Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sticking with the Puppets. . .

Puppets 8

I know I have puppets and playhouses and fabulous felt stuff on the brain this week, but these actually came about for another reason!
Puppets 7

I teach a children’s class at church and the lesson was about food or substances that are either healthy or harmful to our bodies. One of the “Enrichment Activity” suggestions was to make a simple puppet and have the puppet open its mouth wide to “eat” good foods and close it to indicate that something isn’t good for the body. You know I couldn’t pass that one up.

A regular, body-shaped puppet wouldn’t work this time. I needed a pretty big mouth for this one. So I made a very simple {big mouth} puppet out of felt and hot glue. There is a hole at the back of the mouth so the puppet can really “eat.”
Puppets 10

(I used the food cards HERE as a starting point for the food pictures to feed the puppet.)

After the lesson, the children each received a plain puppet and then I gave them the materials to glue features and decorations onto their puppets. The class LOVED this activity. The only suggestion I have is to be sure to leave enough time for the children to make the puppets and let the glue dry before they try to use the puppets. We used Elmer’s glue and it takes a while to dry on felt. But, the children were so eager to try out their puppets that some of the decorations fell off because the glue wasn’t dry yet.

I didn’t take any pictures of the ones I made for church (what?!?) but I made a bunch of new puppets for my children.

I decided to sew my puppets together, but I hot glued the features on. Just so you know, it really doesn’t matter if you hot glue or sew when you are using felt. Felt just melts when the hot glue touches it which is great for making sure things are stuck together.
Puppet Tutorial
felt—variety of colors
hot glue
Elmer’s white or school glue (optional)
food cards (HERE)


Print out pattern.
 I have had some issues with getting my patterns to stay the same size I have made them. You can try HERE (Google Docs) to get it or use the JPEG below. This should be an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and the puppet shape takes up 1/2 of the entire page. You can enlarge or shrink it as necessary or as you would like to change the size of the puppet. If you are having problems getting it to print the right size, you should be able to copy the picture into one of many different programs and then stretch it to fill up the entire page. (Any suggestions to help with this would be greatly appreciated!)
Pattern copy   
Cut out 2 puppet shapes and one mouth shape.
You can fold the mouth in half and cut out a smaller shape from the inside to make an opening for the food cards to slide into.
Puppets 1

Fold the mouth in half and make a small mark at each edge.This will help you know where to start and stop sewing.

(If you are hot gluing, you don’t need to do this step.)
Puppets 2

Lay the mouth on top of one puppet piece. Sew around the puppet from one mark to the other mark using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfectly straight. I find felt tricky to cut precisely, but it is easy to trim up at the end.

(To glue, fold the mouth in half, lay on top of one puppet piece and make a mark at the edges on the puppet piece. This way, you will know where to start and end the glue line. It will be just like the sewing, but the glue is, obviously, inside.)Puppets 3

Fold the bottom end up the mouth up towards the top of the puppet. Lay the other puppet body piece on top of it. Then flip it around so you can get the bottom mouth section and the matching puppet piece under the needle of the sewing machine with the already sewn sections out of your way. Sew around the end just like the first one. Start at a 1/4 inch seam allowance but gradually move it towards a 1/2 inch seam allowance and then narrow back down to a 1/4 inch seam allowance to match up at the end.

(Hot glue the same way.)
Puppets 4

Sew each side of the puppet together. You do not need to sew over the parts that are already sewn.

(Hot glue the same way.)
Puppets 5

Trim around the seams to even things up. Be sure to cut off the excess around the mouth section that was sewn with a 1/2 inch seam. This section will be a little smaller than the top. It will be the bottom of the mouth or the part where the thumb goes in. When flat, it looks like your puppet has an overbite, but it keeps it from having a huge underbite once there is a little hand in there!
Puppets 6

Decorate your puppets any way you would like. I have found that children are pretty imaginative if you stay away from standard colors--brown always seems to become a dog. I put a tongue and similar eyes on all of my puppets, but varied the other characteristics.
Puppets 9

Mine are pretty simple, but you can get as elaborate as you would like.
Puppets 11Puppets 12

And, if you want a dog or cat or frog, you can use the same puppet pattern to make one of those, too!
Just change the colors and features to make it work.

