It’s almost August –
you can hear the kids start to grumble –
Puppets? That might work for a while.
Here’s 13 to try.
Find the fold in the palm of your hand—just under the little finger. Draw one eye right on that fold. Draw the rest of the face to fit. Now, by curling your little finger down you make Winkums wink, wink, WINK!
With your ball-point pen draw a face on the back of your hand. Use a lipstick to color the lower half of your first finger and the upper part of your thumb. Now make a fist. Your first finger becomes the upper part of the mouth, your thumb the lower part, and by moving them you can make Jabberwacky talk, whistle and even pretend to chew gum.
3. BEAKNIK THE ENVELOPE BIRD
You need an envelope and crayons. Put your hand inside the envelope, B, stretching your fingers into the upper corner and your thumb into the lower. With your other hand press in the front edge of the envelope. Pull it away quickly or it will be nipped, for by opening and closing the hand inside the envelope, you make Beaknik’s beak open and shut. Add an eye, fierce or friendly, according to taste.
You need a large wooden salad spoon, crayons and one of the scouring pads made of woven copper or brass foil. Draw a face on the back or rounded part of the spoon. If you wish, you can paste on paper features. Spread the center of the scouring pad with your thumbs and slip it on over the top of the spoon to make a crown of shiny hair. Now grip the spoon in your hand as shown. Drape a bright handkerchief over the extended thumb and finger and in front of your hand. Secure it with a rubber band the way you did with the instant body, except that in this case the rubber band runs around behind the spoon handle instead of behind your first finger.
5. CARRIE CARROT
She is made from a fat carrot with the big end up. Her nose can be a colored thumb tack, a glass tack or a button held in place by a pin. Cut her eyes out of paper and pin them on. Make her lips from paper or a bit of orange slice. Use a scouring pad for hair. For her skirt, grip the carrot as you did the salad spoon and drape an instant body.
6. TURNIP THE TUSKER
Find a turnip with a long, curled-up end like an elephant’s trunk. With an apple-corer bore a hole in the bottom for your first finger. Add thumb tack eyes, round paper ears and toothpick tusks.
7. THE APPLE PIRATE
Bore a hole in the bottom of a shiny apple for your finger. Pin on a mustache of black paper and a black eye patch, as in the drawing of him at the very back of the book. Add a cardboard ear with a notebook paper reinforcement for an earring. Tie a bright bit of cloth around the top of the head. Use a bright handkerchief for the pirate’s instant body.
Bore a small hole in one end of a fresh egg and a larger hole in the other end. Blow through the smaller hole, and the inside of the egg will push out. Now you can paint a face with water colors and add a piece of fuzzy cloth for hair. Carefully enlarge the neck hole and slip Eggbert on your first finger.
9. BORROWED HEDDA
The heads of old rubber toys and dolls make good instant puppet heads. Sometimes the head has to be stuffed with cotton to let you hold your first finger tightly inside.
Model a head from modeling clay, with a snug hole in the neck for your first finger. Here is a man of many faces, for with a pinch of your fingers you can flatten his nose or lengthen it or remove it altogether.
11. RAPID RABBIT
Quick like a bunny, find a large white handkerchief and a rubber band. Lift two corners of the handkerchief to form two ears and grasp it as shown. Now firing the bottom end of the handkerchief up and around the base of the ears. Make a knot, leaving the ears sticking up. The knot is the rabbit’s head. Work your first finger into the knot to hold the head upright, hiding your hand behind the drape of the handkerchief. Use the drape and your rubber band to complete the rabbit with an instant body.
12. SPOOK-A-BOO THE GHOST
Once more you need the handkerchief and the rubber band. Tie a knot in one corner of the handkerchief. Push the knot around until you have a surface on which to draw a face in crayon or ink. Make an instant body out of the hanging part of the handkerchief, and you have a spooky guest for your next camp out.
13. Instant Stages
By now you have your hands full of puppets. How about a stage? It won’t take long to tack a sheet across a doorway, as in A. Make sure it is high enough to hide your head, but not so high that it hides the puppets you hold up. You can drape the same sheet over the front of a table and lift your puppets from a kneeling position behind the table, B. Or wear a big apron, C. Its corners can be lifted by two fellow puppeteers—in just one instant.
Enjoy the rest of your summer creatively!
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