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Paper Plate Ladybug Puppet
Mariann offers this puppet activity that encourages preschool children to follow instructions and use fine motor skills as they paint and cut to create ladybug puppets from paper plates. 

Materials: Two paper plates 
Pipe cleaner 
Stapler or tape 
Red and Black paint 
2 googly eyes 
Black construction paper 

1. Using black construction paper, cut out ladybugs legs.  You need two sets of 
    three legs. 
2. Paint one plate red, and one plate black.  Let dry. 
3. When dry staple or tape the legs in between the two plates.  Make sure that you 
    leave room for the child's hand to fit in between the plates. 
4. Cut the end that the child's hand will fit in into a semicircle shape. 
5. Ask the child to paint black spots on the red side of the Ladybug. 
6. Punch two holes at the top of the Ladybug for and antennae.  Thread a pipe 
    cleaner through the holes. 
7. Glue on the googly eyes. 
8. You now have a Ladybug puppet. 

Comments: We like to use these ladybug puppets later on in class singing... 

Lady Bugs
Ask preschool children to perform the actions that the words suggest.

I saw a little lady bug flying in the air,
But when I tried to catch her, two bugs were there.

Two little lady bugs flew up in a tree.
I tiptoed very quietly, and then I saw three.

Three little lady bugs, I looked for one more.
I saw one sitting on the ground, that made four.

Four little lady bugs, another one arrived.
I saw her sitting on a flower, and that made five.

Five little lady bugs, all red and black--
I clapped my hands and shouted, and they all flew back!

Sharing Story using Puppets
Here is dramatic story from Deborah S. that teachers can use during circle time to promote sharing & friendship. If you don't have 2 dog puppets in the classroom try making them with -----------------------------------------------------

Materials: 2 dog puppets, a milk bone or plastic bone, and a large paper plate 
colored to look like a big chocolate chip cookie.

Description: To help the children understand sharing, I bring out my 2 dog puppets, Teddy and Sycamore. To introduce this puppet story I explain that Teddy and Sycamore are good friends and that Teddy has a yummy bone and he growls when Sycamore comes near. With Teddy on one hand and Sycamore on the other, I act out this story.

The Sharing Story

Sycamore comments on how big the bone is.
Teddy agrees.
Sycamore comments on how yummy the bone looks and Teddy agrees.
Sycamore asks for a little bite and Teddy says "NO"
Sycamore asks, "Why not?"
"Because it's MINE" answers Teddy.
"Aw, come on", says Sycamore as he draws nearer and nearer to Teddy. "Please... Just one little bite?"
Teddy growls again and both dogs fight with each other and then cry and whimper 
when they are both bitten.

I stop at this point and ask the kids what the dogs should do.  The kids give ideas and sharing usually tops the list or going to get another bone.

At this point, the dog puppets start talking again.  They  apologize to each other and "Kiss" each other's owies.
Then Teddy says, "I'm really sorry I hurt you Sycamore. None of this would have happened if I had just shared with you to begin with".
Then both dogs lie down next to each other, each with one end of the bones in their mouths.

I then bring out the paper plate colored to look like a chocolate chip cookie, or you could bring a real very large cookie to school.  I tell the kids that I'm going to eat it all by myself and it is so yummy!!. Of course the kids tell me to share.  Didn't I learn anything from Teddy and Sycamore?? So I tear off little pieces of the paper plate cookie and give a piece to each child. 

At first I tear off teeny weeny pieces and still keep a large section for myself.  Again the kids tell me that sharing means more than that so I tear off equal pieces for each child leaving one piece for myself. I usually let the kids share times when they have had to share something with a friend and we see that sharing in the first place avoids conflicts later on.

Comments: Sometimes the dogs fighting with each other upsets the youngest kids (3
year olds).  If I see them getting upset, I quickly explain that they are puppets and are not really getting hurt but they are helping us to learn about sharing.  I then proceed with the rest of the activity.

Frog Hand Puppet
This paper plate puppet from Sandra A. can be used with themes about reptiles and pond creatures or used with a theme about things that hop.

Materials: 2 Large paper plates, child safety scissors, stapler, 2 egg carton sections,
glue, green paint and paintbrushes.

