For the budget-conscious (all of us?!) here is a quick narrative on making your own puppets from inexpensive stuffed animals.
This is a stuffed animal I bought recently at a garage sale. I was drawn to this prairie dog since our upcoming Summer Reading Program theme is "Dig Into Reading"! "He would make a great puppet for storytimes!", I thought.
Most stuffed animals have a seam that runs along their belly and/or between their legs. Find that seam and carefully snip the threads until you have an opening.
Here I have started to split the seam. You can see the white stuffing.
Start pulling out the stuffing material. I opted to leave all the stuffing in his hind legs, since my fingers will not be manipulating them. I also left the stuffing in his head and some at the very tip of his front legs. This is to retain the shape of the head and legs. NOTE: If you leave any stuffing intact, be sure to closely supervise your child so that the remaining material is not pulled out and ingested.
Here he is with the stuffing removed. The body cavity is now empty. Check to make sure the opening is large enough for your hand.
He doesn't sit up as well now, having lost the stuffing in his tummy, but hopefully he will really come to life when I use my fingers to operate his head and front feet. Look for him (or her? I haven't come up with a name yet.) this summer at our Reading Rocks Storytimes on Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10 AM!