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!

easy to make theater for kids puppet shows

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A simple puppet theater is easy to make with a large piece of molded foam packaging.

The opening suggests a ready-made television screen or theater stage!

This simple puppet theater inspires creativity and imagination. 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.

DIY puppet theater

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.


Related:  Magic mirror made from foam packaging


Supplies for foam theater craft

Supplies for puppet theater from foam packaging


  • large piece of foam packaging
  • fabric
  • 1/8 inch (3 cm) wooden dowel or similar rod
  • paper fasteners
  • tape
  • 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).


Instructions for homemade theater

 Make a curtain rod for the puppet theater


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.


Attach curtain rod to back of puppet theater


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.

 Front view of puppet theater with paper fasteners


Here is a front view with the paper fasteners pushed through to the back to secure the curtain rod.


STEP 2: Make the curtain


Make a casing in the curtain for the rod


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.


Insert rod into casing to make a curtain for the puppet theater


Push the curtain rod through the casing.

 Paper fasteners hold the curtain rod in place on the inside of the puppet theater


Attach the rod to the back of the foam packaging as shown in STEP 1


Back view of puppet theater made with foam packaging


Trim the curtain to the desired length.


STEP 3: Complete the theater


Puppet theater diy for kids puppet shows


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.


Puppet theater for preschool pretend play


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!


Puppet theater easy DIY from recyclables for kids pretend play


 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


Puppets and Theaters on Pinterest


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