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Teaching with paper bag puppets

Updated on October 9, 2016

What do Pinocchio, Sesame Street, Muppets, Howdy Doody, Yoda and Lamb Chop have in common? They are all puppets! Puppets are a popular form of entertainment that is used to animate different ideas to an audience. Puppets have been popular throughout history and with children and adults alike.

Paper bag puppets

Puppets can be a vital teaching tool in the classroom. There are many kinds of puppets that can be used: sock puppets, marionettes, finger puppets, rod puppets, shadow puppets and so many more. Perhaps the easiest kind of puppet that can be used with a teacher’s limited resources is the paper bag puppet. You can easily pick up small paper bags at your local store and draw a face or attach cut outs to make a puppet.

Did you know that each hoof is in fact a nail and that a horse walks on its fingernails?

Puppets in class

There are several ways that a teacher can use paper bag puppets in a classroom. One way that you can use a puppet to instruct is through a narrative. You can write (or find) a play with 2 or 3 characters that work together to illustrate a concept. Using handmade paper bag puppets, these characters can discuss and teach a concept your students. Another way to use puppets in the classroom is if you have one main puppet and you as a teacher can interact with this puppet, asking it questions and holding a regular conversation, all the while instructing the on looking students. You can also have your students create their own puppets. For example: younger students learning the alphabet can create puppets dealing with a specific letter, Otto the octopus, they can then use their puppet to repeat the sound that the Octopus makes (short o). To change things up in the classroom, students can use their puppets to answer questions posed by the teacher. They can use their regular voice or an animated voice of their puppet. This not only gives your shy students a chance to break out of their shell but it also helps your students to channel their acting abilities by using a puppet to communicate their ideas.

Source

Learning to read

One important part of learning how to read is learning how to read fluently. Fluency requires that a student uses inflections in their voice, uses different voices for different characters; all in all making reading an interesting thing to listen too. Paper bag puppets can help a student practice fluency in reading. A student can make a puppet and have the puppet (through the help of the student) be a certain character in the book, voicing the parts only of that character while the student reads all the other parts. It may be helpful beforehand to highlight all the parts in the story that the puppet would read, so that the student will know when to use the puppet. To practice fluency, students can also put on a puppet show imitating different voices of different characters. Older students can write a puppet show, create the puppets and scenery and then perform their show for younger students. This would not only be a good practice in fluency, but also a good writing assignment.

How to make a paper bag horse puppet

The possibilities are endless when you use puppets. And with the paper bag puppet being cost effective, there is no reason why you should not use puppets throughout the year to teach.

Place the paper bag with the bottom of the bag towards you.

Put white glue on the long part of the bag and on the part hidden by the bottom of the bag.


Glue the body of the horse in place.

Glue the front legs on either side of the upper body.

Glue the hooves at the ends of the legs.

Lift the bottom of the bag and glue the lower jaw on the body.

Glue the upper jaw of the horse in place on the the flap under the bottom of the bag.

Glue the head of the horse in place, properly aligning the jaw with the jaw parts that are already there.

Glue the mane on the top of the head.

Glue the ears on either side of the mane. Do not hesitate to give them slightly different orientations to give a little character to your horse.

Then glue the inside of the ears centered in the ears and glue the eyes in place.

Note: I used a contrasting color to highlight the inside of the ears.

Teeth can add a comic effect to this puppet.

Cut the top edge of a Styrofoam cup.

Measure a length slightly shorter than the jawline and trim it so that the height tapers off on each side.

Draw teeth with a permanent black marker on the piece of Styrofoam.

With a glue gun, glue the teeth in place on the edge of the upper jaw.

Patterns
Patterns | Source

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    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 13 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very cute! Kids love puppets, they are great for language development, and these look so easy!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 13 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A unique project and I Tweeted!

    • Rabadi profile image

      2 years ago from New York

      So cool! I'm going to try this with my niece, I'm now following you :)

    • Tolovaj profile image

      Tolovaj 3 years ago

      These are totally adorable and they also look like something even I could make. Kids love puppets (well, most of grown ups too) and they can make really great tool for all kinds of education (and fun). Thanks for the instructions!

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 3 years ago from On planet Earth

      So cute i want one pleaaaasssseee thank you. LOL . What's up Joelle i have been away for awhile wasn't to well did a surgery i am still re-cooperating you can email me.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      What a cute project! I love all of your ideas. We built a puppet stage for my children when they were smaller. I had so many puppets for them. We played for hours. It's so much fun when they are of that age where they like pretend play.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 3 years ago

      Hi again, I wanted to say that I taught some children at the sunday school and they made it with so much of interest and excitement and they all loved it. Thank you for sharing :) It was really fun :) God bless you! Keep up the good work!!!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Sharing Joelle.

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you Karen :-) You are very sweet! My two cowboys appreciated the projects I did with them when they were younger and my students at school as well :-)

      Have a great weekend!

