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Puppets and Puppet shows have been around for a long time. Some of the earliest puppets have been dated back to ancient Egypt. Puppets were also popular in 18th century Japan and China (kids.britannica).

There are several kinds of puppetry shadow puppets which were and are popular in Asia. Bunraku which are life size puppets with elaborate costumes that are moved around by up to 3 handlers that appear on stage with them first appeared in ancient Japan and this is still a respected art form in Japan today. 

Popular all over Europe in medieval times were the Punch and Judy puppets that were marionettes (they had strings to pull on to make them move around. They then became hand puppets which allowed the puppets to be able to hold onto things. These new hand puppets were popular in TV shows in the US in the 1950’s when Sherry Lewis and her puppet Lambchop had their own show (kids.britannica).

The most well known puppeteer in the US is the late Jim Henson who brought Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy to the screen in the Muppet Show (kids.britannica).

Sesame Street also features a lot of puppets as well. Some are life sized like Big Bird and Snuffleupagus. Others are smaller like Slimy, Oscar the Grouch’s pet worm. (muppet fandom)  I have a couple of favorites: From Sesame Street I am a fan of the Martians or as they are sometimes called the Yip Yips, and from the Muppet Dr. Teeth (from the Muppet Band the Electric Mayhem). Who are your favorites?

Now let’s create our own sock puppets!

Supplies:

  • Sock (the wilder the print the better, plain colors work too)

  • Googlie Eyes

  • Ribbon or Felt

  • Yarn

  • Scissors

  • Glue

Directions

Step 1: Put  the sock on your hand. The heel of the sock should be on the top of your hand. Then push the toe of the sock in.

Librarian Tip: Remove the sock from your hand prior to gluing anything on.

Step 2: Glue on your googlie eyes (I used a glue gun but regular glue works as well).

Step 3: Cut several pieces of yarn to make hair for your puppet.

Step 4: Carefully glue the hair on your puppet.

Step 5: Use your ribbon or felt to create a tongue or hair bow for your puppet. Open the mouth to carefully glue in a tongue ( you still need to be able to open and close the puppet’s mouth).

Librarian Tip: Get as creative as you want! Add a nose or even eyebrows, the sky’s the limit!

Step 6: Let your puppet’s glue dry/set up 

Step 7: Have Fun with your new friend!

Books in Our Catalog

10 Minute Puppets by Noel MacNeal

Presents step-by-step instructions for creating thirty puppets, including finger puppets, sock puppets, and shadow puppets, and includes guides on how to build a puppet theater and put on a show.

I Want To Be A Puppeteer by Ivan Bulloch

Provides instructions and practical advice on how to make various kinds of puppets, how to construct a puppet stage, and how to present a show.

Making Puppets by Sally Henry

Provides step-by-step instructions for making a variety of puppets, including finger puppets, sock puppets, and marionettes.

Hoopla Books

Making Sock Puppets by Kathleen Petelinsek

Make your own sock puppets and a stateso you can put on shows for your friends and family. Crafters practice reading comprehension as they follow the steps for each project. The easiest crafts are at the beginning, to allow the reader to practice scaffolding their knowledge as they learn the domain-specific vocabulary.

The Art of Shadow Puppets by Dona Herweck Rice

Part of the Smithsonian: Informational Text series