1. Folkmanis Puppets
2. Oriental Trading
Go to Oriental Trading.com and enter "Puppets" in the search box at the top of the page. They have low priced and acceptable puppets. But you have to buy a dozen or so. Check it out before
deciding. You could spend the same money for only one or two puppets. Also, they are smaller puppets, fitting kid's hands better than adults'.
3. Amazon.com Go to Amazon and search for puppets. What's available varies.
4."Plush Puppets" have some interesting puppets. You'll find some at Amazon, but you'll find even more if you do a web search for them.
5. Also do a web search just for "Puppets" to see what's currently available. Puppets come and go on the web. If you see one you like, grab it up. It may not be there tomorrow. Use different search engines to find obscure sites.
Make your own Puppets:
1. Unstuff a stuffed toy and make it work for a child's hand. Give a thought to what you want the hand to work (puppets hands, maybe mouth) and how you want the hand to enter the puppet. With the Teddy Bear I pulled out enough fill to work the puppet and still let it keep its stuffed form. But a look on the internet says fiber fill stuffing is a good home for dust mites.
Stuffed toys might need all of the fill removed and they might need to be washed. But, if you can address all the health concerns you can think of, there are all kinds of stuffed toys lying around unused. Bringing them to life as cute puppets will give them added life, and hours of fun for the puppeteer.
2. Make a sock puppet with a white sock. Use a black magic marker to draw the puppet's features. Maybe mix in a little red (cheeks, eyes, inside of mouth). Other colors don't show up very well.
Art supply stores have eyes and other add ons, if you want to spiff it up. Search "sock puppets" for more specific information.
3. If you like to sew, make your own from scratch with a pattern by searching the web for "Puppet Patterns."
Trying to find a puppet script presents difficulties because of the differences between what you might want, and what's available. Also, you only get a description of what the play's
about. You can't really see it before you buy it-- for obvious reasons.
The best thing would be to learn how to write your own plays and/or teach your kids how to create their own. One way to do that is by getting the "Teacher's Pak" (description available here)). The Pak has a treasure chest of teaching aids and other useful resources to draw from. It was put together for those interested in creating puppet clubs and teaching puppetry as a way to have a Work at Home job. But the Pak can also be useful for school teachers, or moms and dads who just want to teach their own kids and get them started with puppetry. If you can get the kids interested, Puppetry has a great potential for encouraging and inspiring them to learn on their own.
The Teacher's Pak includes the dialogue for twenty-eight puppet plays of various lengths.
Another option would be to take advantage of the 15 puppet scripts of plays performed on the DVD, "Playing With Puppets" available here: DVD.
Puppet play scripts by site creator and author, RC Scott, for individual Puppeteers, Puppet Clubs and classrooms can be found here.
You can also do a web search for "Puppet Play Scripts" to see what's currently available.
Click here to watch puppeteer Shari Lewis and her puppet Lamb Chop on YouTube
Search YouTube for puppet shows, but you might want to watch them first before letting the kids watch them. A child going to YouTube should have parental supervision.
There are a lot of Muppet movies available at Netflix and on YouTube.
PVC Puppet Theater:
White, one inch, pvc pipe and connectors can be found at Home Depot, Loews, hardware stores, plumbing supply stores, or online. If you understand the basic idea and the fundamental building
blocks, you can make your theater suit your needs.
There are many different forms you can build, but for now let's look at a three-sided theater. It can be short for a child to put their hands up to the "stage," or it can be the child's height. (The
child stands behind a curtain.)
Stage height is a consideration. You might need to experiment to see what's comfortable.
A short theater doesn't need a canopy. It is simply three walls. Check out
the illustrations below. The 90 degree connectors are called "three way 90 degree". It's the corner illustrated below.These connectors bring the corners together. The corners at the very back are just "90 degree corners."
Decide how high and wide you want to build your walls. Find out what length pvc pipes come in and how many you'll need. You'll need a way to saw the pipes. When you're getting the connectors check out what other connectors are available. With four "T connectors," four more 90 degree corners, and whatever length of pipe it takes you can add a canopy to this short theater. You can build all types of square forms with pvc pipes and connectors. Draw your idea for a theater on a piece of paper. Identify the needed connectors and label pipe lengths. Add at least an inch and a half to each pipe to go into the connectors.
Be forewarned: If you pound the pipe into the connector,
it may be difficult to get it out again. Too loose and it will fall apart. This presents a difficulty in terms of getting equal sides. One pipe may go into its connectors deeper than another pipe.
With the front wall built determine how wide you want the sides. They'll be the same height as the front. They need to be long enough to stabilize the theater and keep it from tipping over.
(When you cut the one inch pipe to length, file off the cut end so it doesn't gouge or scratch
Pipes slide or twist out when you want to take the theater apart. Sometimes you might need channel locks (a tool), or a jar lid opener to twist the pipe out, depending on how tight it got put in.
Cover the front and
sides with whatever cloth you have. You could even use bathroom towels. (Sticky Velcro is useful in keeping the cloth pieces together and in place.)
The "Playing With Puppets" DVD. has other ideas for home theaters.