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Crafts And Conversation: Paper Bag Owl Puppet With The DUCK Lab

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Get crafty with the DUCK Lab! Each Friday, trained research assistants from the UNCG Psychology Department’s DUCK Lab will guide at-home crafts for children ages 3 to 12. Parents can join too to learn fun facts about crafts that foster age-appropriate skills or learn about the DUCK Lab’s nonprofit child development research projects. 

This Friday, the DUCK Lab invites all school-age friends to join Jessica and make a paper bag owl puppet for play time. Follow along as Jessica takes you through each step and see how a brown paper bag becomes a wise owl!

Parents, did you know?

This craft offers an opportunity for your children to showcase their spatial understanding abilities. Children can also use this craft to put their knowledge about social roles into practice. Read on below for more info. about the connection between these types of activities and age-appropriate developmental milestones.

We also invite you to check out our child development research opportunities, which are now modified for the virtual world! Please click here to learn more or sign up to participate with us.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:


  • 2 sheets of brown construction paper

  • 1 brown paper lunch bag

  • 1 small piece of orange construction paper

  • 2 large googly eyes

  • Craft glue

  • Scissors


  1. Place the bag on the table with the bottom flap on top, facing you.

  2. Cut out two circles from construction paper about the size of a silver dollar and glue them onto the bottom of the bag for the eyelids. Glue the googly eyes to the centers of the circles.

  3. Cut the orange paper into a triangle about the size of a pecan. Glue the orange triangle to the bottom of the bag, below the eyes for the beak. 

  4. Cut two small right triangles from the brown construction paper for the ears. Turn the bag over. Glue the ears so that they are on top, above the eyes and nose.

  5. Cut two wings from the brown construction paper. Turn the bag over. Glue the wings to the sides on the back of the bag.

The DUCK Lab: Paper Bag Owl Puppet

Relation to Developmental Science:

During middle childhood, children increasingly understand there are multiple dimensions of an object to consider when assessing its characteristics. In the case of this craft, the wings are glued to the back of the bag. Younger kids might wonder why you would not just glue the wings on the front with everything else, but older kids will be able to successfully reason that when they use the puppet, the width of the bag will change into a three dimensional shape and the wings should therefore stay behind the owl and on the back of the bag. This reflects their spatial or depth understanding abilities. In middle childhood, children also begin to better understand social roles, which play an important part in how children feel about themselves. One way that children work through their own ideas about social roles is through pretend play. Parents can encourage their child to engage in pretend play after completing the owl puppet, which could allow children to express creativity by assigning traits and behaviors to their owl puppet. While engaging in those actions, children can think about what traits and behaviors are most relevant to whatever role their owl puppet is in. For example, a sociable owl puppet might want to pursue friendships with lots of others, while an independent owl puppet might explore its surroundings without too much company.

*Great for children in middle childhood!

The DUCK Lab is a partner in the nonprofit Child Development Research Center in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. They conduct studies of social and cognitive development with 2- to 12- year-olds. Families who participate in their research studies are volunteers in the Greensboro community who generously offer their time to help support research and training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

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