Krafternoon: Shadow Puppets

At Krafternoon this month we took advantage of the gloomy skies to make shadow puppets. Not a ground breaking idea, I'll grant you, but it was fun to be in a darkened room. Something about it feels special.
We have a large screen (available to borrow locally) that I propped up with chairs and lit using a couple spot lights. It took some fiddling to find the best position for the lights, but that was a good opportunity for STEM-like experimentation. In hindsight it might have been more fun to find a way to raise the screen, but our event was informal and this worked for us.
I also included some images of hand positions to try
I provided several templates of varying degrees of complexity but tried to encourage creativity. One participant made a cat, a mouse, a mouse hole and some cheese to tell a story fraught with peril and suspense! The crowd we got was definitely on the young end though and most preferred to use the templates.
I found templates from the indomitable Martha Stewart, copied a few simple shapes from Jill Bryant's Making Shadow Puppets, and used some complex wild animal templates from Paper Made! by Kayte Terry. One of Martha's shapes is a mermaid and I should have foreseen that it would be the most popular by far. TIP: Make multiple mermaids.
For a cheap, simple program I recommend this event. We already had all the supplies in our closet: black paper, brads, skewers (we used coffee stirrers), tape or glue, scissors, and something to draw with. Shadow play ties nicely to the current trend for STEM programming, appeals to preschool and school aged children, and bolsters literacy through encouraging storytelling.
As a supplement for taking home I provided a handout on how to make your own theater out of a box or cereal box, adapting this set of instructions from Ladybug magazine. A fun way to pass a grey afternoon. 

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