Shadow Play


Have you ever used your hands and a flashlight to make shadow puppets on a wall? Shadow play, also called shadow puppetry, is an ancient tradition. It has long been used for storytelling and entertainment in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Indonesia. What a great way to have some fun, especially if you’re a kid who can’t afford a lot of toys — using your hands and telling a story doesn’t cost a thing!


Make shadow puppets and a theater to perform a story for family and friends.

For the theater:

  1. Adult help needed. Cut off the back side of an empty cardboard box.
  2. Cut a square out of the front of the box.
  3. Decorate the box with Asia-inspired patterns. 
  4. Tape or glue a sheet of tissue paper or wax paper behind the front side of the box.

Two Kids, a Prayer and a Goat

Performing a shadow play is a fun way to practice a skill that many leaders have: speaking in front of other people. Gather your family or friends in a room and turn down the lights. Set your puppet theater on a table and shine a desktop lamp through from behind. By yourself or with a sibling or parent, put on your play! Move your shadow puppets through the back of the box as you act out the script (or write your own). Try different voices for different characters!

Characters in this play


Download puppet templates here!

Printable: Shadow Play Puppet Shapes Download Print
Printable: "Two Kids, a Prayer and a Goat" Script Download Print

Narrator: Thank you for coming to the Shadow Puppet Theater! Please enjoy this performance of “Two Kids, a Prayer and a Goat.”

Once upon a time in Indonesia lived a brother and sister named Tatu and Marta. They were lying down on their sleeping mat at home one night.

Tatu: “Marta, I’m hungry again. It’s hard to pay attention in school when we don’t get enough food to eat.”

Marta: “I’m sorry, Tatu. I feel hungry too. But I know we can trust God! God is good all the time, even when we are hungry. Let’s say a prayer to thank him for all he does for us and ask for help.”

Tatu: “Thank you, God, for this sleeping mat and blanket. I know you are good all the time.”

Marta: “Thank you, Father, for our family and church. We go to bed hungry many nights. As you know, our family’s crops aren’t growing much, and we can’t afford the food at the market. Will you please help fill our tummies? We want to grow up big and strong.”

Tatu: “We trust you and love you. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.”

Narrator: That weekend, Tatu walked Marta down a dirt road toward the church where they went for Compassion activities. The sun was high in the sky. As they got closer to the church, they saw their teacher, Ms. Imelda, running toward them.

Ms. Imelda: Hi, kids! I have great news for you today! 

Tatu and Marta: What is it? What is it?

Ms. Imelda: Your sponsor sent some extra money as a family gift. We used it to buy two goats and some vegetable seeds for your family. This is so important!

Marta: Great! But … what’s so important about goats?

Ms. Imelda: These goats will give your family milk to drink and fertilizer to help your food crops grow. And soon you might have even more goats to sell for money!

Tatu: This is the answer to our prayers! 

Marta: Hooray! Praise Jesus! Oh, look! Here come the goats now!

Narrator: Two months later, Tatu and Marta were playing in their yard. Their bellies were full of milk and porridge from their Compassion center. Then they noticed something: A new sprout growing up from the ground. 

It wasn’t long before they had new vegetables and fruits to eat. God had answered their prayers, and they no longer went to bed hungry!  

The end! Thank you for coming to this performance by the Shadow Puppet Theater!