Make a Nature Puppet

Puppet play invites kids to experiment with a range of emotions, and allows adults to model empathy in a gentle and playful way. In this activity, kids use nature treasures, socks, markers, and glue to create puppets that can be used to explore emotions and body language.

The Guide

Step 1: Gather puppet making materials.

Gather an old sock, some lightweight nature treasures (e.g. leaves, small sticks, flower petals), some markers and some glue.

Step 2: Invite kids to make a puppet.

Show your child the materials you gathered and ask, "Do you think we could turn this sock into a puppet?"

Welcome kids to arrange and glue treasures on to their sock to make the features of their puppet. Wonder together what materials they could use to make eyes, a nose, mouth, hair and any other features they would like to add. Leave your puppet in the sun to dry.

Step 3: Explore emotions and body language.

Once the puppet is dry, invite your child to tell you all about their puppet friend and how it is feeling today.  How can the puppet show how it is feeling with its body? Invite kids to move their puppet in different ways to show the six universal human emotions (happy, sad, angry, scared, surprised, disgusted).

Extend Play!

  • Gather a few more socks and put on a puppet show together. Can you tell a story about a time when your puppet was feeling sad, happy, surprised, etc?
  • Dance with your puppet friend. How do different songs make the puppet feel?
  • Make a cozy space for your puppet friend to feel safe and calm.

Why is this activity great for kids?

The process of making a puppet activates creativity and problem solving skills and produces a "friend" that kids can use anywhere. Exploring how the puppet expresses emotions through movement and body language supports emotional empathy. As kids engage in puppet play, they try on different personas and emotions as they build their cognitive empathy skills.

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