I just used my food cards (HERE), but you could use all kinds of different things for the food. My daughter has been feeding her puppets the plastic food from her grocery store HERE.

Or, you can put on a show without the food.
Puppets 7

This would make a great activity to keep little hands busy (and practicing those cutting and gluing skills!) when you need a few minutes to get your own stuff done. Be sure to supervise the cutting and gluing, though—we all know how that can go!


Nancy,  said... April 12, 2011 at 9:59 AM  

These are the cutest puppets!!! I know my kids are going to love decorating these. Your ideas are always so cute!!!

gertie @ The Old Block House,  said... April 12, 2011 at 11:09 AM  

These are adorable. They have such character.

Please drop by our blog and enter to win three antique half gallon blue canning jars. www.theoldblockhouse.blogspot.com

Jessica,  said... April 12, 2011 at 11:09 AM  

These puppets are so cute! I love that you can decorate them however you want. I need to make some of these with my daughter. Thanks for the great ideas!


Two Shades of Pink,  said... April 12, 2011 at 12:48 PM  

I am crazy about this craft and I love that you call it a big mouth puppet. It is just so stinkin cute! It would make my girls giggle. OK, and me too. :)

Amy at Ameroonie Designs,  said... April 12, 2011 at 3:18 PM  

These are so cute! What a great idea for a lesson on caring for our bodies! Love it!

Shannon @FairfaceWashcloths,  said... April 12, 2011 at 4:36 PM  

Your puppets are so cute! Funny thing is I taught that very same lesson Sunday and thought, wouldn't it be nice if I had some puppets?! You're cooler than me though because you made some. I just taught without them.

I absolutely love your ideas! Thanks for the pattern!

KJ@letsgoflyakite,  said... April 13, 2011 at 6:35 AM  

These turned out really cute and it is really a great lesson plan to use puppets for what is harmful (v healthy) etc. I am your newest follower and look forward to poking around your blog for great ideas. Have a wonderful day!

Becky @ Rub Some Dirt On It,  said... April 14, 2011 at 9:00 AM  

Super cute!! You're making me think about going out and buying a glue gun :) I love how there's a hole in the inside. Glad I came by from fireflies and jellybeans!

Unknown,  said... April 14, 2011 at 9:28 AM  

These are so fun! My 10 yr old will love these for putting on little puppet shows for her nieces and nephews.


Unknown,  said... April 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM  

These are adorable! And so simple, too. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

Unknown,  said... April 20, 2011 at 11:47 PM  

These are really sweet!! What a fun idea!

Thanks so much for sharing this at For the Kids Friday! I will be posting the next party tomorrow night. I'd love to have you back for more fun this week!

:)rachel at http://SunScholars.blogspot.com

Anonymous,  said... April 21, 2011 at 4:34 PM  

adorable and such a wonderful teaching tool! thanks so much for sharing on Craft schooling Sunday!

Tif,  said... August 22, 2011 at 3:21 PM  

I used these this week in Jr. Primary to teach the Word of Wisdom and they were a HUGE hit! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful idea!!!

Lindsay,  said... March 23, 2012 at 1:59 PM  

These are so cute! My one-year old won't take his off! He even sleeps with it :)

RyRY,  said... April 16, 2013 at 8:37 AM  

I'm a bit late in the game, but I just found this post and wanted to say thanks for taking the time to share. I'm living in France and just started teaching the four and five-year-olds. I speak remedial French, so I'm relying a lot on creative supplements to keep the kids' attention. This is going to save me. Many thanks!

Breeze,  said... April 3, 2015 at 5:51 AM  

Thanks so much! I love this idea for the kids to have their puppet eat good foods and keep their mouths closed for bad foods. So excited to share this with my class!!

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