Raya the Last Dragon’s opening sequence is eye-catching and definitely
one of my favorite visual scenes from the animation. Raya explains the
storyline where humans and dragons existed harmoniously until an evil
force invaded the land. The beautiful southeast Asian-inspired shadow
puppetry comes alive with flying dragons and brave humans merging together to fight off evil spirits. The artistic medium looks simplistic but is a powerful form of storytelling. It’s especially an imaginative form of expression for children. A fond memory comes to mind of when my daughter and I would make hand shadow puppets then capture these designs with construction paper.
Shadow puppets are a perfect method to extend literacy for children
and adults alike. This art form is perfect for all skill levels. All
you need are a few materials to create a puppet show at home-
construction paper, dowels (popsicle sticks or pipe cleaners), scissors, tape,
a light source, and imagination! If you are comfortable with an Exacto
knife, practice cutting out detailed, intricate designs.
I’d even suggest your kids drawing out their shapes of their favorite
characters directly on the cardstock to take this project to the next
But don’t worry, I drew an outline of Raya as well as Sisu, the last
Dragon from Raya.
Print out the templates here.
Tape a template onto a piece of black construction paper or cardstock
and trace around it. Then cut out the shape.
Tape a dowel, straw, or a popsicle stick onto the back of the shadow puppet.
Grab a flashlight (we used the flashlight from our phone) and light behind your puppets and onto a wall to create your shadow puppet theater!
Raya and the Last Dragon will debut simultaneously on Disney+ Premier Access and in theatres on March 5, 2021.