Do It Yourself Fun Kid's Craft Ideas For A Rainy Day

A rainy day is perfect for this creative indoor kids craft project idea.

When it rains outside sometimes you need more than a simple 20 minute project to keep the children happy. This is the perfect solution and it stimulates their creativity and imagination. You will find instructions for a variety of puppet types and stages for hours of fun.

The four types of puppets that instructions are given for are sock puppets, glove finger puppets, stick puppets and stitched hand puppets. Following that, directions are given for three types of stages. The tabletop box stage is simple to make. The two door frame stages require a few more purchased materials, but an imaginative child will find all sorts of uses for it, even after the puppets are put away.

Sock puppets are fun and pretty simple, even for the younger crafters. You will need one sock, scissors, white craft glue, two matching buttons, red or pink craft foam or felt, colored markers, and yarn in your choice of hair color. Put your hand in the sock and press the end of the toe into your hand, between your thumb and fingers, creating a mouth. Remove the sock and use craft foam or felt to cut out a tongue to fit inside the mouth. This will help hold the puppet's shape when it "talks". Put the sock back on your hand, create the mouth again, and glue the tongue in place with white craft glue. Older children or young ones with an adult nearby to help may choose to use a hot glue gun. Next glue or sew on your puppet's button eyes. If you like working with craft foam you can skip the buttons and craft your own eyes. Cut your yarn to the right length you'd like your character's hair to be. It usually works best to glue the hair on with one hand while the puppet is on the other. This will help keep your hair positioned where you want it. You can use a small button for a nose or draw it on with colored markers. You can also use your markers for details like freckles, eye pupils, or lips. When all of the glue has completely dried your puppet is ready for his stage debut. You can create all kinds of sock puppets characters. Use green socks for a frog, brown for a bear, pink for pigs, and yellow, red or blue for birds. Get creative with your craft foam to make ears, noses, beaks or whatever else you can think of. Fabric may be added for characters' clothing. One of the greatest things about puppets is that they can be as simple or as detailed as you'd like.

Glove finger puppets are cute and a perfect solution for what to do with the glove that didn't get lost. Cut off the finger of a knit glove. This will be your finger puppet's head and body. Using white craft glue or a hot glue gun, attach eyes, hair, and other details. Characters can be people, animals, insects, dragons, space creatures, or creatures you make up yourself. Craft foam is great for making things like beaks, insect wings, hats, lips, or the ridges on a dragon's back. Costumes can be made from scraps of fabric with ribbons or tiny buttons added with glue. Pipe cleaners are also useful to have. They can be shaped into feelers, whiskers, legs or lips. Use a small piece of pipe cleaner wrapped tightly around a yarn hair braid or ponytail. Googly eyes found in the craft section are good for a finger puppet but extra small buttons will work just as well. You can also make some stick puppet vehicles for your finger puppets to ride in. The more creative you get the more fun it will be.

Stick puppets are a quick and easy project. Smaller children that aren't willing to put in as much time on a project sometime prefer something like this. You'll need craft sticks and materials to make hair, clothing and other details. Your face can be drawn on with colored markers, painted on with a small brush, or created with googly eyes glued on with a nose and mouth drawn on. Scraps of fabric can be used to make clothing. Wrap the cloth around the stick and tie with ribbon or glue it on or add small buttons. Hair can be made with yarn. If you are making older people or men with beards having a few cotton balls will help. Craft foam can also be used in a variety of stick puppet creations. In addition to hats, ears, clothing and accessories, craft foam can be used to create vehicles. Make cars, airplanes, a bus, rocket, or any other shape with a window for your puppet to look through. Attach your cut out vehicle to a craft stick and hold it in front of your puppet. If you're running low on craft foam painted cardboard or poster board will work fine.

