There are some shadow puppet masters so advanced that they can make practically any animal with just their two hands. You might not be at quite that level, but there are many animals you and Baby can make with relatively simple hands shapes. Grab a dark room and a flashlight and create your own little shadow zoo!
- Butterfly: One of the easiest shadow puppets to make and teach Baby is the butterfly. Simply cross your arms, hook your thumbs together with your palms facing you, and flap your hands! With some maneuvering, you can also get this puppet to look like a bird.
- Snail: Unlike the butterfly, the snail is not formed with symmetrical shapes. Your left palm (or right, it doesn’t really matter) will be vertical, with your fingers stretching toward the sky. Stick your thumb out a little to the front (that’s the snail’s head), and stretch your index finger back (that finger separated from the others will form the snail’s antennas). Make a fist with your other hand and place it on your wrist, forming the snail’s shell.
- Dog: There are some different modifications you can make to the standard dog puppet, which works by placing your palms together, crossing your thumbs to make two little ears, and dropping your pinkies to make a mouth. The rest of your fingers will form something of a nose. You could modify this slightly by curling each of your index fingers back to create a ridge for the dog’s eyes or by using one just one hand and bending the top of your index finger back. This will look pretty good, but you might end up with a hand cramp.
- Duck: This one is kind of fancy because you get to create an eye! Make your index finger parallel to your thumb, both lying straight. Then take the rest of your fingers and curve them into a semicircle, supported by resting your middle finger on your index finger. Bring your thumb and index fingers together, and you’ve got a talking duck!
- Miscellaneous hand person: Not everyone has the hand contortionist gene. If more complex animals are hard for you or Baby, you can always fall back to the tried-and-true hand person. Bring your four fingers together in a flat row, keep your thumb underneath them, and move your fingers apart and together to create a “talking” motion. Your miscellaneous hand person can talk to Baby‘s miscellaneous hand person all day.