Make your own shadow puppets

Make your own shadow puppets

Fun with light and dark

What you need:

  • Lamp
  • Cardboard
  • Sellotape
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Skewers
  • White wall

How to:

  1. Choose what type of puppets you want. How about your favourite animal? Or your friends and family? Or a scary ghost?
  2. Draw outlines for your puppets on the cardboard and cut them out.
  3. Use sellotape to attach a skewer to the back of each of your puppets.
  4. Put the lamp on the floor or on a table. Point it at the wall and turn it on. Turn off other lights and close the curtains.
  5. Hold your puppets between the light and the wall. Can you see a shadow on the wall? Move the puppets between the light and the wall to make the shadow different sizes.

Pink panther shadow puppets (c) andre musta

Pink panther shadow puppets (c) andres musta

Now you have your own puppets, you can make your own play!

You can use your hands as puppets too, just like this picture.

Shadow puppet_104472610

What's happening?

Light travels as a wave. When you put your shadow puppet in between the lamp and the wall, the puppet blocks some of the light waves.

The closer you put your shadow puppet to the lamp, the more light waves are blocked. This makes a bigger shadow. Moving the shadow puppet away from the lamp makes a smaller shadow as fewer light waves are blocked.

Did you know? A lunar eclipse is the Earth casting a shadow on the moon!

Main image of shadow puppets (c) DogFromSPACE

Curriculum information

Sign up for the newsletter
Sign Up For The Newsletter
Want to get the latest science news from Planet Science straight to your inbox? Sign up now!