Your kiddo has a passion for telling stories. From the awesomely imaginative way they describe how a dinosaur stomped through the playroom and scattered all of the toys across the floor to the fabulously fantastic reasons they give you for staying awake at night (because the “wake-up fairy” sprinkled no-sleep sparkle powder on their eyes), your child is telling tales in completely complex ways – especially for their age.
Channel this love for pretend play, and get artsy too, with a playful puppet pal. That’s right, your creative kid can make their own puppets, build a stage and DIY a super-special show. Don’t stress if you’re not exactly a trained puppeteer. Check out these easy art and acting activities that will give your kiddo hours and hours of puppet play fun!
Turn a plain old lunch-sized paper bag into a new puppet friend. How? Start by creating a character. Your child can choose a favorite creature or person from a book, movie or TV show. Or, they can make-up their own.
Gather together these materials:
Now your child is ready to start crafting…
Again, have your child pick a character – or two. You’ll need the same supplies for this puppet-making craft as you would for the paper bag version. But, here you’ll need to swap out the bag for a sock.
Just like the bag puppet, have your child draw on the top of the sock. Make a face, and then add yarn hair.
This is a super-simple puppet craft. It’s easy enough that toddlers can even try it! Here’s what you’ll need:
After gathering the materials, it’s time to get crafting!
Before putting on a puppet show, your child needs a theater. Cut the top and the back off of a large-sized cardboard box. Reuse an appliance or moving box for this craft. Your child can get creative and color the outside of the box with markers and crayons.
Position the box so your child can hide behind it, holding the puppets above the top. If you’re into woodworking, you (that is you, the adult, and not your child) can create a frame that fits around the box and extends up at least three feet above the top of the ‘stage’. Hang curtains from the top and separate them for the pretend play show.
The puppets are made and the stage is set – now it’s time for the show! Keep in mind, just because your child has already created characters doesn’t mean they can’t use the puppets over and over again for different stories. Let’s say your little artist made Goldilocks and the Three Bears. They can reuse the bears in a different animal tale or turn Goldilocks into a different ‘girl character’.
There are a few different options when it comes to putting on a play. Your child can invite friends or siblings to help out and play other character roles or they can make different voices for a one-child show.
What would make your child’s puppet play even better? Capturing it as a keepsake. Take a video and a few pictures to create a book that you can save for the memories or use for story-time. Take the picture book out and have your child point to the images and retell the play’s tale.