I remember playing with all sorts of various puppets when I was little and what I didn’t realise at the time (of course) is how hugely beneficial they were. Puppets enhance storytelling (they help bring the story to life); they encourage social skills (children have to learn to take turns and listen to each other); they help with language development and, if you allow your children to make their own puppets, they encourage your child’s creativity too.
My eldest daughter has puppet shows at school all the time and the other day she asked me if we could do them at home. I thought this would be a wonderful idea however when I went in search for some I couldn’t find a huge variety and the ones that I could find were quite costly. I didn’t see why we couldn’t make them ourselves at home and went online to look for some templates. I thought that an easy and fun option would be to make finger puppets.
What you need:
• Cardstock (preferably white)
• Printable finger puppet templates
• Coloured markers, crayons or pencils to colour in
• Stickers, glitter or anything else that you want to decorate your puppets with
• Scissors for cutting
I simply did a google search for finger puppet templates and selected a few options that I thought my girls would like. I printed them onto my A4 cardstock and then got them to colour them in. They roped me into colouring in a few, which I have to admit, I found quite fun.
Once we had coloured in all of the puppets we got to work on cutting them out. My youngest daughter found the cardstock quite difficult to cut through and so I printed her some simple clipart images on paper for her to cut out at the same time. Cutting out is a fantastic way to help your little ones build up their finger strength and also develops their hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. The little finger holes were a bit trickier to cut out and so I was given that task!
We ended up with what I thought was a fairly impressive collection of puppets. My little ones were fascinated by the fact that their fingers all of a sudden became the puppet’s legs (and an elephant trunk too).
My eldest daughter was very quick to declare that she wanted to perform the first puppet show. We didn’t have a stage so we made our own by placing one of their plastic chairs on top of the table and draping a small table cloth over it. It worked wonderfully and we had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon putting on puppet shows.
Puppets make the most wonderful toys for children of all ages and as you can see they needn’t be expensive or complicated to make. My little ones were busy for over an hour taking it in turns to put on little puppet shows for each other and for me and when they were done they asked me to pack them away to play with another day.