Hand puppets are a time-honored way of entertaining children of all ages. They’re generally made of soft fabrics or rubbers. Most often, they will resemble some sort of animal or a person. A hand puppet can be made to look like just the animal or person’s head or full body. Both types are operated by one hand that slides inside of the puppet. Full-body versus head puppets will be operated slightly differently since full-body puppets have arms, while a puppet that is just a head will not. Here are a few hand puppets we recommend.
What to Consider in Hand Puppets
Here are a few things to think about before buying hand puppets:
- Quantity: Hand puppets may be sold individually, in pairs, or in sets of three or more at a time. If you only have one child, a single hand puppet may be enough to keep them entertained. If you have several children, want to put on a puppet play with your child, or plan to use the hand puppets on a playdate, you may prefer to buy your puppets as a set.
- Type: Do you prefer animal or human-shaped puppets for your child? Or something different, like aliens, a sock puppet, or beloved cartoon characters? If you want animal puppets, are you thinking of classic zoo animals, fantastical monsters, dinosaurs, or undersea creatures? Do you want a puppet that looks like just an animal or character’s head or a full body with moveable arms? All of these are factors worth considering when buying hand puppets.
- Features: Simple as they might be, there are a few extra features that might be offered by some hand puppets but not by others. For instance, a glove hand puppet may not have a moveable mouth that makes it look like the puppet is talking. Full body hand puppets will have moveable arms and hands and, in rare cases, legs that a glove puppet won’t. Some cloth hand puppets are double-sided, giving you two characters for the price of one. Some hand puppets will have snugger or looser openings than others, too.
Best Overall: Melissa & Doug Safari Buddies Hand Puppets
This is a perfect batch of hand puppets for little ones who are animal lovers. This set features six familiar safari-themed animals: a tiger, elephant, parrot, giraffe, monkey, and zebra. Or, you can buy the same set with four bonus timeless Disney characters. Each of the puppets is made of bright, quality fabric that is soft to the touch and that your child won’t want to stop cuddling with even after playtime is over. They’re also easily washed for convenient cleanup and will fit most adults’ and children’s hands. Designed for kids ages 2 and up, these hand puppets help develop skills like storytelling, creativity, motor skills, and hands-on play.
Melissa & Doug Safari Buddies Hand Puppets, Set of 6 (Elephant, Tiger, Parrot, Giraffe, Monkey, Zebra)
A set of six safari-themed animal hand puppets that are soft and cuddly.
Best Moveable Mouths: JOYIN Animal Friends Hand Puppets
Not all hand puppets have movable mouths, but the ones that do are generally quite popular with children since kids tend to respond well to goofy voices. These animal hand puppets are super soft and are 9 by 8 inches in size, which will fit most kids’ hands. There are six puppets in the set: an elephant, giraffe, lion, bear, raccoon, and monkey. All but the elephant have a moveable mouth, so you or your child can make them talk and make noises to your hearts’ content. They provide kids with a fun and creative way to improve their motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and communication abilities.
Animal Friends Deluxe Kids Hand Puppets with Working Mouth (Pack of 6) for Imaginative Play
A set of six animal hand puppets, five of which have moveable mouths.
Best Double-Sided: Milliard Double-Sided Puppet Family
With these cute double-sided puppets, you get double the fun with every puppet. This set of four full-bodied human puppets is different on each side, so you essentially get eight puppets for the price of four. These four include a mother/nurse puppet, a father/police officer, a girl/chef, and a boy/construction worker, so your child can play with them as a family or as community workers. Just flip one over, and you can create two different puppet shows or plays with the same puppets. Each puppet is 10 inches tall, small enough to fit kids’ hands and large enough that adults can operate them as well. And they’re made of incredibly plush fabric without any extra buttons or choking hazards, so they’re safe for small children and even toddlers.
Milliard 4 Double-Sided Puppet Family of Community Helpers 4 Puppets, 8 Sides
Each of these four puppets is double-sided with a different theme on each side, essentially giving you eight puppets for the price of four.
Best Individual: Yolococa Realistic Animal Hand Puppet
If you prefer individual puppets to a set or simply want to add a new face to your current collection, these animal-head hand puppets are the perfect option. Choose between eight different, very realistic animals, a shark, pig, eagle, Labrador retriever, rainbow unicorn, stegosaurus, alpaca, or elephant. Kids will love making their animals’ mouths open and close or change facial expressions with just a few wiggles of their fingers. The puppets are all made of soft, non-toxic rubber that will allow your child to grip them comfortably for extended periods of time. Each is hand-painted and measures 5.5 inches by 7 inches wide, perfect for children and adult hands alike. They’re great for interactive educational play.
Yolococa Hand Puppet Toys Realistic Latex Animal Shark Instagram Children Toys (Shark)
A single animal-head hand puppet made of soft textured rubber.