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Mini Shadow Theater

Use your hands and shadow puppets to put on a shadow play.


  • shoeboxes (or other cardboard boxes), so that there’s one shadow theater for every two children
  • wax paper or white paper
  • tape
  • tall, flat surface to place theaters on (desk, table, etc.)
  • flashlights, one per pair of children
  • small objects to use to make shadows (toys, bracelets, pens, tissues, etc.)


To create a mini shadow theater:

  1. Using the bottom of a shoebox, cut out a large rectangle from the bottom panel, leaving about a 1½-inch border around the edges. Cover the opening you made with wax paper (or white paper) and secure it with tape. This is your theater.
  2. From the other, open end, you’ll prop or hold a flashlight inside the box and shine the light on the paper. 
  3. Place an object between the flashlight and the paper and see its shadow projected on the outside of the theater.

Create enough Mini Shadow Theaters so that children can play with them in pairs. Encourage children to experiment with different objects and to make up plays for each other.