1. Fold one plate in half.
2. Trim about 1/2" from the second paper plate, then cut plate in half.
3. Teachers staple each trimmed half to the back of the folded plate.
4. Glue two upside down egg sections on top for googly eyes.
5. Paint it, then add a big red felt tongue. Glue to the bottom half of the puppet.

Paper Bag Lizard Puppets
Young children construct fantasy lizard puppets using fine motor skills and paper bags during this preschool craft project from Jolanda B.

Materials: Paper bag
Colored paper
Child safety scissors
Colored pencils or felt tip markers 
Red felt

Description: Use small brown paper bags to make the lizard puppets.
1.  Color your bag green, use crayons or green colored pencil.
2. Draw, with black felt tip marker, a pair of big round eyes on a white sheet of 
    paper. Cut the eyes out and glue them on the bottom of the bag.
3. Out of red felt cut out a long tongue and glue this under the bottom of the bag.
4. Finish by drawing black spots on the bag or for a fairytale lizard you can 
    decorate with glitter.

Comments: You can make different characters and make up your own story. First, with the children in your class, make up a story during literacy hour, then create your characters. The other classes will love to come and watch your show in the Puppet Theater.

Creating Paper Bag Puppets 
This early childhood education craft activity for preschool children develops creative artistic expression, representation skills and expands into dramatic play. 
You will need:  Small paper bags, construction paper, felt tip markers, glue, scissors, yarn, fabric scraps, buttons etc. 

Teachers read one of the children's favorite storybooks and then introduce the materials listed above.  Show the children that they can construct puppets from the materials and suggest that they make a character from the story (adults work along with the children). 

Create puppets by placing small paper bags flat on a table with the flaps at the top.  Use markers to draw faces on the flaps of the bags.  Then add personality to the puppets by gluing on buttons, fabric scraps etc.  When the children have completed creating their puppets put on a puppet show for the entire class. 

Add paper bags to the classroom's craft area so other children can make their own puppets. 

Easy Can and Paper Roll Puppets
Foster language development, stimulate dramatization, promote social involvement and stimulate creativity with these easy puppets from Kelley M.

Materials: Empty orange juice cans, empty paper rolls, felt, fabric, tinfoil, sequins, yarn, felt tip markers, glue and child safety scissors.

Description: Cover juice cans and paper rolls with felt.  Decorate the cans and rolls with yarn, tinfoil, felt, sequins, and fabric so that they resemble the desired characters.

Stick Puppets for Teaching Manners / Emotions
Karla S. uses these paper plate stick puppets to reinforce the use of manners & emotions with the children.

Materials: 2 paper plates, two black strips of paper approx. 5 inches, two black circles approx. two inches, four eyes, two noses, one frown, one smile, glue, paint and a craft stick.

Description: Let the children fingerpaint both plates yellow. Glue the plates back to back with a craft stick in between for a handle. The children then glue on eyes, nose, and on one side a smile and on the other side a frown. Glue strips of paper and circles for antennae. This will form their own Miss Bee Polite. They can now use the 
puppets to help them express their own ideas about what will make her happy or sad, and how we can be polite to each other.

Cereal Box Puppet
This puppet by Pat C. helps preschool children name different foods and also discuss nutritious versus non nutritious foods and food groups..

Materials: Cereal box, markers, construction paper, felt of all colors, plastic 
eyes, glue, large sandwich bag, food wrappers, candy wrappers and magazine food cut outs.

Description: Cut the cereal box in half (NOT all the way) and attach the plastic 
bag to the mouth area.  Use the other materials to decorate the puppet.  You can 
make it look like an animal or a person.  Place all the food in the mouth of the 
puppet, so that they lay in the bag.  Name your puppet and tell the children that
"_____ (Ronnie) has a bad stomach ache today.  Let's see what kind of foods he ate today."

Let the children come up and pick something out of the puppet's mouth.  Ask the child to name the food he or she has.  It is nutritious or not?  What food group does it 
belong to, etc.

Comments: Other than using this puppet for your food theme, he can be used in many 
other areas of your room, just by decorating him differently. For instance, add 
pointy teeth, and you have an alligator.

