Family Activity Inspired by Giacomo Balla's Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, 1912

Giacomo Balla, an Italian painter, art teacher, and poet, created this amusing study of a lively little dog and the quick steps of his or her owner in 1912, while visiting one of his students. Balla was known as a Futurist—a group of artists whose work explored light, movement, and speed.

In this moderately easy Family Activity, we'll walk you through how to make a moving stick puppet inspired by Balla's Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash, 1912.

Giacomo Balla (Italian, 1871–1958). Dinamismo di un cane al guinzaglio (Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash), 1912. Oil on canvas, 35 3/8 x 43 1/4 inches (89.9 x 109.9 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear and Gift of George F. Goodyear, 1964 (1964:16). © Estate of Giacomo Balla / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Getting Started

  • Why do you think the feet of the woman, the leash, and parts of the dog’s body are all blurred and repeated?
  • What do you notice about the background?
  • Where do you think this dog and owner are going?


  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Brads or paper fasteners (you will need 3)
  • Marker pens
  • Popsicle stick
  • Sticky tape
  • Glue stick

Artmaking Activity

1. Print out this template of a dog. Thin cardstock works best, but if you don’t have it, you can glue your paper template to the side of a cereal carton to make the paper stiffer. (If you don't have a printer, you can try drawing the shapes on a piece of cardstock.)

2. Cut out the individual pieces.

3. Use marker pens to color in the pieces. Get creative with your colors!

4. Next, take the tail, then place the back leg behind, and line the pieces up with the X at the back of the dog’s body. Get your first brad and push it through all three pieces of paper (photo 1, below). Make sure the brad goes through the middle of each X on the tail, the leg, and the body (photos 2 and 3, below). Bend the legs of the paper fastener back to secure (photo 4, below).

5. Follow the same method above to attach and secure the front leg and the ear.

6. Finally attach your puppet to the stick and get ready to play. Woof!

As a follow-up activity, make a puppet of a person to take your dog for a walk, or design a background for your dog to play in.

Optional: Share your creation on Twitter or Instagram with #AKBeyondWalls and #MuseumFromHome!


Background: the area or scenery behind the main object

Dynamism: suggesting movement and energy