Hand puppets will require some basic sewing. For younger crafters I recommend sticking to the glue projects. For the hand puppet you will need felt, paper and pencil, scissors, pins, a darning needle, yarn, white craft glue or a hot glue gun, and materials for a face, ears, hair and accessories. Begin by making your puppet pattern. Place your hand and wrist on the paper with your fingers slightly spread. Trace a wide outline around your hand with indentions coming in at your thumb and between the pinky and ring fingers, creating the puppet's head, body and two arms. Be sure to trace wide enough around your hand and wrist to stitch it properly. Remember that it must still fit over your hand once you stitch inside the edge of your outline. Cut your finished pattern from the paper. You can re-use this pattern later to make more hand puppet characters. Trace your pattern two times on the felt. For lighter colors a pencil will work but you may need to use chalk for darker colors. Cut out your two felt puppet shapes. If you don't have felt other fabrics will work but may not be as durable. If you want to sew anything on the puppet's face it should be done now. Some people choose to sew on button eyes and nose or a stitched mouth, but it's entirely up to you. Once you have finished any sewing you're ready to pin your puppet together. If your puppet needs felt ears cut them out and place them between the pinned pieces. Be sure to pin the ears in place before you go any further. Thread your darning needle with yarn and sew your puppet together. Start at one end and sew around the edge, removing the pins as you come to them. Be careful around the ears to make sure they are far enough in to be attached properly. When you reach the other end, tie a knot and trim your yarn. When you put your hand inside the pinky finger and your thumb become the character's arms. Now you can add any other details you need to glue on. To make your puppet hold things in its hand or paw you can use some sticky backed Velcro. Place the bristly side of the Velcro onto the pad or palm of the hand. Use small pieces of the other side of the Velcro to stick on the items you want to be picked up. If you create things out of felt for your puppet to hold you won't need to attach any Velcro to them. Felt should easily stick to the bristly side of the Velcro. Look for items to use for hair, whiskers, clothing, a bowtie, googly-eyes, or anything else you may think of. Be sure you allow plenty of time for your glued-on items to dry. This is a good time to start working on a stage for the puppet show!

To create a tabletop box stage you will need a cardboard box about 2 feet wide. You'll also need packing or wide masking tape, construction paper or paints and brushes, crayons or markers, a straightedge or ruler, a craft knife and an adult to help with cutting your box.

First the box must be cut to the appropriate size for the stage. This is the part an adult should take care of. The sides of the box need to be trimmed down to 8 to 10 inches high. Turn the box onto its side so the bottom of the box is facing out. A hole cut in the bottom later will become the stage opening itself. On one of the long sides a wide notch will need to be cut. This will be the bottom of the stage where children will need more room to work from behind. You will be cutting the notch out in the shape of a wide trapezoid. This will help keep the bottom of the stage stable. Do not start cutting from the corner of the box. A few inches in from the left side you will make a forward slant cut at approximately a 45-degree angle. Your cut should reach in toward the front of the stage about halfway to the stage front. On the right side you will come in a few inches and make the same cut in the opposite direction, like a backslash. Draw a line from the first cut (looks like / ) to the second cut (like \ ). Cut along the line. Your finished notch will resemble /----\, with the straight dotted line in the center connecting the slashes at their tops. Now for the stage - with a ruler draw a large rectangle on the box's bottom. Leave enough room around the rectangle opening for the stage to be decorated. When you cut out the rectangle you will most likely have to cut through two layers of box flaps. For stability, you will need to tape the loose edges and seams once you have finished removing the rectangle. Use tape to reinforce seams or anything that you think may look a bit weak. Once taped, sit your box with the notched side down. It should now resemble a stage. The rest of the work is up to the children.

Decorating the stage leaves plenty of room for creativity. If you choose to use paint to decorate it remember that paint on cardboard may take quite a while to dry enough to play with. A quicker method is to use construction paper to cover the box and crayons or markers to draw your decorations on. How you decorate the stage is up to you. You could choose the traditional red curtain hanging over and on the sides of the stage or you may decide to create a setting with the stage itself. If your puppets are forest animals you may want to draw trees with branches and leaves to create a forest. Maybe your puppets are space creatures and you want the stage front to resemble outer space or the inside of an alien spaceship. Just have fun with it.

For a stage that's a little more elaborate try the doorway stage. There are two ways to do this. The first method takes a little more work than the second but the kids usually enjoy it best.

The first method uses a box stage exactly like the previous one but with a couple of modifications. You will need the supplies for the box stage as well as three tension curtain rods and fabric or old curtains. Follow the box stage directions but after taping and before decorating you'll need to cut four holes for two the tension rods to go through. The holes should be centered as near the top and bottom of the box as possible. While your child is busy decorating the stage you can create a simple curtain for the other tension rod to hang beneath the stage. This curtain will hide all of the "behind-the-scenes" work. If you're using an old curtain simply thread it onto the third tension rod and you're done. If you are using fabric that you have cut to the desired length just fold one end over leaving enough room for the rod to fit through it once stitched. If you'd rather not sew, small bits of Velcro can be used to hold the fabric around the tension rod. When finished, hang the stage in the doorway using the tension rods to hold it in place. Put the curtain directly beneath it, as close to the bottom of the box as possible. Really crafty kids will probably want to decorate the curtain too.

A simpler doorway stage consists of two curtains, one longer and the other shorter. You will only need two tension rods for this method. The shorter curtain will hang above the longer one. Split the shorter top curtain in the center so it can be opened to create the stage. The lower curtain will conceal your little puppeteer.

With or without a stage, puppets can provide hours of fun. Rainy days can become creativity days. Let the kids' imaginations run wild and you never know what they'll come up with!

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