Garden Critter Puppets

Stir up the imagination in the garden with a charming, handmade puppet show.

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Photo By: Photo by Ruth Meharg

Garden Puppets

Grab the kids and some craft supplies this summer and make some garden puppets. These sweet paper critters are easy to make and just right for a backyard puppet show. Kids can design them, color them and assemble them. Then all you need is a tree or bush for a stage, and the possibilities are endless.


To make your garden puppets you will need card stock or other stiff paper, scissors and glue, a pen or pencil, and paint, markers or your favorite coloring materials. You'll also need a series of different sized round items to trace. Drinking glasses, lids, bottles, thimbles and many other household items work great! In addition, you'll need a few sticks or skewers to finish your puppets.

Tracing A Snail

The first step to creating your puppets is drawing or tracing a circle. Lay your round item down and trace around it with a pencil. For a snail you will need one large circle for the shell, and a smaller circle for the head. Draw the rest of the snail's body free hand. Erase the parts of the circle you don't need, indicated here with a dotted line.

Coloring Your Shapes

Once you have traced out the basic shapes, color them in with your choice of materials. You can use paint, markers, colored pencils, crayons or anything else you can think of. Don't worry too much about getting all the color perfectly inside the lines, you can trim it down in the next step.

Cut Out Your Shapes

Once you have the basic colors down, cut out the shapes along the lines your originally drew. Trim off any spots where the color went outside the edges.

Glue Your Shapes Together

Once your pieces are cut out, arrange them and glue them together. For the snail place a little bit of glue along his back, and place the shell on top.

Adding Details

Once your pieces are glued together you can decide where to add details. This is a great time to add eyes, textures, patterns and anything else you like. Dots are fun and easy additions to give your critters a little extra character.

Finishing Touches

Once your critter is pieced together and all the paint and glue is dry, you'll need to add a stick to the back to turn it into a puppet! Twigs from the backyard are perfect for this, but skewers or popsicle sticks will work too. Use glue or a piece of tape to attach the stick to the back of your puppet.

Ladybug Shapes

Once you've mastered the snail, it's easy to create a ladybug with just a few more circles. Trace two large circles for the body of your ladybug. Place a medium circle overlapping the first large circle to create a head. Divide the second circle in half for your ladybug's wings. Trace a series of small circles to make your ladybug's spots.

Completed Ladybug

Color and cut out your ladybug shapes. Layer the polka dots on the large wing circle and cut the circle in half. Attach the wings to the ladybug's body by gluing them near the base of the head. If you want to make your ladybug a bit more interactive you can use brads instead of glue to attach your wings. That way they will be able to move.

Bumble Bee Shapes

For a bit more of a challenge, try creating a bumble bee! Trace a large circle for the body, with a smaller circle inside for the head. Trace two more circles for the wings, making them about the same size as the head. Then trace a smaller circle right next to each of them to form the wings. Draw 6 zigzags for legs, you can use a ruler if you want the lines to be perfectly straight.

Finished Bumble Bee

Color and cut out your bumble bee shapes. Don't forget to include the stripes when you are painting the body. Glue the wings near the top of the body, and attach the legs at the bottom, behind the body. Like the ladybug, you can use brads instead of glue if you want all the parts to move.

Hummingbird Shapes

The basic hummingbird shapes start out very similar to the shapes you use for the bee's wings. Start out with 3 medium circles each touching a smaller circle. Create wings with two of these shapes by drawing a long triangle out from the larger circle. Create a body with the third shape by adding another circle where the tail will be. Draw a long, narrow triangle for the beak.

Putting Together a Hummingbird

Color and cut out your pieces and glue the beak to the bird's head. Attach the wings with glue or a brad and add any details. Add the stick the back and your bird is ready to fly.

Robin Shapes

Want to add another garden bird? How about a red-breasted robin? Overlap a large circle and a medium circle to create the body and head. Add a triangular shape for the tail toward the base of the body. Draw a diamond shape for the beak and two feet shapes.

Finished Robin

Color and cut out your robin shapes. Don't forget to add his red breast. Glue the beak and feet on, and add eyes, texture and other details.

Duck Shapes

You can create a cute duck just as easily as a robin. Start out with the same circles for the body and head, but add a tail up at the top. Flatten the back between the head and tail a little. Draw an oval for the beak and two feet. The feet are easy to draw if you start with a diamond shape and curve a couple of lines to make webbed duck feet.

Finished Duck

Color and cut out all of your duck shapes. Glue the beak and feet on. Add eyes and any other details. If you'd like to add a wing, see the chicken in the next step to learn how.

Chicken Shapes

A chicken is very similar to a robin or duck, and only takes a couple more steps. Begin the body in the same way, with overlapping large and medium circles, and add a pointed tail. Flatten the back a bit and draw a diamond for the beak, along with two feet shapes. Create the wing by drawing a circle. Overlap another circle on top to create a crescent shape. Erase the rest of the circle so that you are left with a half moon shape for the wing.

Finished Chicken

Color and cut out all the pieces for your chicken. Glue on the beak and feet. You can glue the wing on, or attach it with a brad so that it moves. Add an eye and any other details or texture you like.

Sheep Shapes

Want to create a larger farm animal? Try a sheep. To create the sheep you will need one large circle for the body and two small circles for the ears. Create the head by placing a medium circle and small circle right next to each other and connecting them with lines. Add points to the small ear circles to create ear shapes. Draw 4 small rectangles for legs.

Finished Sheep

Color and cut out your sheep pieces. Glue on the legs and head. If you want to get creative you can attach the ears with brads so they wiggle, or just glue them on. Now you've got a whole backyard gang for a perfect puppet show.

Finished Puppets

Once all of your puppets are assembled and attached to their sticks, you're ready for a puppet show. Send the kids outside to find the perfect stage and let their imaginations run wild.

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