How to make a puppet stage for your children

QUICK AND EASY PUPPET STAGE

The simplest puppet stage can be made simply by placing a tension rod across a doorway or narrow hallway. Hang a curtain from it or drape a piece of fabric over it and you have an instant puppet theater that can be taken down and easily stored when your children are through with it.

FINGER PUPPET STAGE

Get a large shoe box. Place the cover flat on the table and stand the box on its side, inside of the cover. Tape the cover to the side of the box. On the bottom (the underside of the cover), make a long, 2″ to 3″ slit from one end of the box to the other.

Decorate by painting the outside of the box, or wrapping in paper or contact paper. Let children paint the insides, creating scenery on the back wall of the box.

Place the box at the edge of the table. Children can slip their finger puppets up through the slit to perform their show.

TABLE TOP HAND PUPPET STAGE

Table-top puppet theaters can be made with a medium-sized cardboard box. Cut off three bottom flaps, leaving one. Tape the remaining bottom flap to the sides of the box for sturdiness.

Fold out the top flaps and tape them to each other along the corners to add to the sturdiness and allow light to come through the top.

Cut an opening on the side of the box to which the bottom flap is still attached. Use a craft knife or scissors, making the opening at least 2″ to 3″ from the edge of that side.

To decorate the box, paint it with poster paints, or cover it with wrapping or contact paper. On the inside back wall of the box, children can use clothes pins to hang paper decorated as background scenery.

To use it, place the box on a table with the open-bottom end hanging slightly off, so that children can go under the table and put their puppets up through the bottom opening. For good lighting, place the table under a fixture or use a swan neck desk lamp to overhang the box and shine down from the top.

FULL SIZE FOLD-AWAY STAGE

Go to an office supply store and purchase a sturdy, 3-part project display board. Stand the board up and decorate the backside with paint, paper, or colored contact paper to be the audience-facing part of the stage. Children can go behind the board for their puppet show. If placed in front of a wall, children can tape up poster boards decorated as scenery so that it can be seen over the top of the display board. This puppet stage can be folded flat and stored away when not in use.

MARIONETTE PUPPET STAGE

If your children are using marionettes puppets on a string– instead of hand or finger puppets, get a large packing box. Fold the bottom of the box and tape to secure. Open the top flaps and tape them along the edges to secure them.

On one side of the box, cut an opening as large as the side will allow, 2″ to 3″ from the edge of the box. Paint the box or cover with wrapping paper or contact paper. Create background scenes on poster board paper, then slide them in and lay them against the back wall of the box, opposite the opening. Children can now stand above the box and dangle their marionettes from the top opening.

If children don’t want to be seen while performing, place the box where you can hang a clothes line higher than the children’s heads. Hang fabric from the line as curtains, pulling it up over the front of the box so that the opening can be seen.

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