Zoo animal puppets help children learn about different species in their local zoo, endangered species, or animals and creatures from other parts of the world. Creating their own puppets, children develop skills such as reading comprehension, animal science, and a variety of art processes.
A Flock and a Herd
Create a flock of flamingos and a herd of hippos by using whole gloves, two per child. Paint the fingers of one glove pink. Glue feathers, eyes, and craft foam beaks on all five fingers to make flamingo heads and necks. Paint the second glove grey. Glue a craft foam grey hippo face and two large hippo teeth, as well as eyes and ears, onto each finger of the glove for five hippos. The glove puppet idea can be used with other herd or flock creatures that might be found in a zoo.
Design walking finger puppets with three by five inch index cards. Turn the cards so they are five inches tall. Along the bottom end (three-inch end), cut two holes for children to fit their fingers through. Glue magazine cutouts of zoo animals, one on each index card. Trim the excess from the card so just the picture shows--leaving the bottom end with the holes intact. A child can make the animals walk by putting her fingers through the holes and moving in a walking motion.
Toilet-Tissue-Tube Finger Puppets
Cut a slit in several toilet-tissue tubes from top to bottom. Create different zoo animals with paints, crayons, markers, construction paper, and craft foam. For example, to make a giraffe, fold the tube tightly and tape to make a long, thin neck; paint or colour the neck yellow; glue on brown spots, eyes, ears, and horns. A lion will need a mane. Cut the tube about halfway down about every one-half inch. Roll the strips of cardboard tube outward for the mane. Tape the slit in the tube closed and paint or colour the lion's face below the curled mane.
Felt or Paper Finger Puppets
Cut two matching sizes of paper or felt, about three inches tall and two inches wide. Round off the top of each pair of matching pieces. Place a bead of glue on the side edges of one piece, then press the other piece on, to form a tube that is open at the bottom. This tube creates the finger puppet. The finger puppets become zoo animals with art materials such as felt or paper pieces, yarn, craft eyes, craft foam, feathers, and other craft items.
PVC Pipe Animals
Short pieces of PVC plastic pipe make sturdy finger puppets. Wide pieces are needed so that the children's fingers don't get stuck inside the ends. Provide a variety of short lengths of pipe, as well as connectors to connect the pipes. The animals puppets can be decorated with permanent markers, or glue on paper, felt, craft foam, feathers, craft eyes, and other craft materials. The children glue the PVC pipe pieces together when they form their animals, or leave the parts loose to use the pieces as a 'finger puppet connect and build' set.