      PS : thanks for the vote! Very kind of you!

    • CharronsChatter profile image

      Karen Robiscoe 3 years ago from California

      Your kids must just love you to pieces! A crafty person is great--a SKILLED artisan like yourself a real gem. I hope those lil cowboys know what they got! Hee haw! :)

      Oh. I always vote "up"--to stop by is to do so. :)

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you very much for coming and taking the time to comment, Susan Recipes :-) Thank you for the votes as well! Enjoy your weekend!

    • Susan Recipes profile image

      Susan 3 years ago from India

      Wow... Very interesting and wonderful hub. Your step by step pics are simply awesome. Voted up, interesting, beautiful and awesome.

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you very much for your kind comments! I hope that you will have time to create puppets the next time your grandchildren come to visit you. They will have fun creating them but also making them talk :-)

      Enjoy your weekend! Joelle

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      What a wonderful hub Joelle and one I most certainly save for when my grandkids come over next. Voted up for sure and thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas with us on here. Wising you a great weekend too.

      Eddy.

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you Kerlund! I really hope that kids love this project. Usually kids love puppets :-)

      Enjoy your day!

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your visit and kind comment as always, Passionate :-)

      The best part of this puppet for me was making the teeth :-) It gives all the character of the horse. It made me smile when I was creating it and when I when I animated it :-) So my hope is that kids can enjoy creating puppets and have fun with it!

      Have a nice day, Passionate!

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your visit and comment, Kate :-) I had fun making that little movie too :-) I bought the sound on line to make it funny. I am not a good to make animal sounds :-)

      Enjoy your day!

      Joelle

    • kerlund74 profile image

      kerlund74 3 years ago from Sweden

      Awesome idea:) I think children loves this. Voted!

    • passionate77 profile image

      passionate77 3 years ago

      so lovely and delightful, really your passion for all this creativity is so deep and inspiring. enjoy almost all of your post even though i'm not too much into kids crafting but the finer details you provide in your articles don't let the person leave the page till the last line. blessings dear!

    • prestonandkate profile image

      Preston and Kate 3 years ago from the Midwest

      Hi kidscrafts, this is a great hub! Thanks for sharing the template of the horse. And, I laughed at the movie you made with the puppets. :) Cute! -Kate

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you Michelle! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Stopping by to look at these amazing puppets and share again!

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your visit and comment, Vellur! I think that indeed, puppets make learning fun and kids remember the lessons better :-)

      Have a nice day!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Puppets make learning great fun and kids will enjoy the learning process. The puppets that you have made are great. Great hub.

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your very kind comment and vote, Jo. I really think that learning can be made while having fun :-) I must admit also that I have a special love for puppets!

      Have a wonderful day!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Joelle, this is a brilliant hub, I love the idea of using puppets to help the shy children in class. The wonderful thing about your hub is that they are always fun but also educational. Beautifully done. Up and sharing.

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you very much for your kind comment, Married2Medicine :-) Thank you also for your recommendation to other people. I am happy if it can help kids to learn while having fun :-)

      Have a nice evening!

    • married2medicine profile image

      Funom Theophilus Makama 3 years ago from Europe

      What a hub! I enjoyed reading every word and every sentence. I will definitely recommend this to people I know would need it. Thanks for the wonderful share... This is indeed an excellent Kid's craft

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you very much, Ignugent! It's very kind of you!

      Enjoy your evening!

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      ignugent17 3 years ago

      Very creative and your horse looks adorable. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas. :-)

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you very much, Michelle :-) The intention was to have the puppet ready in time for the Chinese New Year but unfortunately I was a little bit late to finish this project on time. But I am sure that kids will be happy to create this puppet integrated with different subjects like farm animals, vocabulary with the parts of the horse, drama, etc.

      Have a great day :-)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      You always amaze with your creativity! I always love these paper bag puppets.wonderful and I'm sharing, Joelle!

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you vor your visit, comments and votes, b.Malin! Paper bag puppets are so affordable and easy to make and as you said loads of fun. I think there is absolutely something magic about any kind of puppets that kids just can't resist... and it's a good thing :-)

      Enjoy your evening!

      Joelle

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 3 years ago

      We did Paper Bag Puppet's in Club Scouts one year, MANY years ago, and it was loads of Fun, I'd forgotten about them and was reminded of it by your WONDERFUL Hub. It's such a cheap, easy, Fun project and as you've said Kidscraft, such a Great Learning experience for the children. Also the Video is Adorable, Loved it!

      Voted UP & Interesting & Awesome too!

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your very kind comment and votes, Donna! Puppets are a great help for kids to learn. I have seen it with my own eyes at school; the puppets give a voice to the children :-)

      Enjoy your Sunday!

