Making sock puppets is a great hobby to share with your kids and one that helps them disconnect from electronics and other daily distractions. With all of the technology and complex toys that kids are used to, it can be easy to forget about the value that simple toys bring to encourage creativity and imagination.
Making sock puppets and holding sock puppet plays is an excellent kids hobby that will both expand your child’s creative thinking and keep him or her entertained for hours. Sock puppets are very easy to make and this makes the hobby ideal for younger kids. Not only will your children have fun, you can sit back and enjoy watching their creativity unfold in their theatrical presentations.
Sock Puppet History
Puppets have been used for entertainment purposes since the eleventh century, when Indians used carved sticks to depict moral and religious stories. The practice of puppet making quickly became a fad that swept all throughout Asia in the coming years. By the nineteenth century, puppet shows had migrated to just about every corner of the world. Audiences in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas enjoyed the creativity of their local puppeteers.
However, it was not until the 1920’s that the modern-day sock puppet emerged in the United States. Magazines in the subsequent decades demonstrated how parents could create these simple and inexpensive toys with their children. Making sock puppets quickly became an immensely popular household craft.
Puppet Fun Facts
- The most famous sock puppets were Lamb Chop, Charlie Horse, and Hush Puppy who starred in the television show, Lamb Chop’s Play-Along.
- The largest puppet show included 402 puppeteers working 463 puppets. The puppet show was based on the Mayan myth Hurucan and the Feathered Snake.
- Kermit The Frog, perhaps the most famous puppet ever, was initially made out of Jim Henson’s mother’s coat and some Ping-Pong balls. Kermit started out as a lizard-like character and didn’t evolve into a frog until his debut on Sesame Street.
Getting Started With Sock Puppets
One of the best aspects of making sock puppets is that you can do it with just about any materials that you have laying around the house. There is typically no need to purchase additional supplies from the store. If you are thrifty in choosing your sock puppet materials, you can spend little to no money on your child’s new hobby. One of the most fun and challenging parts of making sock puppets is to use your creativity and make a great sock puppet out of seemingly random household items.
Before you invite your child to begin making his or her puppets, it is important that you gather all of your materials into one place. This will help teach your child about good organization and will also expedite the cleanup process. Locate some old socks and lay them out on a clean work surface. Large men’s tube socks are especially ideal for making sock puppets. However, any mismatched sock or worn-out pair will do, so long as the sock has an elongated neck.
Next, find some pieces that will be ideal for furnishing your puppets’ eyes. Old plastic buttons, googly eyes, and small rhinestones are commonly used. Finally, locate some additional accessories that will allow your child to completely personalize his or her puppet. Even the most unexpected pieces can turn out to be the perfect accessory for your child’s creation.
For instance, feathers, felt, glitter glue, fabric paint, lightweight pebbles, artificial leaves and flowers, pipe cleaners, and inexpensive costume jewelry can all be transformed into part of a sock puppet’s body.
You will also need to have common craft items on hand. Have a needle and thread, markers, scissors, and glue ready for your child.
Making Sock Puppets
First, set up a clean and organized workspace where your child can see all of the materials that are available. Make sure that your son or daughter has plenty of space to work with, and protect any valuable surfaces from potential messes, spills or scratches.
Invite your child to begin making sock puppets. You should first demonstrate how the sock puppet will fit over your child’s hand. Show him or her how the puppet is folded over to allow it to ‘talk,’ and point out where the eyes, nose, and mouth might go.
This step in making sock puppets with children is usually the most bewildering for loving parents: just let your son or daughter be. You should encourage your child to give his or her creativity full rein, and then allow your child to construct a puppet that is entirely a product of his or her imagination. The end result of your son or daughter’s project will vary greatly depending on his or her age.
Some sock puppets might not even be recognizable as any particular creature; however, the value of making sock puppets lies in the process itself, and your child’s skills will improve with time.
Some parents enjoy building sock puppets alongside their children, as this creates a more personal bonding experience. Be sure to assist your child when using scissors or the needle and thread.
With a new cast of sock puppets, encourage your child to put on a sock puppet play. This is especially fun with several kids. It further encourages creativity and social skills. It’s also usually a lot of fun entertainment for parents as well!
Sock Puppets Tips And Tricks
The following tips and tricks can help with making sock puppets…
- Don’t worry about how your kid’s sock puppet looks. Sock puppets are meant to be messy and fun. As long as your child is having fun, there’s no need to worry about the quality of the finished project. Your child will love his or her creation, no matter how messy it may be.
- Most children respond well when given measured amounts of creative independence. As long as your child is safe, you should allow him or her to do whatever he or she wishes with the puppet.
- Save large boxes for your kids to use for their theatrical presentations.
Sock Puppets And Beyond
There are lots of ideas for making sock puppets. If your children enjoy puppets, you can encourage them further with some of the following ideas…
- Your kids can make a line of themed puppets that can be used as characters in a play.
- Hold a contest for who can make the best sock puppet out of the craziest household items.
- Introduce your child to ventriloquism.
- Expand your child’s puppet repertoire with more advanced hand puppets or marionettes.
Related Sock Puppet Resources
Check out the following resources for more information on making sock puppets…
Danielle’s Place – a great site that offers a wide range of crafts and activities for kids including basic steps for making sock puppets.
Free Kids Crafts – free kids craft ideas including printables, holiday crafts, puppets, coloring pages and more.
ThePuppetStore.com – puppet site that sells a wide range of puppets and related puppet items.
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.