This week, the Wellington County Museum is hosting Puppets Elora for their Summer Pleasures program. In honour of that, and the fact that puppet basket at our house has been getting a workout while we hide inside during the hot afternoons, I thought I would post some resources for exploring the world of puppets with your kids.
Some of the simplest puppets are made from paper bags. They are simple enough for even the youngest of kids to create a fun toy. Enchanted Learning has some some suggestions for various animal puppets made from paper bags.
Puppets made from wooden spoons are also simple to do and a bit more durable. You can often everything you need at the dollar store which sells packs of 3 wooden spoons, googly eyes and craft foam inexpensively.
These are sweet felted finger puppets and summer is a great time to try wet felting. Roving of various colours can be purchased relatively inexpensively through Wellington Fibres. Please call before you head out, to make sure they are open during the summer. If you are lucky you might get a chance to peek in on the goats.
A simple puppet can be made by tracing a hand onto 2 pieces of fabric and sewing them together. These are lovely felt bunny puppets, or you could use plain white fabric and have kids draw the features on using fabric markers.
The Guelph Public Library has some great puppet making resources.
Making make-believe : fun props, costumes, and creative play ideas by MaryAnn F. Kohl.
Explore the world of make-believe with fun & easy-to-make props & costumes. This book offers storybook play, games, cooking, mini-plays, play zones, dress-up costumes, puppet ideas, & more to enrich children’s play.
Puppets by Susie Hodge.
Explains how to make a variety of puppets, including finger, sock, hand, spoon, jumping, shadow, and string (marionette).
Puppet mania! by John E. Kennedy.
Springboard your imagination on a fantastic puppet-making adventure! With this book you’ll have loads of fun discovering new creative skills as renowned puppeteer John Kennedy guides each entertaining project with straightforward instructions using easy-to-find materials. Whether you’re a kid, a parent, or an adult of any age, you’ll learn to make 13 cool puppets. John Kennedy also teaches you how to bring your creations to life. Each character will take on its own personality through lip-synching, body movement, eye contact, and your imagination!
Puppet planet by John E. Kennedy.
There’s a whole new world of puppets out there! In Puppet Planet , John Kennedy offers you the insight, tips and trade secrets that only a professional puppeteer can. Learn how to make 12 brand new puppets, then learn how to perform with them! Discover professional staging techniques, as well as ways to make the puppets come alive for your audience. Look inside to: Create the muscle laden, but amazingly soft, Stuffed Strongman Craft the delightfully sweet Pillow Buddy Build Professor Foaman, the smartest puppet on Puppet Planet Make the Shoe Box Monster, a fellow with a surprise hidden inside Plus so much more! With variations for every puppet, tips, new techniques, complete material lists and easy to use patterns, you’ll be ready to perform in no time! Peer behind the curtain with Puppet Planet and discover a world waiting to delight, amaze and thrill.
And of course Pinochio or the Muppets would be wonderful inspiration.