Groundhog's day usually falls during my two week unit on China. It is so perfect to bring the Chinese tradition of shadow puppets to our exploration of shadows as we discuss groundhog's day. You can make a simple shadow puppet theater out of a cereal box. It is cheap and every child in the class can have their own theater. Begin by cutting windows out of both sides of the box.
Paint or collage the box to give it extra pizazz.
Modge Podge works well for applying paper to the cereal box.
To make the screen, I glued a parchment paper inside the box.
Put a light behind the box. Do not leave children unsupervised with the light. (Teachers - you can also use an overhead projector.)
To make the shadow puppets, simply draw a what you would like on black construction paper or poster board. Cut it out. We used bendable straws for the puppet sticks. You want the straw to be horizontal as it puts the puppet behind the screen. Tape the short section of the straw flat to the puppet. Bend it so the long section is horizontal. You can use thin wooden dowels as well.
Here is another way of attaching the straw to the puppet, especially if the puppet is small.
For further instructions and how to make a screen from a sheet go to Universe Awareness for Young Children
|Source: Cultural China|
Here is a photo of how traditional Chinese puppeteers move the puppets. To learn more, check out this website: Cultural China
For best results, put the shadow puppet right up against the screen.
I found a great site for making shadow puppets for fairy tales. It has downloads you can print out. For cut-outs of several major fairy tales go to this link: Cut-outs