Playing with puppets is a wonderful way for children to express themselves. Here’s how to make your own puppets at home.
Playing with puppets can help your child express themselves and be more creative.
Puppets have the potential to instill a love of drama, inspire speech, and improve your child’s communication. There are also a number of motor skills that children can improve through playing with puppets.
The fine movement required to wear a puppet helps with dexterity and using fingers to manipulate the puppet improves fine motor coordination.
Having a collection of different puppets doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune.
Fiona Lohrenz, the founder of a childcare website that offers articles and resources for child care providers and parents (www.childcareonly.com), shows us how to make DIY puppets at home.
How to make hand puppets
These resemble a three-fingered glove comprising a fabric body with a hole for each arm and one for the head. Simply trace around a child’s hand for size and use a small, light ball, foam, or polystyrene ball for the head. Cut a hole in the ball to accommodate fingers and encase the ball in fabric so you can stitch or draw a face and hair. You can go wild with the fabrics you use for the body and have detachable features so that one puppet can be many characters.
How to make stick puppets
A stick puppet is easily made using a piece of wood with a head stuck on top. Painted or detachable features can again be used on the simple wooden ball otherwise known as the head. A piece of fabric, with holes for arms, can quickly be transformed into a magnificent cloak. A wooden spoon enveloped in just such a cloak can often double for a stick puppet should you be against the clock.
How to make animal puppets
Attaching obvious animal features to an old sock is an easy way to make animal puppets. Whiskers and beady eyes make something rodent-like, while felt ears and a trunk generally denotes an elephant (let your imagination run wild!). Recycle old stuffed or vinyl animals by cutting off the head for use as a puppet or removing the stuffing.
How to make finger puppets
Stretchy fabric covering a small bead or piece of foam will suffice for these puppets. A cape-style tunic is the body with a pipe cleaner running through the sleeves functioning as arms. The fabric of the head should be securely stitched to the cape. The success of a finger puppet is in the details, the tiny features and accessories make each one special. Use an arch on top of a table or the window of a playhouse, complete with curtains, as a theatre or stage upon which your puppet ensemble can strut its stuff. Enjoy the show!