front of the light, moving it closer and farther from the light source to see how the shape of the shadow can change.
Take your paper puppets and place them in front of the light source (at least 6 inches away so the light can still come through). Make the characters talk as they move in and out of the light stage. As you play with the shadow puppets, try to come up with a fun story you can share.
Showtime! Put on a five minute shadow puppet play for friends and family. Don’t forget to tell them what you learned about lights and shadows!