Paper Bag Puppets


Art 207-04, Group 4

Amy Arola, Amy Hirsch, Michelle Regalia





1.        Students will learn how to incorporate their hands into their own artwork.

2.        Students will get practice cutting out shapes, gluing, and creating a specific design.

3.        Students will get an opportunity to work with more then just paper and glue, they will get the chance to work with the decorative materials for their hand puppets. (ie: feathers, glitter, pasta shells, markers, crayons, Popsicle sticks, and paper mache, recycled paper, etc.)

4.        Students will practice patience.


Student Materials:


1.        Paper lunch bags

2.        Assorted construction paper

3.        Glue

4.        Scissors

5.        Newspaper

6.        Markers

7.        Decorative Materials (any type)


Teacher Materials:


1.        3A Handbook Of Arts and Crafts2 by: Wankelman, Wigg, and Wigg.

2.        Previous students examples.



Hand Puppet, and decorative materials.




Introduction:  Discuss the historical background of puppets.  Answer any questions the students may have and begin.

1.        Have each child decide what they want to create for their hand puppet.

2.        Together as a class place hands into the bags and make sure each child understands how the puppet will work.  Also point out where the mouth is.

3.        Move onto cutting out the features for the masks, and having them glue them into the paper bag.

4.        Continue decorating the masks with the given materials.

5.        Let dry over night.

Closure:  Hand out the puppets when they are dry and let the kids play with theirs.  Then hang them up in the classroom and discuss.


Comments and Suggestions:


After you show the students how the puppets operate, and where the mouths.  Make sure that while they are making their puppets they do not open and close the mouths and move the paper bags around a lot, or their features that they glued on are going to fall off.  Allow at least forty five minutes to an hour for this activity:  Including setting up and cleaning up. The following day after all the puppets have dried, allow twenty minutes for discussion and free time for the kids to play with their own puppets.

Have Fun!


(See attached page for summary of Kindergarten artistic development and summary of the Cultural and/ or Historical background for this lesson plan.)


The Artistic Development of Kindergartners:


Kindergartners are at the stage in art when they are focusing mostly on making figurers and telling stories about what they are creating.  These years in a young child's life are referred to as the symbolic or schematic stage.  They will usually draw pictures, or create using texture activities images of their: family, friends, animals, etc.  Focusing mostly on making shapes and connecting them together.  They rely heavily on shapes such as squares, circles, ovals, and of course straight lines.  When doing all these first time art-working activities the children are developing their line and shape making skills as well as their muscle coordination in handling various materials such as scissors, glue, modeling clay, etc.


When given an art project kindergartners are always sure to cover the entire piece of work with color.  Although by the time they turn six years old to the age of eight years old they begin to see the realization of space and size of the objects they are creating.  This is when we as teachers have a better chance of guessing what it really is our students are making.  They begin to organize their artwork and show more relationships and connections between objects in their picture/ projects given space.  Some children with flexible and fluent thinking skills will be able to add actions of feelings into their artwork.  For example if they are drawing somebody who is happy they will add a big smile to their picture, or lets say they were trying to show that water was coming out of a hose they would draw the water drops.  Also they may create art with extreme detail, like a girl with painted fingers nails, or a boy with a hat on.


When kindergartners begin at the symbolic stage they usually do not relate color to their artwork.  They may draw a picture of a person with a purple face and green hair, or draw a bright green dog.  In kindergarten they know their colors but are still practicing relating them to real life situations and objects.  Art is very good tool when teaching about color in a classroom.  You can always have the kids point out different colors in their own and other classmatesf artwork.  Ask then questions such as: What color do you see the most in this piece of art?  What color do you see the least?  Why do you think 3 so and so2 used these colors in their artwork?  What colors would you have chosen?  Ask them questions to make them think about the connections between color and real life. Try to relate it to their artwork.  When children are giving the chance over and over again to look at artwork and focus on the color scheme they will soon, unconsciously start to use the correct colors in their own work.


At this stage of development students are able, and enjoy to use their hands, with painting, cutting, pasting, and working with fabrics and yarn.  Here they are getting the chance to work with texture.  When they work with things they can actually touch they relate their work to real life even more so.  This is a great activity for kids, and the paper bag hand masks that we have shown you are a wonderful hand on exercise when it comes to working with texture in your own classroom.


A Brief History of Masks:


Many thousands of years ago, our ancestors were already aware of the power of the mask.  In the south of France, in caves used for religious ceremonies, they made paintings of the animals they hunted, amongst which are the first tentative drawings of people.  In these drawings the figures are shown wearing animal masks.  A hunter, to give himself courage and to get into the spirit of the animal he wished to hunt, would wear the mask of that animal and would enact the scene of the kill he hoped to bring about.  This is still done today amongst some hunting tribes of the world as far as Africa and Alaska.


In ancient Egypt, animal masks were used to represent the spirits of the dead.  In Africa and in the South Pacific islands, masks are still used for this purpose.  The people there believed that the spirits of their dead are very important and, through the power of the mask, can be called upon to help in the growing of crops, in the calling of rain and in protection from enemies and illness.


The ancient Egyptians also made human masks.  These were used in tombs to protect the dead from demons in their after life.  Death masks were used too in the ancient civilizations of China, Mexico, and Peru.


In Sri Lanka, masks represent the spirits of sickness.  Ritual mask dancing drives out these spirits, so the illness may be cured.


Masks were important in the fertility rites of ancient Europe.  These rites were abolished with the coming of Christianity, but the fertility masks are still used in inaccessible areas of Europe such as the mountain villages of Switzerland and Austria.


All over the world, in different cultures and at different times the mask has given people the courage to face the known as well as the unknown forces in their lives.


Reference Page:


Herberholz, D. , & Herberholz, B. (2002).  Artworks for Elementary Teachers.

    New York :  Mc Graw Hill.