Teasing Mr. Alligator
Teresa H. uses this rhyme when children transition form circle time to learning centers. You can make an alligator puppet using the Cereal Box Puppet above.

Materials: None or an alligator puppet

Teasing Mr. Alligator
 5 little monkeys swinging in a tree
 Teasing Mr. Alligator, "You can't catch me.  You can't catch me."
 Along came Mr. Alligator as happy as can be 
 and snapped (Use a child's name) right out of that tree.
Continue the song replacing the names of children until all children have been 
dismissed from circle time.

Comments: The children enjoy hearing their names and sit in anticipation until they are "snapped" from the tree.

Groundhog Day: Pop-up Groundhog Puppet
Celebrate Groundhog Day and discuss hibernation with this pop-up puppet from Susan K

1.  Small round oatmeal/salt containers. Start asking parents to donate empty 
    oatmeal/salt containers in September so you might have enough for this project.
2. Adult size brown socks. Again, ask for donations starting in September.
3. One 12 inch stick or dowel
4.  2½ inch styrofoam ball
5.  Two wiggle eyes
6.  String or yarn
7.  Brown felt strips
8.  Fiberfill
9.  White glue and child safety scissors

1.   Cut the bottom out of the oatmeal box. Slide the sock over the box, so that the 
     cuff opening of the sock just fits around the edge of the box. The box will be 
     the groundhog's hole.
2.  Dip one end of the stick in glue, then push it into the styrofoam ball. Push the 
     ball through the box and into the toe of the sock, with the stick coming out of the 
     bottom of the box. The ball will be the head of the groundhog. Tie a piece of 
     string around the stick at the base of the styrofoam ball to make the
     groundhog's neck.
3.  Glue the two wiggle eyes on one side of the head. Cut ears and a nose from the 
     brown felt and glue them in place.
4.  Glue fiberfill around the tip rim of the box for snow.
5.  Push on the stick to pop your groundhog up out of the hole to see if he sees 
     his shadow.  If he sees it, pull on the stick to put him back in this hole for 
     six more weeks of winter. "Oh Boy!"

Puppet Stand
Here's an easy & inexpensive stand from Cathy A.

Materials Needed: Shoe Box, Paper towel cardboard rolls, Paint, Glue & Newspaper

Description:  Use a shoe box (or a heavy box with a lid), trace around the bottom of the paper towel tubes (evenly spaced, trace as many circles as you have paper towel rolls). Cut out the circles, stuff the paper towel tubes with newspaper & cover one end. Stick a tube in each hole, glue in place. Paint and let dry. When done stick a puppet on each tube.

Owl Puppet for Preschool
During this puppet project from Jonita B. children are introduced to interesting facts about owls and make an owl puppet.

Materials: Owl face outline for puppet (from a coloring book), brown paper bag, eye stickers for eyes, child safety scissors, crayons, glue, and brown construction paper strips for feathers.

Description:  Explain to children that you want to teach a poem about a very special bird. Give them a few clues about this bird such as: It lives in the forest or barn;
It makes a sound in the night that sounds like, 'whoo, whoo!".  It has sharp claws. It usually sits high up in a tree to look for food.  It likes mice to eat and is very smart. Have the children take turns guessing the name of this bird.  After they have guessed the name, teach the following poem to the children.
                   THE OWL
                     by Melissa MacNeal.  Ph.D.

         The owl is a bird with very large eyes,
         That always looks awake and full of surprise.

         I guess that's because he's heard and has seen,
         So many funny things at each Halloween.

Repeat the poem several times so the children become accustomed to saying it. Tell them they are going to make an owl to go along with the poem they have been learning.

1.  Give the children an outline of an owl face and have them cut this out. Use 2 eye 
    stickers for eyes. Cut out a yellow beak and glue on the owl face Glue the owl 
    face on the flap of a paper beg.
2.  For the feathers (you will have to help them with this), cut brown construction 
     paper into five strips (each child should have five strips for their owl's 
     feathers).   Ask the children to take their scissors and make cuts along the paper 
     to resemble fringe. Remind them not to cut all the way through the paper or they 
     will not have a piece of fringe. To curl the fringe, roll it up with a pencil. Do 
     this to each of the five pieces of fringe.
3.  Ask the children to glue their strips of "owl feathers" onto the front of their 
     paper bag. Have them glue the first strip on the bottom, then the next one to 
     give a layered look.
4. Say the poem again to the children and have them hold up their owl puppets as 
    they say the poem.

