- The Creative Power of Puppetry
The Creative Power of Puppetry
Let’s play a quick game! I’m thinking of a puppet character that’s a blue fuzzy monster, with two big googly eyes…usually seen with a cookie or two – What’s his name?
Now try this one…This puppet is an old white sock with bottle cap eyes, pom pom ears, and fuzzy eye brows?…What’s his name?
Well, that’s up to your children and whatever their imagination holds! These fun sock puppets take creative role playing on a one-of-a-kind adventure!
The best part of the project is that these puppets are not character specific, therefore your child’s play isn’t limited to what a television show puppet might say or do. After reading Susan Linn’s, “The Case for Make Believe,” I was quite curious to introduce puppetry into my children’s creative play time!
The Puppet Project
To get started you’ll need the following items:
• Socks–old, new, hole in toe….
• Felt–black, red (other colors optional)
• Eyes–large googly and/or 1 1/2″ smooth foam balls
• Felt circle stickers
• Hot glue gun
• Cardboard (I used a pizza box…any cardboard lying around the house will do!)
• Pom Poms to use for nose
• Craft fur (used for hair, mustache, beard, etc.)
• Accessories of choice
I spent under $12.00 at Jo-Ann’s and we made five puppets. I used things I had here as well. I mostly had to buy new felt, googly eyes and the materials for the muppet type eyes, and the craft hair. We didn’t buy new socks either, so this project can be really inexpensive. Under $3.00 per puppet I would say.
Making the Sock Puppet Mouth
I found an easy to follow puppet mouth pattern via Danielle’s Place! Print out the mouth pattern and cut out the shape from cardboard such as cardboard from a cereal box or cardboard that is a little thicker. Fold the mouthpiece in half.
Note: I found using a lighter cardboard for little hands makes it easier for them to manipulate the mouth!
Follow websites instructions and picture guides to cut the sock to cardboard size.
Note: Feel free to alter size of mouth. I liked this size mouth for little hands. It fits nicely into a women’s size sock.
Gluing the Mouth
Fold open the toe end of the sock and the cardboard mouthpiece. The mouthpiece should be lying on top of the sock with the top toe end of the sock folded up. Place a drop of hot melt glue in the center of the lower edge of the mouthpiece, (parents will need to help younger children with this.)
Pull the edge of the sock material over the edge of the cardboard piece and press it in place being careful not to burn yourself. Place another dot of glue on the top edge of the mouthpiece and pull the edge of the sock over the mouthpiece and press down. Place glue all the way around the edge of the mouthpiece a little bit at a time pulling the sock material over the mouthpiece and pressing it down as you go.
A Little Felt
Cut another mouthpiece out of black felt to cover over the cardboard mouthpiece and cover the edge of the sock just a little. Does it fit? Great, glue it down and voila you have a mouth!
Add in a Little Red
Cut out the tongue out of red or pink felt. Using the provided mouth template, draw a black line with marker halfway down the middle and glue onto bottom section of mouth near the crease.
Note: I found a 1″ by 1″ size square piece trimmed into a heart with rounded bottom made a nice size tongue.
Eye Popping Additions
Use googly eyes to give great character to a puppet. I found that the kids really liked the classic “Jim Henson” style eyes the most.
To make the “Jim Henson” style eyes you will need to cut a smooth foam ball in half with scissors. I found that the longer scissor blades work best. Then, choose your eyeball size using the felt circles and stick on.
Note: Because of the size of the foam ball and the use of scissors, it is best that a parent does the cutting.
Making the head
You can leave the head as is or stuff it using scraps of felt or fabric. If stuffing the head, place fingers sandwiched between stuffing and top of cardboard in order to manipulate the mouth.
Accessorizing Your Sock Puppet
Here’s where your child’s puppet comes to life! Layout fun accessories like feathers, foam shapes, beads, buttons, etc. and watch as your children’s creative imaginations glow.
The creative role playing was endless with our puppetry project. For one thing, it’s portable! It entertains on car rides and turns waiting into play – and as any parent knows, that is a lifesaver when waiting in a doctor’s office.
Another thing that I love about puppetry is that it has no limits in age or gender. From infants to school age and even adults, a puppet shows it has no limits in its imaginative power and creative play.
A homemade puppet, specifically, is it’s owner’s voice. A child playing with a simple, fantasy creature gets to exercise imagination by creating the character, including picking its age, gender, voice, personality and movements, and even its species.
Special Needs Mention
Another great thing about puppetry is that there are many kinds of puppet styles that can be created. Hand puppets to finger puppets, they can be designed to meet your child’s needs, be it age or physical abilities. Creative role playing has no limitations and puppetry can be both a gift of play and expression!
*For more puppet designs check out, “How to Make Puppets with Children.”