Damsels and Dragons

One of my earliest shadow puppets was Sir James, inspired by a dear friend whom I liked to tease with his notions about chivalry and gender roles. Dreaming of rescuing damsels in distress, Sir James had his debut in my son’s first grade class on Valentine’s Day, where he failed to win a princess’s heart but managed to steal a kiss from the teacher instead.

Shadow screen showing a teacher kissing a puppet knight projected from overhead projector
The original Sir James kissed by my son’s first grade teacher

The following puppets are available to download from the Printable Library under the section “Folk and Fairy Tales.”  They can also be dowloaded directly by clicking the links below:

Not surprisingly, my cutouts of the knight and dragon have traditionally been most favored by boys, while the princess and the unicorn were most popular with girls.

Feel free to let children play around with traditional roles: let the princess fight the dragon, make the knight dance with the jester, or let him tame rather than slay the dragon, and have all characters go for a ride on the dragon and the unicorn!

Helene van Rossum

Author: Helene at Past Times

Helene is the founder of Past Times and a crafter, archivist, and children’s book author. Her passion is bringing history to life for children, classrooms, and families through imagination and play.

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  • Hello,
    I am a Primary English teacher in Spain . I teach in grades 1 and 2
    Now, due the global situation of emergency, I am teaching from home
    After Easter holidays we are celebrating Saint George and I thing making shadow puppets could be a great activity if a get the printables
    best wishes

    • Hello Maite, what a great idea to use the puppets for the story of Saint George and the Dragon! You can download the printables listed in this blog post directly from the Printable Library under Folk and Fairy Tales . I will provide direct links to the patterns to make it more clear. Thank you, and stay safe and well!

  • Im from Canary Islands.
    I really like your ideas.
    Im starting in puppetry.
    And i like all didactic stuff that i. can use.
    I Hope i can use all your shadows And begin my own work.
    Thanks for sharing

    • I’m glad that my instructions are useful for you! That’s why I put instructions and patterns online, to share the joy and help people do it themselves. Good luck!