To begin, you have to decide what type of puppets you want to use. Possibly the easiest would be the sock puppet type. You just get some socks, glue on some eyes, draw in some extra features to make up interesting characters, and you're good to go. If your kids are extremely young, namely 3 and below years old, these will be better. Marionettes are more for older kids who can appreciate the craftsmanship behind them. Also, you can do shadow puppets as well, especially if you're doing folk tales.
Speaking of tales, have you thought of one yet? Well, if you want to put on a good show, your story is vital! It will keep your kids entertained and invested in your show. And you don't even have to look for complex ones. Just open up a storybook and you'll have your plot. Your story will also help you decide what type of puppets to use. For fairytales with princesses and knights, for instance, marionettes are better. But for nursery rhymes with animals, hand or sock puppets are more suitable.
Now, it's time to work! Prepare your materials for your puppets. For sock puppets, get some old (but clean and fresh) socks, googly eyes, some pens, and a needle and thread if you want to dress them up. The same goes for hand puppets too, but if you want the sort that looks like a Muppet, better to buy one in the store instead. For marionettes, prepare the strings, some wood, and even a doll to be your puppet.
Once you have everything you need, start making your puppets. You can get your kids in on the fun too. For your little ones that are 4 years old and above, they'll enjoy making this arts & crafts project with you. You can let them glue the googly eyes onto the socks, draw the rest of the faces on them, and many more. When doing shadow puppets, you can help them cut up the silhouettes out of black art paper and connect them to your stick handles.
Now that you have your puppets, start making your theater. It won't that much of a puppet show if you're just going to work off of a table. Give your kids more of a spectacle than that! Go find some big cardboard, some felt fabric if you have a swell, and make a theater. You're going to need a stage, curtains, and some backdrops too. All these elements, while they may seem too much, will actually help your kids keep invested in your show.
Remember that, even though it's just to entertain your kids, this is still a show. So it won't hurt if you add some lights to it. Go get your lamps and position them just right that, when you turn them on, your stage will be highlighted. In fact, the presence of the light can really help you emphasize parts of the story too. And if you went for a shadow puppet show, of course, light is essential to show off your shadow silhouettes.
It wouldn't be a show without some music. And in fact, your job is made a lot easier if you have music. If you want to make your show into a musical, you can just let the music player give life to your puppets. It might be a lot better than you singing to your kids from behind the puppet theater. With music, you'll mostly just have to move the puppets around in sync with the tunes and that's basically it.
Finally, don't forget to enjoy. Sure, you worked your butt off to make the puppets, the stage, organize the music, and so on. But you can't deny that all of that can be fun, especially if you let your kids help. The work is half the fun. It helps you, and your kids, get creative, improve your arts & crafts skills, and improvise when something goes wrong. And when you hear your kids’ laughter while you're performing your puppets, you'll know all your efforts were worth it!
Have nothing to do while you're staying safe and healthy at home? Why not put on a puppet show? These simple and easy steps will show you that it's not really hard to do and it's loads of fun! Plus, it'll really entertain your kids!