Homemade Finger Puppets
Young children use storytelling skills and Dolores involves children's families when creating these finger puppets.

Materials: Felt material of any color and a  Instruction letter to families.

Description: I glue two pieces of felt together in a simple finger puppet shape. 
I make two of these.  You can be more creative and make them into hand puppets 
if you like.  I make two.  The letter I include asks the parents to provide materials so that the child can make these puppets into friends.  Once they have decorated them, let the child develop a story about friends to go along with the puppets. I have the children show their puppets to the class as I read their stories.

Easy Clothes Pin Animals
This easy puppet project from Missy A. works well with Zoo and Farm Themes.

Materials: Zoo and farm animals, two clip on clothespins for each animal.

Description: Copy animals minus the legs onto construction paper. Ask children to 
color, paint or decorate them anyway they like. Then have the children clip the 
clothes pins on them for legs. They love playing with these.  I usually do this for a Zoo Theme.

Stick Puppets: "Who am I?"
Louise S. shares her stick puppets idea saying, "This activity is great for developing listening and thinking skills."

Materials: This activity can be used for any theme, I do this for the Dinosaur 
Theme, for Halloween, and for Under The Sea. I just make up stick puppets or you could use soft toys or plastic toys etc. Make up a description about each
character you are going to use. Take a look in the Halloween Theme for riddles that you can use for this activity.

Description: Halloween for example I made a puppet for each Halloween character,
and then I made up a description of each character. I use a brown bag and get 
the children to hide their eyes and then I place the witch inside the bag.
Next, I read the description to the children and they have to guess which Halloween character it is.

Comments: The kids love guessing and then waiting while I pull the character out 
of the bag to see if they're right.

Down on Grandpa's Farm
During this large group activity by Heidi C. teachers promote farm animal awareness,  animal colors and farm animal sounds. 

Materials: Pictures of an old man (grandpa) and a good variety of farm animals, 
colored pictures of actual farm animals. Attach pictures to craft sticks and laminate for longer lasting puppets.

Description: At circle / group time sing the song Down on Grandpa's Farm. Show each animal and sing it's color and the sound that it makes. Pass around puppets for children to hold if desired.
Down on Grandpa's Farm
We're on our way, we're on our way, 
On our way to Grandpa's farm.
Down on Grandpa's farm there is a black and white cow (repeat)
The cow, she makes a sound like this, MOO.
The cow, she makes a sound like this, MOO.
Oh we're on our way, we're on our way
On our way to grandpa's farm
(repeat verse for each new animal that you add.)

Comments: The stick puppets can also be used for Old McDonald Had a Farm.

"Six Little Pigs" Puppets
Cathy A. shares this finger play with the following instructions.
Cut pictures of pigs out and glue onto craft sticks to use as puppets for the children to hold and “count down” while you do the fingerplay.   Talk about the word pig starting with “P”

Six little pigs rolled in the mud, 
Squishy, squashy, felt so good. 
The farmer took one pig out. 
Oink, Oink, Oink, the pig did shout.

Five little pigs rolled in the mud, 
Squishy, squashy, felt so good. 
The farmer took one pig out. 
Oink, Oink, Oink, the pig did shout.

Four little pigs rolled in the mud, 
Squishy, squashy, felt so good. 
The farmer took one pig out. 
Oink, Oink, Oink, the pig did shout.

Three little pigs rolled in the mud, 
Squishy, squashy, felt so good. 
The farmer took one pig out. 
Oink, Oink, Oink, the pig did shout.

Two little pigs rolled in the mud, 
Squishy, squashy, felt so good. 
The farmer took one pig out. 
Oink, Oink, Oink, the pig did shout.

One little pig rolled in the mud, 
Squishy, squashy, felt so good.
The farmer took one pig out. 
Oink, Oink, Oink, the pig did shout.

No little pigs rolled in the mud, 
They all looked clean and good. 
The farmer turned his back and then, 
Those pigs rolled in the mud again! 




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