Whenever you find a lone sock that has lost its mate to the infamous sock-eating black hole in your dryer, or your child outgrows a pair of socks, put them to good use and start making some sock puppets.
Start by putting the sock on the child’s hand. Everyone’s hand is a different size, so you will want to mark the sock to ensure that any features the child wants to add are in a good place. You don’t want a pair of eyes stuck half-way up the child’s arm or a nose on the wrist. Tuck the toe part inside between the thumb and four fingers, which will leave a mouth-like opening that your child can control by opening and closing her hand.
Give the child a piece of chalk or a marker and help her make small dots where she will want the facial features eyes, ears, nose, tongue, teeth, and whatever else her imagination conjures.
Remove the sock from the child’s hand and provide the child with a number of different craft materials so that she can begin to assemble her puppet. Some good materials to keep on hand are: buttons, beads, torn paper, plastic googly doll-eyes from craft stores, glitter, tissue, yarn, material scraps, pipe cleaners, small pom-pom bells, jingle bells, styrofoam balls, styrofoam packing peanuts, popsicle sticks, felt, paper cups, pillow stuffing, markers, and, of course, more socks.
White craft glue or a warm (not hot) glue gun can hold many of the items on the sock. If gluing, put a toilet paper tube inside of the sock so that the glue will not go through and soak into the other side, sticking it together. Make sure all glue dries thoroughly before using the sock puppet. Buttons and beads will hold better, however, if sewn on with a needle and thread. Yarn and pipe cleaners can be threaded through small holes and knotted on the inside to stay in place.
Some ideas for particular features:
EYES: buttons, googly doll-eyes, beads, paper, markers.
EARS: packing peanuts, baby socks (for long ears), felt triangles or circles.
NOSE: buttons, beads, packing peanuts, styrofoam bells, jingle bells, pom-pom balls.
MOUTH: line with felt, color with marker.
TONGUE: felt, material scrap.
TEETH: Beads, buttons, felt triangles, cut-up packing peanuts
CHEEKS: marker, styrofoam balls cut in half, felt circles, material scrap circles.
HAIR/EYEBROWS/BEARD/MUSTACHE: pipe cleaners, stuffing, yarn, styrofoam balls, pom-poms, felt.
SNOUT: small paper or styrofoam cups.
HORNS OR TUSKS: packing peanuts or styrofoam balls carved into a tapered end, rolled yarn stuffed with pillow stuffing
TRUNK: another sock sewn onto the nose area, a long piece of felt or material.
ANTENNAE: pipe cleaners (with styrofoam balls poked through the ends, if desired).
ARMS: socks stuffed and sewn to the sides, felt cut-outs with pipe cleaners to hold stiff, popsicle sticks.
ACCESSORIES: strung beads as necklaces or earrings, upside-down cups as hats, felt or material scraps as shirts, ties, or collars.
Don’t stop at socks try using similar techniques for gloves, mittens, and pot holders for unusual looking puppets. These techniques can be applied even by very young children with parental guidance. Older children will delight in the creative process and joking around with their puppet friends as well.Don’t stop