Puppet Theatre Lesson Plan

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

If your class is learning about drama, this lesson introduces students to puppet theater. Students will create a brochure about an aspect of puppetry, create their own puppet, and use puppets to act out a scene from a novel, story, or play.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify the genres of plays performed in puppet theater
  • Identify and describe the different types of puppets
  • Identify famous puppets, puppet shows, and puppeteers


2+ hours (additional time for extension activity)

Curriculum Standards


Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem


Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.


  • puppetry
  • Famous Puppets/Puppet Shows: Punch and Judy, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show
  • Famous Puppeteers: Thomas Holden, Uemura Bunrakuken, Count Franz Pocci, Jim Henson
  • Types of puppets: hand puppets, glove puppets, rod puppets, marionettes, shadow figures, bunraku, finger puppets


  • Pictures of puppets and puppet theaters
  • Pictures and/or video clips of types of plays/performances in the puppet theater
  • Physical examples and/or video clips and pictures of different puppet types
  • Video clips of famous puppet shows
  • Puppet-making materials (socks, buttons, dowel rods, construction paper, yarn, sewing tools, glue, fabric, clay, newspaper, modge podge, paint, popsicle sticks, etc.)
  • Tablecloth
  • Blank paper
  • Pencils
  • Colored pencils and/or markers


Characteristics of Puppet Theater

  • Ask the students to discuss any puppet shows they have seen. Inform the students that they will be learning about puppet theater.
  • Define the word 'puppetry' and discuss the characteristics of puppets while showing the students different pictures of puppets and puppet theaters.
  • Show the students pictures or video clips of different types of plays and performances found in the puppet theater including:
    • Folk tales
    • Fairy tales
    • Comedies
    • Bible stories or other religious tales
    • Greek and Roman tragedies and heroic tales
    • Political/social satire
  • Discuss how puppet theater was initially a form of adult entertainment until the 20th century when it primarily became a form of childhood entertainment.
  • Discuss the following questions with the students:
    • Which type of play or performance would you most like to see in a puppet theater? Why?
    • What did all of these types of performances seem to have in common?
    • Why do you think puppet shows transitioned from being a form of adult entertainment to children's entertainment?

Types of Puppets

  • Show the students actual examples and/or video clips and pictures of the following types of puppets. Discuss the characteristics of each type of puppet:
    • Hand puppet
    • Glove puppet
    • Rod puppet
    • Marionette
    • Shadow figures
    • Bunraku
    • Finger puppets
  • Discuss the following questions with the students:
    • Have you seen any of these puppets perform? Which ones?
    • If you were a puppeteer, which one would you like to work with? Why?
    • What types of puppets would you use for the various genres of plays and performances we discussed at the beginning of the lesson?

Famous Puppets/Puppet Shows

  • Discuss the contributions of the following puppeteers to the world of puppetry:
    • Thomas Holden (marionettes)
    • Uemura Bunrakuken (bunraku)
    • Count Franz Pocci (first to use puppet theater for children)
    • Jim Henson (creator of popular televised puppet shows)
    • Show the students video clips of the following famous puppet shows. Discuss the characteristics of each and what made them popular:
    • Punch and Judy
    • Sesame Street
    • The Muppet Show
  • Discuss the following questions with the students:
    • Name a famous puppeteer. How did they contribute to the world of puppetry?
    • What other famous puppet shows can you think of?

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