Activity: Brown Bear Shadow Puppet Show


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is such a gorgeous book but for a bit of fun and diverse story-telling try creating some silhouette puppets, and putting on a shadow puppet show.

Once you have created your silhouette puppets, they have many uses. This is how we used them:

  • My daughter knows the story well, so to demonstrate how to create a puppet show, she read the book/narrated the story while I re-enacted the story with the puppets.
  • We swapped roles. I read the story while my daughter found each of the appropriate puppets and put on the puppet show. This was great for colour and animal recognition.
  • We worked together to put on a puppet show for daddy.
  • We played guessing games. Taking turns, we held each puppet behind the sheet and said ‘What could this be?’ To help us, we talked about various animal features.
  • Because we created coloured puppets you could also put on a show without shadows.

Books that inspired this activity:

Published by Puffin Books

Published by Walker Books

Our background story:

Our idea to turn Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? into a shadow puppet show came about via a number of reasons:

  • Like most children my daughter’s enjoyment of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was instantaneous. It’s a book she enjoys listening to and one she confidently attempts to read on her own.
  • More recently we have borrowed a book from the library which my daughter has become fascinated with, The Foggy Foggy Forest. The illustrations for The Foggy Foggy Forest are printed on acetate-style paper so from the front-side of the page you can see a silhouette. On the front-side of each page the reader is asked “What could this be in the foggy foggy forest?” Upon turning the page, the reader sees the actual illustration on the reverse side of the page. My daughter enjoys the guessing that takes place before we turn each page.
  • The two stories are similar in that there is repetitive text and questioning throughout the story and the page turns are a crucial element to the book.
  • Our house is filled with down lights, so now that winter is here the lights come on a little earlier and create shadows on every wall. Shadows have become a concept that has intrigued my daughter.

You will need:

  • Home-made silhouette puppets of each character in the book
  • A clothes horse (or similar)
  • A white sheet
  • A sun filled room (or a torch)

Our approach:

1. Using tracing paper to assist us, we traced each character from the book onto coloured cardstock (As my daughter was unable to help me with this part of the task, due to her age, it was a little time consuming. If you prefer you could print out some generic animal pictures instead).

2. We attached icypole sticks to create puppets

3. We draped a white sheet over our clothes horse and placed it in front of our floor to ceiling windows

4. This became our stage

5. Placing the puppets behind the sheet created our shadows

6. And our puppet show began

If you love Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? as much as we do then you must check out some other wonderful reading activities at An Amazing Child. We particularly like the ‘I Spy’ bags.

Activity: Brown Bear Shadow Puppet Show


  1. Gorgeous Jackie, my girls would love this too. We have some puppets that seem to do a lot of tickling and screech ‘hello, hello’ but think it’s time to broaden their repoirtaire a little (the puppets, I mean!). How cute is that photo of the puppet master with her little legs sticking out from under the sheet?

  2. Excuse my spelling… on a sugar high from birthday preparations so can’t think straight…

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Activity: Brown Bear Shadow Puppet Show

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