One challenge I frequently face when motivating young students to read is keeping their attention for an extended period of time. My 5-year old Kindergarten student in particular starts fidgeting after reading for five minutes straight. To hold her interest in the book, I started to create toothpick paper puppets of the characters in the story. This way, when a character spoke in the story, she was able to act the character out while she read the words. After making puppets, reading became more interactive and fun for her.
The best part of all is that toothpick paper puppets are extremely easy to make (as long as you are decent at drawing cartoon characters)! You’ll need the following materials to make a toothpick paper puppet:
- Construction paper
- Glue stick
- Coloring Materials
- Scissors (optional)
1.) First cut out a small square from your construction paper. Usually I made my squares around 2″ x 2″ since the toothpick is tiny.
2.) Draw your character on the paper square using your coloring materials.
3.) Tape the toothpick to the paper square once you finish drawing. Use glue to reinforce the tape so the paper square stays on better.
4.) Sometimes I would use scissors to cut off the pointy part of the toothpick in case younger children were holding the puppets.
And that’s all it takes! Here are some examples of puppets I made with my students.