Around the age of two children start dramatic play, acting out what they see in their lives. They will start playing with baby dolls and pretend kitchen items. As they get a bit older their dramatic play becomes more in-depth. Watching or playing along with children as they act out everyday activities such as school, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, and more is a great way to get some insight on what they’re thinking. You can also do this with a doll house or puppet theatre. If your child is having trouble interacting properly at preschool, act out appropriate ways with puppets. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a nice wooden puppet theater when you can easily make a DIY puppet theater right at home. If your kids are old enough ask them to help paint it once you have drawn an outline.

DIY Puppet Theater Instructions

  1. puppet theater curtainsGather the following materials while the kids are at school or napping (you may already have some at home): white trifold board, spare fabric, paint, foam brush, scissors/box cutter, string, and a hot glue gun.
  2. Cut a rectangle out of the top center part of the trifold board. It’s easiest with a box cutter (reference pictures).
  3. Now decide if you want to paint a scene, such as the grass and sky that I did or just one plain color. Do this on the white side, otherwise you will need three to four layers of paint to cover the lettering on the back.
  4. Measure and cut your fabric into a rectangle that is a bit larger than the rectangular hole you just cut out. Now, cut it into two equal pieces so they can be tied to the side just like theater curtains.
  5. When the paint is dry, lay down your board and hot glue the cloth to the back around the rectangle. Only hot glue the top and halfway down each side of the rectangle. Then pull the fabric over tightly and tie it with any type of string or ribbon.
  6. Okay, now what about puppets? Yes you can buy some, but why not make them with the kids to go along with your DIY puppet theater? Get creative with your puppets; mine have purple hair and green dog ears. To help younger kids create a mouth on the puppet you may want to hot glue a crease for them. Simply, put the sock puppet on your own hand, make a mouth between your four fingers and thumb, and glue the two corners of the mouth.

There are so many different ways to design your DIY puppet theater. Your kids will be so proud to be a part of the end result. After you’ve set up the theater and made puppets, you may have to show your children how to act with puppets. Once they get it, you can guide them in planing a show by helping outline the the beginning, middle, and end. After they have plenty of practice, you can set up a Zoom call with friends and family to present their masterpiece. Everyone will be in awe of your marvelous DIY puppet theater and homemade puppets!

homemade puppets

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About The Author

Kelsey Dickson has over 15 years of experience working with children as a nanny, preschool teacher, and now a mother. She has her degree in Early Childhood Education and works for Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny as the eLearning Manager. Check out our online childcare classes, such as Baby Sign Language and Sleep Coaching 101! In her free time she enjoys gardening with her son, going for walks with her husband and dog, and discovering local wineries in New England.