Project: Skeleton Esqueleto Puppets
NM Standards: Art, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
1. To understand how puppets can reflect the cultures that
it comes from (historical and cultural understanding.)
2. To name and discuss the characteristics of puppets (perceiving,
analyzing and responding.)
3. To create a skeleton puppet using mixed media (creating
Craft foam or lightweight railroad board approximately 9"
x 12" and subdivided and cut into 4 pieces:
1" x 9" (arms & legs)
1 piece 4" x 9" (body), and
3 pieces 3" x 4" (head, hands & feet)
tacky glue and glue brushes
1/8" wooden dowel - 18" long
sequins, feathers, pom-poms, fabric scraps, buttons, pipe
cleaners, foil or patterned paper, yarn, markers (optional).
Explain that the students will be making skeleton puppets to celebrate Day
of the Dead. What do the students know about Día de Muertos? Do
they observe Day of the Dead? How does the culture that they come from commemorate
the dead? Explain that the students will be making skeleton puppets with human
characteristics. They can make a skeleton puppet to reflect a certain person who
is living or dead or they can invent a new character. The only limits are the
materials that are available and their imaginations.
1. Each student chooses a color of craft foam or railroad
board to work with. Explain the way that the cut pieces
are designated for different body parts. Have the students
lay out their foam pieces accordingly to visualize the skeleton
2. The students refine the body part shapes by drawing on
them with pencil and then cutting away the portions they
do not need.
3. Attach the body parts with paper fasteners, overlapping
the foam pieces and piercing them with the fasteners. Students
can articulate knee, elbow, waist and other joints by cutting
the shapes and then using paper fasteners to attach different
4. When the body has been assembled, use glue to adhere
the decorative elements to the foam.
5. Let dry.
6. Attach at least one dowel to the back of the skeleton
puppet with masking tape. Some students may want to attach
dowels to the hands or feet as well.
Have students bring their puppets to life individually,
Showing how they move, exploring the characteristics and
their features, including their voice.
Organize a student puppet show using the puppets
Have a student led puppet making workshop for other students
in the school.
Extensions and Connections
Students can research historic figures and use their
work as a basis for making puppets. They can use their puppets
to create a related puppet show. (History, Visual and Performing
Students can explore different types of puppets, for example, marionettes,
shadow puppets, giant puppets, finger puppets. They can make different kinds of
puppets and put on a show or use them in a procession. (Visual and Performing
Students can include their puppets in an altar, or ofrenda which is
made for Día de Muertos. (Visual arts, Social Studies)
Day of the Dead
| History of
Day of the Dead |
Day of the Dead | Cut
Paper with Scissors |
Cut Paper with Knife | Ofrendas
| Papel Picado-Cut
Flowers | Extensions
| Vocabulary & Bibliography
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