Making puppets with children :: Simple Play

Making puppets with children is a springboard into art, story telling, role play and lots of language practise. Here are some great ideas you can use to make and play with puppets ~ part of our Simple Play :: complex learning series.

How to make puppets and use them for language skills, story telling and role play

Making puppets with children

If you sit and watch your child as they play with puppets, you’ll notice so much complex learning happening.

  • If you’re making your own puppets, they will have the opportunity to imagine up a character and use their creative skills to realise it. They might use paint or pencils, practice scissor skills, problem-solve what materials to pick to create their costumes.
  • As they play, they might be acting out a story, one they know from books, or one from their imagination. This involves memory work, sequencing skills and lots of imagination.
  • Making puppets talk to each other develops important language skills. Children get to try out phrases they’ve heard elsewhere and build their vocabulary. It can be a very good way to develop language skills for children who are reluctant to talk in social situations, or to give time and space for practice to children who are working on speech and language areas.
  • Using puppets in a playful way is also a very helpful activity to work on issues that are difficult, frightening or new. If you’re going to visit the dentist for the first time, try acting it out with puppets first. Or if your child is finding playtime with another child a bit of a challenge, role play a similar situation with some puppets and give your child a chance to see if they can find ways to make the play work.

kids crafts tea party puppets


Make your own puppets

When you’re making puppets with children you can make them as simple or as decorative as your children like. If your kids love art and craft, you can spend a lot of time creating your puppets, with amazing costumes. But if your child is more focused on the playing and storytelling, a super simple puppet is all you need – and your child’s imagination can do the rest. So, don’t think you have to have breathtaking-taking artistic skills and have that stop you from enjoying the simple play and complex learning that goes along with puppets. Here’s a variety of really easy puppet ideas that anyone can try:

For young children these finger puppets are both easy to make and easy to act with, and you can adapt the design to make any character you like.

Junk model puppets are super simple and inexpensive to make: try these paper roll puppets and host a tea party

Puppets are a great accompaniment to songs, giving children an extra way to interact with the music and language: try these incy wincy spider puppets.


Add play dough to your pupppets to take them to another level! Try these printable sea creatures to make your own ocean, or see how we brought a fairy tale to life with play dough.

Using chalkboard puppets, means you can draw any character you need to continue your story.

Peg dolls are great puppets: try these peg doll characters for inspiration and see how we used peg puppets in our fairy land.

Or use natural materials like these seed heads to make puppets.

DIY shadow puppets are good for traditional storytelling.

rama and sita puppets diwali

A favourite of mine for keeping the kids happy while I get dinner ready are these fairy tale fridge magnets.

And puppets are an excellent way to re-tell a story you’re learning, or to act out an event in history you have been studying: like these Rama and Sita puppets.

See all the Simple Play activities

These Making Puppets with Children ideas are part of the Simple Play :: complex learning series. Click through to see all the simple play activities and to print your simple play planner.

A month of simple play activities


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