Kid Crafts: Finger Puppets

A turtle finger puppet (drying on a popsicle stick) – easy for tiny hands, start to finish!

Today, the second post in our series Kid Crafts, we’re going to learn about making some simple and fun finger puppets. Since I’ve been back home visiting Fair Play Family, the Fair Play Twins assist on this one. I can assure you it is kid-tested by a pair of discerning four-year-olds. There are a number of ways for children to be involved in this project, so it is nearly all ages – Fair Play Twins were able to help out with every step from sewing to gluing to drawing, with some grown-up assistance. This tutorial uses animal puppets as an example, but these puppets can be made into just about whatever you can imagine.

Pictured below are all of the supplies you will need:

  1. Felt, assorted colors. I got felt from Michaels for $0.39 a sheet but you could also order a larger variety pack from Amazon
  2. Pipe cleaners, assorted colors, for tails (etc)
  3. Googly eyes
  4. Anything else you want to decorate with, for example mini pom poms
  5. Sharpie (or other marker)
  6. Scissors – as always, child-safe depending who is doing the cutting
  7. Needle and thread
  8. Craft glue or Elmers – we glued first with Elmers but I made touchups with the craft glue which I think may be more durable
  9. Popsicle sticks for inside drying puppets (although some kids may prefer these for maneuvering puppets in play as well!)
  10. Safely covered work surface

First, cut your felt into appropriately sized squares. I used 4 inches by 4 inches, which made a large enough surface for decorating with four-year-old fine motor skills but small enough for four-year-old fingers.

Next, fold a square in half and sew around two open edges to form a rectangle with an opening at one end. We used a simple running stitch easy enough to teach the kids, but you may want to do this step yourself or allow children to pull the needle through the fabric while a grown-up makes the actual stitches. Fair Play Twins did some of their own sewing, with assistance from Fair Play Super(grand)mom.

Animals with tails will need those added next. First, cut a tiny slit to string a “tail” through. Pull a pipe cleaner through the hole and make a large knob at the end of the cleaner (tuck in sharp ends – there will be fingers in there!).

Put glue on the knob you just folded, and pull the tail back through so the knob is snug against the inside of the slit you made. The knob keeps the tail from coming back out of the animal, and the glue secures the tail from moving around too much. Bend, curl, or shorten the tail as desired.

Now you’ll want to add a popsicle stick inside the puppet so the glue you put in there doesn’t glue the two sides closed. All that’s left is the face – glue on some googly eyes and draw a mouth, whiskers, and ears!

Ta da!

These are super quick puppets, and we made 5 puppets (times two Fair Play Twins = 10, but with two grown-up helpers) in an hour. Fair Play Twins were able to do just about every step themselves with just a bit of assistance.

Here are some of the specific ways tiny hands can contribute:

Gluing eyes…

Gluing pom pom tails…

Gluing ears…

Drawing…

And showing off for the camera!

What I love about this project is that each puppet is very quick to make. You could prep a bunch of the felt squares ahead of time and this would make a great activity for a birthday party or play date. Sewing is a terrifically useful skill for everyone to have, and this is a fun and easy way to introduce it. Each puppet requires only a few stitches. Your child can make nearly any sort of creature they can imagine. Perhaps most exciting about this project is that while creating the puppet is an activity in itself, the imaginary play afterwards can continue to inspire.

This is the second post in a series called Kid Crafts, where we feature child-friendly, often seasonally-inspired craft tutorials. The first post featured apple stamps for a fall wreath. Leave a comment at Request a Review if you’re looking for something specific!

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