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      Another wonderful hub! I love your idea to use puppets to help with learning and your paper bag puppet is adorable!! I love the teeth :) Such a great idea! Voted up, awesome, and pinned!

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thanks for your kind comment, Anna! My husband helped me with the animation of one of the puppet because I couldn't do both of them and not be seen with the camera. We had quite a few laughs! I must say that the teeth add a funny twist to the horse ;-)

      Enjoy your weekend!

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your visit and great comment, John! I agree with you that puppets can replace easily any teacher :-) As a kid, my brother and I had a little theater and puppets and I think my love for puppets is coming from that period. I remember also that I played with a flashlight and some coloured paper to add some effect on the background (it seems it's like a few lifetime away).

      I love puppets because it's great to see kids who might have difficulty communicate coming out of their shell!

      Enjoy the rest of the week!

      I was away... and I have some catching up to do now!

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your visit and votes, Devika! It's very kind of you! It's always nice to have your visit :-)

      Enjoy your day!

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your comment, rdsparrowriter! I agree with you... puppets can really reach any person's heart! It's the same for me; since I am a little girl I have been fascinated by puppets! Puppets are great for kids to express themselves. I have seen introverted children being able to express themselves because of the puppets :-)

      Have a great day!

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your kind comment and visit as always, Eddy! I am sure that your grandchildren will have fun making paperbag puppets.... and by the way... you can play too :-)

      Enjoy your day!

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

      The puppets look great Joelle and I like how they have a cool, funky character. Great instructions as always, clear and well presented and the patterns are a bonus. I think that it looks a fun project for not only the childrens but also the adults. :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Puppets are a great teaching aid Joelle. Kids tend to show more interest in watching a puppet than a teacher and subsequently take more information in. My brother and sister and I used to make puppets out of socks and stuff and play puppet theatre when we were kids. It was great fun. Good hub, and the horse puppets are cool too.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Teaching with paper bag puppets is a fun to do activity. A great way to entertain kids. Voted up. useful, interesting, beautiful.

    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 3 years ago

      I'm saving this article. Drama on the end of hands. Hand is the actor.

      Puppets can reach any person's heart. Since I was a small girl I loved puppetry. Thank you for sharing this :) God bless you!!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Wonderful Joelle and I am most definitely saving for when our Grandkids come to stay in a couple of weeks. Voted up, across and shared.

      Eddy.

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you very much WriterJanis! I agree with you that puppets can make learning way more fun :-)

      Have a nice evening!

    • WriterJanis profile image

      Janis 3 years ago from California

      Wonderful step by step instructions. Puppets can make learning so much more fun for children.

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you very much, DrPennyPincher! I know... the teeth make it very funny! I love a project with a little touch of humour!

    • drpennypincher profile image

      Dr Penny Pincher 3 years ago from Iowa, USA

      These are awesome- I especially like how the teeth bring the horse's face to life. Another great project!

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for your kind comment and visit, Jackie! Too bad you don't have someone to make a puppet! May be you can borrow a child to make one ;-) When my husband and I got married and we went to see a Disney movie, I suggested that we should borrow someone's child to have an excuse to go;-) We went anyway!

      Have a nice evening!

    • kidscrafts profile image
      Author

      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you very much for your lovely comment, Faith! You will have fun making puppets with your grandchildren! Several times I had grade five and six creating a puppet show (puppets and decors) for the younger children in the school. It was such fun to do! You can see the pride with the kids presenting and the big smiles in the little one :-D

      Enjoy your weekend with your grandchildren!

      Hugs to you too!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Oh that is so cute! Makes me wish I had someone to make it for. But I enjoyed it and sure many here can use it! ^+

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Aw, how delightful!!! I am going to do this with my grand, who will be up for the weekend, all three this time! I remember just loving Lamb Chop growing up LOL. Thank you for this adorable hub! I actually already have a little puppet theatre in their room at my house.

      Up and more and sharing.

      Hugs,

      Faith Reaper

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you for coming, Bill! That's a fantastic dream to have and the children who will be able to use it will be quite lucky! Puppets can be a powerful tool; it gives a voice to the children.

      I taught visual art to grade 7 and 8 for a few years and one year I had my students carved puppets out of wood. The result was just fantastic.

      I love puppets of all kind. My "picture" is a puppet that I created with paper plates :-) I hope that one day I will have time to present more of all those puppets!

      Have a nice evening!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is Bev's big dream, to have a recurring puppet theater for kids. When we move to the country we are going to build her a stage where her dream will become reality. Wonderful activity my friend. Passing this on to Bev and a few teacher friends of mine.

    • kidscrafts profile image
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      kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Thank you Flourish :-) I had fun creating it :-) I think your niece, nephews and yourself will have fun with this one :-)

      Thanks for the vote, pinning and sharing!

      Have a nice evening!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This is adorable! I am going to use this as a craft with my niece and nephews. Voted up and more, pinning and sharing.