One of my goals with my children is to teach them how to entertain themselves. I believe that this skill will not only give them confidence but also show them that we can always make our own fun. And sometimes that fun is just an empty cereal box away!

Materials:

  • one empty cereal box per puppet
  • gluestick
  • a printed picture of a family member's face (about 5" x 8") printed on 8.5" x 11" copy paper
  • some scrap cardboard
  • string
  • hot glue and hot glue gun (optional, adults only!)
  • tape (optional)
  • box cutter (optional, adults only!)
  • scissors

Instructions

  1. Cut the cereal box along one long edge and open it up so you can draw some simple legs and arms on the inside surface. Keep the lines simple.
  2. Cut out the legs and arms and draw the shape of a body (shorts and shirt, a dress) on a large piece of the cardboard.
  3. Print out the picture of your family member on 8.5" x 11" paper. You may need to play around with the size, but it should be bigger in proportion to the body. Cut the face out, then use the glue stick to glue it onto cereal box cardboard. Cut the face, now reinforced with cardboard, out again. Another option would be to print the face on heavy cardstock and eliminate this step.
  4. Using a box cutter (adults only!), cut out the shape of the body of your puppet. Lay the pieces out to see if you need to make any size adjustments. Kids could do those with a pair of scissors, but it might be difficult for them to cut the cardboard accurately.
  5. Color your puppet’s outfit, shoes, etc. (kids will love this part!) before gluing the head, legs, and arms on with hot glue. You could use large paper fasteners instead, so the limbs move. I experimented with this but in the end decided to keep the legs and arms fixed.
  6. Once all the pieces are glued into place, flip your puppet over. Form a loop with the string and attach the two end pieces by glue or tape to the back body of the puppet. The puppet will fall/lean forward if you don't also attach the string to the back of the head.
  7. Your puppet is ready for action! Set up a theater at home to show off your stringed family members.

Caroline Gravino Urdaneta is a designer of creative family projects, a crafter, tinkering painter and mother of four children. She writes about project ideas for the whole family and how to encourage creativity in kids on the popular blog, Salsa Pie.

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  • peg

    This is adorable! Thank you!