Lion Paper Bag Puppets for Kids

Getting Started: I like to start the lion paper bag puppet art project by reading Nili Mayer-Oser's book: How Nili's Lion Got His Nose. She beautifully weaves a drawing lesson with a tale of lion's concerns. To order this book see below. Eric Carle's book: Do You Want To Be My Friend? has a beautiful picture of a lion in this book. Students will be delighted with the results of these fun loving lions puppets.

Art Techniques:
Grade: Kg-2
Ages: 5-8

About this project: To familiarize the instructor with puppet making, you might want to look through the book Puppets and Masks by Nan Rump. The art lesson can take two, one hour sessions. Have fun!

Materials needed:
  • White drawing paper (25cm x 35cm)
  • a selection of colored construction paper
  • scissors
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Oil pastels
  • Brown lunch bags
  • White plastic glue

Part 1
  1. Introduce the artist Henri Rousseau. You may want to use the examples of paintings showing animals in the jungle from the book written for children: Getting to know the World's Greatest Artists: Henri Rousseau by Mike Venezia.
  2. Demonstrate drawing the face of a lion in pencil by simplifying each part into simple shapes and forms.
  3. Show how to draw a large oval on the white paper with a smaller oval inside it.
  4. Show how to draw the eyes, the nose and mouth.
  5. Show how to draw in the mane
  6. Demonstrate blending colors
  7. Repeat colors throughout the composition
Part 2
  1. Put hand in brown paper bag so that can open and close the bottom as if it were the mouth of the lion.
  2. Cut out the face and glue to the bottom of the bag.
  3. Cut out colorful strips of paper and glue around the mane.
  4. Draw a tail, color it, cut it out and glue to the backside of the bag.
  5. Draw paws, color, cut and add to the front of the bag.
Save this in a notebook of art lesson plans for children. That's what I do.

Art Therapy Ideas: Most elementary art projects are a great way to start an art therapy session. The lion paper bag puppet is a great way to stimulate a child's imagination. Go over some of the character traits of a lion. Many children have an image of Simba from The Lion King movie. Have your young client speak in first person, and be the lion. How does it feel to be the king of the jungle? Where would he/she like to roam? What sort of adventure would the lion like to go on? Is there anyone the lion is afraid of? What would the lion like to say to other members in his/her family? It would be helpful if the therapist had another animal puppet and used it to create a dialogue. When you have the art piece speak, it's a gestalt art experience. To get more information on this topic, you can to refer to the book by Janie Rhyne called The Gestalt Art Experience: Patterns That Connect.

To order the book by Nili Mayer-Oser, please e-mail: for further information.