Recycling plastic bottles into puppets not only provides children with an entertaining and creative project for an afternoon, it also teaches them to look at discards in a new way. Old rope can serve as a puppet's arms; leftover dowels can create a puppet's arm controls. Even the fabric for the costume can be cut from a discarded sheet or dress. Repurposing everyday items is an effective way to keep trash out of our landfills, an important concept for everyone.
Cut 25 pieces of yarn into seven inch lengths. Hot glue the yarn pieces to the top of a styrofoam ball so that it falls evenly on every side of the ball. This creates the puppet's hair. Cut the yarn on 1/4 of the ball to make fringe. Glue googly eyes to the ball to make a face. Cut a nose out of orange felt and a mouth out of red felt, and glue them to the face.
Use the utility knife to cut off the bottom two inches of the plastic water bottle. Slide a dowel through the bottle. Push the styrofoam ball head on top of the dowel. Drill a hole in the wooden ball large enough to slide the dowel through it. Slide the wooden ball up the dowel until it rests just below the neck of the bottle. Pull off the head. Measure the distance from the top of the dowel to the wooden ball. Mark the sides of the bottle just below the wooden ball. Remove both from the bottle. Hot glue the wooden ball in place on the dowel.
Tie the rope around the dowel, just below the wooden ball, making sure the rope on each side of the knot is roughly the same length. Find the marks on either side of the bottle. Cut slits one inch long on either side of the bottle. Put the dowel back in the bottle so that the wooden ball sits just beneath the neck. Put one piece of rope through the slit to serve as the puppet's arm. Repeat on other side.
Cut a circle out of fabric 36 inches in diameter. Cut a two inch hole in the centre of the circle. Slide the centre circle over the bottle's neck. This is the puppet's costume. Create slits in the fabric so that the rope arms can be pulled through. Put hot glue on the top of the dowel and slide the styrofoam head back.
Cut two 3/16-inch dowels so that they are each 18" long. Drill holes about one inch from the end of each dowel. Feed the end of the rope through the hole you have just drilled. Tie a knot to hold them in place. Cut hand shapes out of felt large enough to cover the knot when glued on the dowel. Use hot glue to attach the felt hands to the dowel, next to to the knot.
Use the centre dowel in one hand to control the head, turning it. Hold the smaller dowels in the other hand to control the arms.