Makerspace Monday: Puppets

Manuela Molina, a psychologist in Bogotá, Colombia, who is also a yoga and mindfulness teacher, has created a printable COVID book for young children to read and color, and it’s available in 25 languages. On her download page, she says, “Remember that emotions are processed through repetitive play and stories read multiple times.”

Puppets are another storytelling tool that can be used to help children express emotions. Children’s book author and illustrator Yuyi Morales made a video with the puppet Señor Calavera “for all the children who are sad because they need to stay home.” (Click the “CC” button in the video options on the lower right to see English subtitles.) Spoiler alert: Señor Calavera makes a book to cheer up. Let’s join the fun and make puppets, too!   

Hand Shadow Puppets  

Hand shadow puppets are an easy—and classic—form of puppet making. Place your two hands between a bright light and the wall, and voilà! Instant shadow puppets. With ad-lib dialogue or a written script, families can create their hand shadow plays. (What would a COVID-19 shadow look like?)

Paper Bag Puppets     

DLTK’s Crafts for Kids has 49 paper-bag puppet patterns you can print and use. If your school or library has curbside pickup, pair a paper bag with a printed pattern for a simple “make and take” project.

Rod Puppets  

Make a rod puppet (like Señor Calavera) with a coat hanger, thick paper, and paper fasteners (brads) using these directions from a Houghton Mifflin Company science worksheet. 

Sock Puppets   

Sock puppets are made from an item that everyone has a home. The directions at wikiHow explain the basics and then give directions for a fancy sock puppet with a mouth made from cardboard and felt that opens and closes.

Stick Puppets

With craft sticks, paper, scissors, markers, and glue, families can make a stick puppet theater with a small box and put on a play using these directions from Crayola.

Two-Finger Puppets  

Paper, scissors, markers, and glue can also be used to make two-finger puppets. Aunt Annie’s Crafts has two-finger puppet patterns for an Australian Aboriginal fable to download and print (in three different sizes).


In Indonesia, puppets have been used to tell stories for thousands of years. These directions from the Ann Arbor Art Center show you how to make a stick puppet that is used in a shadow play.

X Marks the Spot

In other makerspace news, the Carnival of Children’s Literature (started by children’s book author and blogger Melissa Wiley in 2006) has moved to a new Facebook Community page. (The old blog carnival software went offline, so we are starting over.) Can you help us rebuild? If you blog for your school or library, please share a link to one of your children’s literature posts at our end-of-the-month roundup tomorrow, April 28. Thanks!

Anastasia Suen reads, edits, and writes books for all ages from her makerspace at home in Northern California. She has been teaching children’s book writing workshops since 1999, writing for Booklist since 2004, and managing the Carnival of Children’s Literature since 2010. Follow her on Twitter at @AnastasiaSuen'

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