Pop Up Puppets

This is an easy, inexpensive and flexible craft project for children age 3 – 7.

I’ll offer a brief tutorial here at the top. If you want to learn more about my inspiration, design process and alternative materials, read the whole post.

  • Do a drawing – any drawing you choose! It needs to fit inside the snow-cone, so it needs to be no larger than 2.25″ tall and 1.75″ wide.
  • Tape the drawing to a bamboo skewer.
  • Cut off the tip of a snow-cone cup and decorate the cup.
  • Insert the skewer into the cup, threading the skewer through the hole.
  • Push the skewer up so the monster is poking up out of the cup, then wrap some tape around the skewer. That helps prevent the cup from slipping off the skewer.
  • Push the monster up or pull it down to play peekaboo!

The Design Process / Alternatives to Consider

In our preschool/kindergarten STEM class, our plan was to study forces – pushes and pulls. I searched for inspiration for a take-home craft project. I found some great examples of peekaboo puppets. A Halloween theme from Hello, wonderful; a good job puppet from pebblesandpiggytails; a spring chick from In the Playroom; and a shamrock from Kids’ Craft Room.

My co-teachers and I experimented with what to use for the container: we could have used the dixie cups we had, but it would be hard for kids to decorate these waxy cups that were covered in flowers; we didn’t have any plain paper cups and we wanted something nicer looking than TP rolls. In the cabinet, we found paper snow-cone cups. Perfect!

Now, what to use for the sticks? Dowels? Craft sticks? Straws? Pencils? Oh look, here’s the jumbo bamboo skewers we got at the grocery store that were too big for the kites we made!

What to use for the puppet? Some use Styrofoam balls for a head but we try not to use Styrofoam. You could use a pompom head, or craft foam or other items. We decided to make the puppets with card stock.

We tried sketching our own puppets, and cut out cardstock rectangles for the kids to draw their own designs. But we decided that would be too hard for our littlest ones to come up with an effective design, so we decided to offer templates. I just searched for “silly monsters coloring pages” and came up with several examples, and pasted these into a document, and added circles around each one, because I thought it would be easier for our kids to cut out the circles than try to cut out monster shapes. (Here’s my sample, but I don’t have copyright to these images, so I encourage you to create your own.) The snow cones are 2.75″ across at the top, but they narrow quickly so my designs needed to be less than 1.75″ wide and less than 2.25″ tall to slide in and out easily, and to be fully concealed when pulled down.

This is a super easy craft that could be adapted to almost any holiday or theme. Try it out!

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