DIY Puppet Theater for Preschool Pretend Play
This is a simple puppet theater with lots of possibilities for imaginative play. Start with some foam packaging and finish with a love of the theater!
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Inspire creativity and imagination with this simple puppet theater. The possibilities for pretending have no limits!
Kids can plan the actions, 'write' dialogue, and voice new sounds or accents with a host of different characters.
These activities help strengthen social, cognitive and language skills.
The puppet theater you make may look a bit different from the one in this tutorial. That's great! I hope these ideas inspire you to make your theater your own.
The end result will be determined by the type of foam packaging you begin with, and the variety of materials you use to complete the project.
- large piece of foam packaging
- 1/8 inch (3 cm) wooden dowel or similar rod
- paper fasteners
- craft foam sheets or cutouts
Styrofoam is often used as packaging for electronics such as printers and screens. This piece with a pre-cut opening is the perfect size for a simple theater.
The foam packaging in this tutorial measures 19 inches (48 cm) wide x 16 inches (40 cm) high.
The opening is 12.5 x 7.75 inches (32 x 20 cm).
STEP 1: Make the curtain rod
Cut the dowel so that it extends beyond the opening (window).
The curtain rod pictured is made with two wooden skewers taped together to fit the length of the foam packaging on the inside. You could use a wooden or plastic dowel (cut to length) or even chopsticks for the curtain rod.
Here is how to attach the curtain rod to the foam after it has been inserted into the curtain in STEP 2.
Push a paper fastener through the foam slab from the front, then open the two ends to form a V.
Place the end of the curtain rod in the V, then twist the ends of the paper fastener around the rod to secure it in place.
Repeat with the other end of the curtain rod.
Here is a front view with the paper fasteners pushed through to the back to secure the curtain rod.
STEP 2: Make the curtain
Cut a piece of fabric roughly twice the width of the opening (window) in your piece of foam.
Fold the fabric over approximately 2 inches (5 cm) and secure with tape to make a casing for the curtain rod.
Push the curtain rod through the casing.
Attach the rod to the back of the foam packaging as shown in STEP 1.
Trim the curtain to the desired length.
STEP 3: Complete the theater
Finish the theater with fun designs.
Glue foam cutouts to the front of your theater like this one, with shapes and ABC's.
Alternately, paint your theater a solid color and add patterns or shapes with colorful markers.
Secure your theater to the floor or table top with duct tape to prevent it tipping over.
STEP 4: Perform!
A puppet theater is the perfect place to showcase a new 'production'.
Puppets like these cute ducks are easy to make by taping foam cutouts to craft sticks.
You can also make puppets from wooden spoons.
This is an easy project that will provide hours of fun for kids - both the performers and the audiences!
Fun Puppets from kid-friendly bloggers
Handprint Chick Puppets / Kids Craft Room
Paper Bag Monster Puppets / iHeart Crafty Things
Craft Stick Dinosaur Puppets / My Bored Toddler
Princess Popsicle Stick Puppets / Emma Owl
Halloween Letter Puppets / Royal Baloo