Can a puppet show still be cool enough for a bit older audience? Yes, it can! Shadow puppet shows at least. Take a look at [a preview of] what Austin Rising School elementary students put together with a projector, framed screen, and some tediously cut out characters.
This is only a preview. Give us a comment if you want to see the entire 8 min story about the Kitsune!
Projector - Old School Style
By using colored celephane or translucent sheets, the projector casts the light for the shadows across the screen.
Framed Screen - This can be bought or made easily. To have a large enough 'show' area, the frame would need to be around 4' X 2.5'. Have a frame with legs to stand straight vertically. For the screen material, a nice thick or thin paper would work great. A white cloth would stand up to more wear and tear
Cut-outs - Now we bring out the scissors. The ARS elementary group each cut out their own character, and used some of the colored celephane to accentuate their creatures or creations.
Thin but sturdy card stock or poster board (for cut-outs).
Sticks - These would be taped/glued onto the cut-outs for the puppeting of the characters.
I think that covers it. I am sure there are many more articles and videos out there for better instructions. But this will get you started.
Hope you have enjoyed!