Jumping Figures

The puppets made in this project are fun to play with, but making them can be tricky for kids and adults alike. Hopefully, the steps below will help make the process easier.


  • Cardstock
  •  Scissors
  • Tape
  • Paper fasteners
  • Thin string
  • Hole punch
  • Markers


1.      Cut out shapes from the cardstock to act as the legs, body with head, and arms of an animal/creature/alien. Decorate with markers.

2.      Punch a hole in each limb where it will be attached to another body part.

3.      Arrange the limbs underneath the body. Attach the limbs and body together by poking paper fasteners through the holes from above and opening the fasteners to lock. Keep the paper fasteners loose, though. The limbs won’t move easily if they are tight.


4.      On the backside of the puppet: tape a piece of string across the top pair of limbs, in this case, the arms. The ends of the string must be taped above the paper fasteners for the puppet to work. The string should not be very loose. Trim to size. Repeat for the legs.

5.      Take one long piece of string. Tie one end to the center of the string connecting the arms. Tie the string again, but this time around the center of the leg-connecting string. Leave the other end hanging down. There is no specific length the string should be. It will all depend on the size of your puppet. However, when the limbs are down, the string connecting the leg and arm strings should not be slack.

6.      To use, hold the puppet from the top and pull the string down. The limbs will move up.



  • Students found this project relatively difficult, and needed help figuring out how to join the pieces of cardstock together.
  • Keep the pieces, especially the limbs, wide. Kids like to cut them so narrow that a hole can’t be punched in them.
  • These instructions are based on a 4-limbed puppet. We found any more made the moving of the limbs particularly difficult.


  • Book: "Get Creative with Paper" by Paul Jackson and Angela A'Court



Magic Story Starter

This may seem like an intimidating project if you've never made a fortune teller, but it is fun. And it's a great way to get kids writing! In case of confusion, we added lots of pictures. Still, if you have trouble, don't feel bad! There are many different tutorials on the internet for more help.


  • Large square pieces of white paper

  • Pencils/markers


  1. Fold paper like a fortune teller. 

1a. Take a piece of paper and fold it in half, corner to corner. Unfold and repeat with the other corners. You will end up with 2 diagonal creases. 

1b. With the paper unfolded back into a square, fold each corner into the center. Do not unfold these. 

1c. Flip over. Fold each corner into the center again.

1d. Fold in half to make creases again. These should be horizontal and vertical, though. 

1e. With the paper open facing up now, slide one hand underneath into the pockets on the bottom. Place your thumb in one pocket, your fingers in another. Do the same with your other hand.  Bring all the points to the middle. 


2. Have the kids write the very beginnings of a story on the outer four squares of the fortune teller (ex: Once upon a time..., Long long ago..., Deep in a forest...).

3. On the middle eight triangles, introduce a main character (ex: there was a little boy..., there was a baby dragon..., there was a beautiful princess…). Number each triangle as well. 

4. Flipping up one of the flaps of the middle layer reveals the final, third layer. On this layer, write an action on each triangle that corresponds to the character on the middle layer triangle above (ex: who walked through a magic door and found himself in..., who was just learning to fly, when..., who picked an enchanted flower that...)

5. To use the story starter, have someone choose a story opening. As you say each word aloud, flap the fortune teller open from side to side. Once for each word. Next, have someone choose a number from the visible triangles. Flap the fortune teller open from side to side however many times the number indicates. Finally, have someone pick another number from the four visible triangles to determine a character. Lift the flap to reveal what the character does. At this point, the kids can write their own stories with the story beginning given. 


  • Letting the kids make up their own characters and actions makes it more fun for everyone!

  • A story could be written as a group or individually. 

Outer squares of the fortune teller: story opening

Middle triangles of the fortune teller: introduction of a main character (we forgot to number them, but you should mark yours)


  • Book: "Handmade Tales: Stories to Make and Take," by Dianne de Las Casas


2-color cutouts


  • Multi-colored paper
  • scissors
  • double stick tape and/or glue sticks


  1. Fold one piece of paper in half any way, corner-to-corner or end-to-end. 

  2. Still folded, fold in half again.

  3. Using scissors, cut out shapes as you would to make snowflake, being mindful to leave the general size of the paper the same. 

  4. Tape or glue the cut out to another piece of paper.

  5. To make a cutout with more than two colors, repeat steps 1-3 and glue each additional layer onto the first paper. 


  • Encourage as much cutting as possible! The more cut out, the more interesting the final product will be.

  • This is a great way to teach kids about complimentary colors.

3-color cutout

3-color cutout