Narrations 103 Puppets

This is number 3 in my series of Narration posts. (Read the previous posts Jot & Draw and Type & Print)

Many young children love to tell their narrations!

What better way to dynamically retell the story than with


Some of our best puppet shows were spontaneous –

Finger Puppets

The children simply drew outline pictures of the characters from the story.

They stuck a strip of paper to the back of the picture,

wound the paper strip around the finger and taped it closed,

and narrated the story.

Children with a flair for the dramatic include accents and actions.

They swap finger puppets to narrate different characters.

Folded flat, the children pasted their finger puppets on their notebook pages.

Paper Puppets

Our free Aesop lapbook came with paper puppets.

My youngest enjoyed hours of free play with her puppets.


Paper Doll/ Men Puppets

During our Sonlight World History studies we created our paper doll series.

These paper dolls were fun to use in narrations.

Laminated and stiff, the children played out their narrations and stories.

But you could paste the paper doll on a wooden stick and make “proper” puppets!

They provide hours of creativity – coloring in,cutting out, pasting clothing and narrating.

We store ours in clear plastic zipper bags.

Hand Puppets

Our hand puppets have been enormously popular

and have lasted for years!

We made our fist puppet show

Esther Play for Purim

with puppets, backdrops,
props and a full script.

A few years later we updated our puppets,

made new backdrops,

added some animal puppets on sticks

for our new play ~

Nativity Puppet Play

Whether simple and quick,

planned and prepared,

practised or spontaneous,

puppets take centre stage.

They divert attention away from the child

and give the child something to “do” while narrating.

Allow your child the freedom to express their narration in a way that is not always dictated or written.

Try puppets!


Esther Play for Purim

This month is Purim,

a Jewish festival based on the Old Testament book of Esther.

Children dress up and act out Esther plays, celebrate and give gifts.

A few years ago, to celebrate,  we created a full-length puppet show based on the book of Esther.

We created simple hand puppets to make King Xerxes, Esther, her faithful uncle Mordecai and evil Haman.  A servant or two completed our cast.

King Xerxes and Queen Esther

Evil Haman & Queen Vashti

Servants or ordinary men

We painted two backdrops – a palace scene and an Middle Eastern gateway.

Palace Backdrop

Gateway on our white board (We flipped the Palace backdrop picture over the top of the whiteboard)

My children insisted on making  real props, so we made a shoe box into a banquet table and made baker’s clay food which we glued on to a platter, wine jugs and goblets, and some candle sticks.  We baked them and then painted them when they were hard.  They also created a scroll for the law and a gallows with some kebab sticks and string.

Bakers clay props

We hung our backdrops together on a large white board on its stand.  All the puppeteers sat on low chairs behind an easel/ a large box/ or couch.  To change the backdrop, we simply lifted the painting over the top to show the next painting beneath.  We placed the props on a tray in front of the puppets.

We wrote our play in rhyming couplets.  I narrated most the play, but an older child can narrate easily, while the characters acted a few lines.  We read through the play and discussed and chose the characters.  Then we began to learn the script.

Here is an excerpt from the play:


Long, long ago in Media and Persia
Ruled King Xerxes in the city of Susa
For 180 days he held a ball
To show his power and wealth to all.

Xerxes called,

King Xerxes: ( ‘speaks’ to the servant)

“Tell Queen Vashti to come
And tell her wear her royal gown and crown!”

(Servant goes to Queen Vashti and ‘talks’)

She refused and said,

Queen Vashti:

“Oh No!
Tell king Xerxes I will not go!”


This made Xerxes really mad,


“A wife should always make her husband glad!”

Children practiced working their puppets to create life-like actions.  They worked in front of a mirror to see how to make their puppets move.  The most important technique they must learn to face the head of the puppets down so that the audience sitting on the floor can see the faces.  They need to learn to use their fingers to make the arms move realistically and handle the props.

They found it challenging to project their voices, remember their lines and keep their puppets “alive”.  We practiced several times each day for over a week.  We performed our play twice for audiences.  Young children are excellent audiences, laughing and shouting “Boo!” at Haman.

We used Jewish orchestral music for the introduction.

This puppet show works very well as a real play, but I have found that shy children prefer to act via a puppet because they are ‘hidden’ from view.

This year I would like to share it with you.

Here is your free download: 

Esther Play