Show Time! Bring on the Sock Puppets

With a few spare socks and easy-to-find decorations, kids can create puppets worthy of a very big show!

By Barbara Albright

 Take a close look at your socks. Usually they provide warmth and protection for your family's feet, but with a little imagination, they turn into extraordinary characters. Yes! We're talking about sock puppets!

The very first time anyone puts a hand inside a sock, it is near impossible to keep it from talking, dancing, and posturing. Kids immediately grasp the promise of sock puppets. Fashioning these puppets is a terrific family activity, which can culminate in a rousing puppet show.

Listen to the Sock
Let the kids sort through the family's socks and find those that have lost their mates. These strays are ideal for junior puppeteers.

What is the sock saying to you? Does it want to be a dippy dinosaur or snuggly bunny? How about a girl with frizzy blond hair?

Is it a puppet with hands? Or just a head attached to long, serpentine neck?

Puppet Making
To make a puppet with ears or pigtails, hold the sock with the toe pointing up. Cut about two inches through the center of the toe. Loop rubber bands around the base of each piece: instant ears or pigtails! Festoon them with yarn, if you want.

Stuff the foot with an extra sock or some stuffing. Wind a wide rubber band around the base of the stuffing to form the neck.

Insert your hand in the sock and put your index finger through the neck into the head.

If the puppet will have arms, cut small holes on two sides of the sock above the "ankle" for little, wiggly fingers.

For another style, slip the sock over the child's hand, like a glove. He can scrunch up the toe end to make a talking mouth.

Personalize the Puppet
Turn the puppets into characters with eyes, hair, noses, or other features.

Use colored markers, buttons and other materials to give the puppets personality. Glue on yarn or doll hair. Buy jiggly eyes, big red mouths, and colorful pom poms.

Odd scraps of fabric can be used for bow ties, dresses, hats, and other accessories.

Let the Show Begin!
Once the cast of characters is assembled, the kids will love writing and performing short plays.

Attach a piece of material or sheet of cardboard across a doorway. It should come to the floor.

The puppeteers can hide behind it and poke their hands above the edge. Sock puppets, with their malleable bodies, are ready for all sorts of action, slapstick, and dialogue.

Show time!