Recycled Puppets

3, 4, 5

Young people make puppets out of recycled materials. They use their creativity to come up with a movable puppet that represents a character in their puppet play.

PrintOne 50-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • work cooperatively to design the puppets that represent the characters in the puppet play.
  • variety of items recycled from home: paper towel rolls, Styrofoam, plastic ware, fabric scraps (old clothes), yarn, old buttons, old socks, plastic containers (dish soap works great), broom handles, dowels, old CDs, dryer lint (makes great stuffing for puppet heads) 
  • craft supplies: hot glue gun and glue, markers, scissors, needle and thread, buttons
  • Online examples of various types of puppets: stick, sock, finger, pop-up
  • Kennedy, John E. Puppet Mania. North Light Books, 2004. ISBN: 1581803729
  • Ross, Laura. Hand Puppets: How to Make and Use Them. Dover Publications, 1990. ISBN: 0486261611


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Show examples of different types of puppets: sock puppet, stick puppet, pop-up puppet, hand puppet and others you have available. Pass the examples around to analyze how the puppets are put together, how to use the puppets to communicate a feeling, expression or idea. Show some online examples of how to make sock and stick puppets from recycled materials. Discuss why recycled puppets are good for a play about the environment. 

  2. Set up some guidelines for puppet construction. Each person should make at least one puppet. Tell the groups to plan together carefully to make sure each character in the script is represented by a puppet. Assist and guide their work to ensure the puppets are sturdy/well supported and can move freely.

  3. When the puppet construction is done, young people sit in a circle with their puppets. They introduce their puppets to the whole group by manipulating the puppets and using their puppet voices/characters. They should name the type of puppet and explain what recycled materials were reused to create the puppet.