Sunday, May 10, 2009

Making Puppets With Next To Nothing

Pulling together a puppet using minimal materials is a great skill to have. Especially on a rainy day when you're kids can't go outside and have nothing to do.

These puppets can be made-well, nearly-in an instant. They call for materials that you are sure to have handy, such as handkerchiefs, lipstick, matchboxes, salad spoons and right and left hands. Have a minute? Try one.


You need a large handkerchief . Make a loose fist and drape the handkerchief over it. With your other hand, pull one of the front corners of the handkerchief up between your first two fingers. That's one ear. Now do the same with the other corner, pulling it up between the second and third fingers. Two ears. Wrap the two back corners around your wrist, and you have a bunny with floppy ears and a wriggly nose (your second finger inside the handkerchief).


With a ballpoint pen draw a funny face on your thumb and drape a handkerchief over it. Pull it around in front to hide your hand. You can also put a peanut shell on your thumb and draw Thumbelina's peek-a-boo face on that.


Find the fold in the palm of your hand-just under the little finger . Draw one eye right on that fold. Draw the rest of the face to fit. Now, by curling your little finger down you make Winkums wink, wink, WINK!


With your ballpoint pen draw a face on the back of your hand. Use a lipstick to color the lower half of your first finger and the upper part of your thumb. Now make a fist. Your first finger becomes the upper part of the mouth , your thumb the lower part, and by moving them you can make Jabberwacky talk, whistle and even pretend to chew gum.

Riddles for Jabberwacky

Now to produce a little play. You ask riddles and Jabber gives the answers. Like this:

YOU: What is it that a cat has that no other animal has?

JABBER: Kittens.

YOU: Why does an Indian wear a feather headdress?

JABBER: To keep his wig warn.

To make a quick body or "skirt " you need a large handkerchief and a rubber band. Hold your hand in one of the two hand positions shown below and drape the handkerchief over the extended fingers. Loop the rubber band over the handkerchief and around your finger. Pull it around the back of your finger. Finally, loop it over your thumb. The head is placed on the first finger, and the thumb and the other finger become the puppet's arms.


You need crayons, scissors and a small brown paper grocery bag. Flatten the bag out and turn it with the open side down. The fold across the top will be Bagdad's mouth and should be marked with a line of bright red. Cut out two white paper fangs and paste them to the edge of the fold, pointing downward. Now draw a button nose and two big droopy eyes above the mouth. Add paper feelers on top if you wish. Put your hand inside the bag and fit your fingers into the flap. You will find that by opening and closing your hand you can make Bagdad's mouth open and close. This gremlin speaks English, and he loves to sing.

No matter what puppet you decide to make, your kids love will love watching your bring these fun characters to life.