It’s a rainy afternoon and your child is complaining that they are so bored they may just die! This perplexes you because you can clearly see toys and games all around their room. Maybe it is time to try something a little different. How about putting on a puppet show?!

If you don’t have the time to make some sock puppets of your own, we have created a list of our favorite puppets to help kick that boredom and bring a spark of creativity back into your child.

Our Top Picks

Puppet Company Knitted Scorch

Best Overall

Puppet Company Knitted Scorch

Melissa Doug Deluxe Puppet Theater

Upgrade Choice

Melissa Doug Deluxe Puppet Theater

Melissa&Doug Friends Hand Puppets

Best Budget Buy

Melissa&Doug Ballerina Puppet Detachable

How to Pick the Best Hand Puppet for Kids

1. Recommended Age

While puppets can be used by parents for children of any age as a teaching tool and role-play activities, puppets that will be used by the child themselves will fall under the recommended age guideline. Some puppets contain small items that may be a choking hazard to children under the age of 3. It is important that you always check the recommended age of toys for your child.

2. Materials

Hand puppets are generally made of cotton and polyester fabric materials. Some may simply be a standard one-piece fabric design, while others may be stuffed with a more plush fabric. Some puppets are a two-handed style that comes with an additional and removable wooden gesture stick.

3. Weight

Puppets, in general, are quite light. Standard style hand puppets usually fall in the range of 2 to 4 ounces, while the larger two-handed puppets can range from 7 ounces up to a pound.

4. Dimensions

The size of a puppet is pretty much what you would expect. A typical hand puppet will be roughly the size of a small hand, while the larger two-handed puppets are the size of a large doll so that they can be manipulated with a hand and arm in addition to the gesture rod.

5. Accessories

Some puppets come as a themed set which can make adventure play all the more interesting. Another type of accessory that may come with a puppet is what is called a gesture rod. These are generally wooden and can be used by either the left or right hand. They are used to manipulate the puppets arms and hands in forms of gestures.

6. Learning Skills

There are many learning skills that your child can acquire through puppet play. It is an excellent form of storytelling and role playing that can help your child grow their imagination, verbal skills, and social interaction. This type of role-playing can also help children with conflict resolutions.

The Winners

#1

Puppet Company Knitted Scorch

Editor's Choice

Meet Scorch, the Puppet Company Knitted Scorch hand puppet designed to bring out your child’s imagination. This colorful character is full of surprise with his big mouth, squeaking tongue, and friendly face.

Recommended age: 3 years and up
Materials: Knitted fabric, Plastic eyes
Weight: 3.84 ounces
Dimensions: 3 x 6.3 x 16 inches
Accessories: Tongue squeaker
Learning Skills: Imagination, Creative play

#2

Melissa&Doug Deluxe Puppet Theater

Upgrade Choice

The wooden puppet theater that has a sturdy, non-tip base so you won’t have to worry about your child knocking it over during pretend play. The Melissa Doug Deluxe Puppet Theater has a bright red, velvety theater curtain and colorful front display, as well as a clock, and a chalkboard for writing the name and time of performance.

Recommended age:3 to 7 years
Materials :Wood Fabric, Chalkboard
Weight: 12.2 lbs
Dimensions: 4 x 14.5 x 48.7 inches
Accessories: Curtain Clock Chalkboard
Learning Skills
Motor skills Creative expression Writing skills

#3

Melissa&Doug Friends Hand Puppets

Best Budget Buy

Four animal themed hand puppets that are sized to fit both children and adult hands. With the Melissa&Doug Friends Hand Puppets, your child can put on a wildlife performance with a giraffe, elephant, tiger, or monkey.

Recommended age: 2 to 6 years
Materials: Washable fabric
Weight: 8 ounces
Dimensions: 2.8 x 9.5 x 14.2 inches
Accessories: 4 puppets
Learning Skills: Motor skills
Self confidence: Hand-eye coordination

#4

Melissa&Doug Ballerina Puppet

A prima ballerina puppet dressed for her best performance. The Melissa&Doug Ballerina Puppet comes with a gesture rod for extra animation, and an expressive face that is easy to manipulate.

Recommended age: 3 to 15 years
Materials: Fabric, Plush material, Wooden rod stick
Weight: 4.8 ounces
Accessories: Removable gesture rod
Learning Skills: Creativity, Fine motor skills, Coordination

#5

Aurora World Puppet Parrot T-Rex

Best Dinosaur Puppet

The Aurora World Puppet Parrot T-Rex is realistically designed and can fit easily and comfortably over your child’s hand. The 10-inch puppet is made of a soft, plush material in shades of brown and white.

Recommended age:3 to 15 years
Materials: Fine, plush fabric, Plastic eyes
Weight: NA
Dimensions: 10 inches
Accessories: NA
Learning Skills: Pretend play, Communication skills

#6

Melissa&Doug SmoulderDragon Puppet

Smoulder by Melissa&Dough is a fantastical puppet dragon  that comes with a detachable rod which can be used by both the left and right hand. It is whimsical in appearance with its dragon wings, forked tongue, and friendly face.

