Under the Sea Cardboard Puppet Theater

Cardboard Puppet Theater

It’s hard for me to believe that another school year has just ended and summer is here. Finding fun crafts and activities during the summer that keep the kids busy (beyond five minutes) is challenging to say the least. The good news is that you don’t need to spend any money to peak a child’s curiosity and creativity and you may not realize that you already have everything you need for hours of fun.

We used a large cardboard box, gift wrap paper tubes, poster board and some old paint to create our “Under the Sea” puppet theater. My 7 year-old daughter Bella loves anything to do with the ocean (especially mermaids), so together we decided to create a venue for imaginary ocean play. The great thing about this basic cardboard theater is that it can be designed to suit your child’s own interest. Maybe a “Land of the Lost Theater” with a mountain instead of waves and dinosaur puppets, “Under the Big Top” for circus play, or “The Enchanted Castle Theater” for princess puppets. So many fun possibilities!

This project was so easy and my daughter and her friends Molly and Zoe had so much fun in helping us create the theater and the stick puppets. In fact, the imaginary play began the second we started drawing the puppets. Guaranteed summer create fun!

If you’re interested in doing this project with your child, here are the instructions:

To make the basic cardboard puppet theater:

1) Start with a large cardboard box and cut the sides of the box off leaving a long rectangular piece.

2) For the waves, draw and cut out waves on poster board or cardboard and glue them with spray adhesive at the top of the large rectangular cardboard piece. (If you want to create a dinosaur theme, think about making a mountain instead of waves. For princess play, consider creating a castle instead of waves).

3) Spray paint the bottom cardboard piece and waves.

4) Stand the cardboard base up and fold in the corners and generously hot glue two gift wrap tubes to the upper backside corners of the base of the theater. Be sure and hot glue the sides of the tubes as well, which will hold the sides of the cardboard base in place.

5) Hot glue a narrow, long rectangular piece (your theater top sign) of cardboard to the top of the gift wrap tubes (in the corners, and wrap the cardboard around and glue the sides as well for the sign and top of the theater.

6) Hot glue fabric at the bottom of the sign and tie back for theater curtains.

We had a lot of fun decorating our theater with raffia and starfish and we created our sign on the computer and glued to the top.

How to make three dimensional puppets:

1) Have your child draw and color their puppet design on any kind of paper.

2) Place another piece of paper under your child’s design and cut out the puppet and the 2nd piece of paper at the same time.

3) Staple the edges of the puppet and the 2nd piece of paper half way around the design and then stuff the inside with cotton balls.

4) Continue stapling around the edges and filling with cotton balls until you are finished.

5) Hot glue the backside of the puppet to a paint stir stick.

Finding fun things for your kids to do this summer doesn’t have to cost anything. Sparking a child’s imagination and creativity can be as simple as a cardboard box, gift wrap tubes and paper puppets. Getting them started is all they need! Enjoy your summer and have fun!

I have several fun projects almost ready for posting, so check back soon. Thank you so much for your sweet comments, emails and notes, I so appreciate your feedback. Have a fantastic day friends!


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5 Responses to Under the Sea Cardboard Puppet Theater

  1. Such a great idea! I have a big box in my garage right now perfect for this. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Jacqueline says:

    I love the puppet theater, I'll have to find some cardboard and make one for my boys.

  3. Dacia says:

    How fun! What a great idea for kids. Love it!

  4. Shoregirl says:

    What a great idea — thanks for sharing details with us…..I may attempt something like this for our VBS this year – only in a Western theme!

  5. okay, that is just beyond cool! Your daughter has the best mom!

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