Recommended age: 3 to 15 years
Materials: Polyester plush fabric, Wooden arm rod
Weight: 8.8 ounces
Dimensions: 17.7 x 4 x 6 inches
Accessories: Wooden arm rod
Learning Skills: Imagination, Coordination

#7

BetterLine Animal Hand Puppets

The BetterLine Animal Hand Puppets is a set of two, high quality soft plush hand puppets designed to inspire creativity in a child. These two dogs are made of a soft and huggable material and have a realistic appearance.

Recommended age: 3 years and up
Materials: Plush material, Plastic eyes
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.5 x 4.7 inches
Accessories: Two dog puppets
Learning Skills: Story telling,Role play

#8

Melissa & Doug Firefighter Puppet

Chief Walter Blaze of the Melissa & Doug Firefighter is a puppet on a stick for both left handed and right handed children. This plush styled puppet is fully clothed in typical firefighter gear.

Recommended age: 3 to 15 years
Materials: Plush material, Fabric
Wooden handle stick
Weight: 7.7 ounces
Dimensions: 6 x 4.7 x 14.9 inches
Accessories: Removable wooden handle stick
Learning Skills: Fire safety, Social interaction

#9

Melissa & Doug Surgeon Puppet

The Melissa & Doug Surgeon themed hand puppet comes fully adorned in apparel to spark the doctor in your child. This two-handed puppet has a detachable rod that is suitable for both righties and lefties.

Recommended age: 3 to 15 years
Materials: Plush material, Fabric, Wooden gesture rod
Weight: 7.2 ounces
Dimensions: 15 x 6.8 x 17.3 inches
Accessories: Removable wooden gesture rod
Learning Skills: Role play, Social interaction

#10

Kicko Animal Puppets

The Kicko Animal Puppet has twelve piece assorted animal hand puppet set that includes a cow, bear, elephant, monkey, tiger, cat, lion, giraffe, zebra, dog, horse, and pig.

Recommended age: 3 years and up
Materials: Velour
Weight: 4.2 ounces
Dimensions: 6.5 x 2 x 1.6 inches
Accessories: 12 animal characters
Learning Skills: Story telling, Imagination

#11

Melissa & Doug Police Officer Puppet

The Melissa & Doug Police Officer Puppet has a detachable wooden rod for animated gestures. This plush puppet wears an authentically detailed fabric costume to enhance creative play.

Recommended age: 3 to 15 years
Materials:  Plush and fabric
Weight: 1 lb
Dimensions: 3.8 x 6.8 x 16.1 inches
Accessories: Detachable wooden rod Removable wooden animation stick
Learning Skills: Fine motor skills, Creative thinking, Verbal skills

#12

Melissa & Doug Pirate Puppet

With its expressive face and pirate attire, the Melissa & Doug Pirate Puppet is ideal for kids that seek adventure. It has a gesture rod that can suit both right handed and left handed children.

Recommended age : 3 to 15 years
Materials: Plush material, Fabric, Wooden gesture rod
Weight: 0.16 ounces
Dimensions: 10 x 6 x 16 inches
Accessories: Removable gesture rod
Learning Skills: Imagination, Social skills

DIY, Craft and Décor: Ideas for Hand Puppets

Finger Puppets

Laura over at Lalymom came up with some of the most adorable DIY finger puppets that you and your child can make together. The itsy bitsy spider is one of our favorites!

Paper Bag Puppets

Have some paper bags left over from those school lunches? Why not make some paper bag puppets? Rachel lists 20 animal styled puppets made simply from paper bags. You can check out her creations and instruction at I heart crafty things.

Sock Puppets

If your house is anything like mine then you are well aware that on occasion the washer likes to eat one sock from a pair. Don’t throw that lonely sock away!
Handmade Charlotte has 7 awesome DIY sock puppet craft ideas that you and your child can create together.

Puppet Theater

If your house is anything like mine then you are well aware that on occasion the washer likes to eat one sock from a pair. Don’t throw that lonely sock away!
Handmade Charlotte has 7 awesome DIY sock puppet craft ideas that you and your child can create together.

Quick Decision

Puppet Company Knitted Scorch – Best Overall
If your looking to spark your child’s imagination with a uniquely styled puppet then you may want to consider Scorch from The Puppet Company.

Melissa Doug Deluxe Puppet Theater – Upgrade Choice
If you have already acquired an assortment of puppets and want to make role-play even more exciting for your child, then you may want to consider getting the Melissa & Doug Puppet Theater so they can perform their very own play.

Melissa&Doug Friends Hand Puppets – Best Budget Buy
Comes with 4 adorable zoo animal hand puppets which gives you more bang for your buck.

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Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

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