Top 10 Best Hand Puppets | Highly Recommended in 2021
In today’s competitive world, being book smart is not enough. The most successful children will be those who have developed crucial life skills, such as communication and social skills. However, we are living in a digital era where finding ways to bond with your child and help them develop these skills has become challenging.
Luckily, puppets can come to your rescue! They are fun and effective in helping your child develop the skills mentioned earlier. By playing with dolls, your kids can develop many more capabilities, such as spatial intelligence and creative thinking.
Considering the numerous kinds of puppets available, determining the best hand puppet may be overwhelming. Which one should you buy and what features do need to look out for?
Below is an outline of our top 10 hand puppets and what you should consider before buying.
Top 10 Best Hand Puppets Reviews
1. WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Song Puppet with Tempo Control
If you are a parent or someone who works with kids, you must be familiar with baby shark hit song by now—Baby Shark (doo doo, do-do doo doo)! It is a kids’ favorite around the world!
Now, how about bringing it to life? I bet that would be a priceless gift for your kids—even the unborn ones! Yes, this song has all the qualities of a baby song that can make your babies gleam, keep them clam, and also make them chuckle.
With this baby shark dummy, you can play the entire baby shark song by manipulating its mouth using your hands. Moreover, there is a special tempo control feature which you can use to slow down or speed up the song.
The baby shark dummy is intended for more mature children as moving its mouth is challenging and tiresome. For greater ease, however, you can also play the song by pressing the button at the upper part of the doll’s mouth.
Want to have the entire baby shark family? No problem. There are mommy and daddy shark versions of the puppet as well. All dummies play the entire song and have duplicate features!
To ensure the doll is comfortable for your kids’ hands, manufacturers have made it using soft material. At 7.8 ounces, it is also light, so your kids can easily move it around and have a great deal of fun in the process.
How about a scary but charismatic friend? Whether you are tutoring kids at school or at home, this smooth and cozy Aurora dinosaur puppet has got you.
It is an incomplex design with two tiny arms and a large teethed mouth that makes for the perfect gesturing. Kids can make up and down motions of the dinosaur’s mouth and also come up with creative moves.
The dinosaur dummy also boasts of very high quality. For durability, its material is sturdy and well sewn. It is also extremely lightweight at 0.8 ounces, so your kids will not tire as they play with it. The puppet is a great choice when you are looking for the best hand puppet at a budget.
When it comes to cleaning, avoid a machine wash and go for a simple hand wash.
3. The Original Melissa & Doug Zoo Friends Hand Puppets
It is no secret that kids adore zoos. Watching animals roaming around and interacting is truly fascinating. Zoo animals present a learning experience like no other for children, and zoo puppets can help them grasp animal behavior and vocabulary.
There is plenty for your little ones to learn, as the puppet collection includes an elephant, a giraffe, a tiger, and a monkey. Adults can also wear the puppets.
How can you get creative with these puppets? For one, you pick one dummy and tell your children to name and imitate its sounds. You can also hold different puppets and speak to each other as you act out.
Your kids will love the smooth fabric on these puppets. It is exceptionally comfortable and cuddly. Each animal has bright colors that will breathe life into your kids’ room and playing experience. They are easily washable, so you do not have to get too concerned about them getting dirty.
You can gift this collection of dummies to your 2 to 6-year-olds. They weigh 2 ounces each, making it a total of only 8 ounces.
4. Aurora Hand Puppet 10" Garth
A dog is man’s best friend, but what if you can wear one on your hand wherever you go? The Aurora dog puppet is the ultimate puppet for dog lovers. It is small, glove-like, and incredibly smooth; making it a comfortable companion when you need a friend to cuddle on.
This cute puppy dog is beautiful to behold, with its pink tongue and sizeable brown eyes. It has one of the finest furry skins. It can, therefore, survive years of friction before your children or pets finally manage to rip it apart.
Do you train or entertain kids? The Aurora puppet is cut out for an adult hand. Teachers, parents, pediatricians, or anyone who works with kids can wear it. While moving its expressive mouth by hand, you can get very creative with your training.
Do you own a pet cat or puppy?
Your pets will adore this puppy dummy. Thanks to its strong material, you can still expect your puppet to survive your pets’ nibbling and constant terrorizing.
The puppet weighs only 3.36 ounces, making it manageable for your 3 to 15-year-old.
5. Schylling Shark Hand Puppet SHP
Many parents are forced to buy a shark dummy after watching the hilarious and irresistible videos of shark puppets YouTube. The puppet can be a source of endless fun around your home.
Even adults can use the shark dummy to make countless facial expressions as it fits on a medium adult hand. Moreover, you can also make it ‘eat’ different kinds of things for extra entertainment.
One of the puppet’s unique features is its stretchable rubber material. Your child will find it easy to make as many gestures as his or her creativity allows.
Thanks to its rubber material, you can enjoy effortless cleaning, unlike cloth puppets.
You can also use it in water, but it gets very sticky.
Did you know that many parents use the shark puppet to decorate their kids’ birthday cakes? What you need to do is to bury it inside the cake, so that only a part of its head appears at the top. Ensure you stuff it with tissue paper so that it does not topple over.
According to the manufacturer’s caution, the shark dummy is unsafe for kids below the age of three.
6. Aurora - Hand Puppet - 12" Bandit
Almost everyone loves soft and cuddly puppies. With the Aurora puppet, you and your family can enjoy authentic pet experience.
It has a cute and welcoming face. Your kids will quickly become fond of it, more so because of its supple fur that will keep them cuddling all day. It is, however, best for kids over 3 years, going up to 15 years. You can also use it to tutor your kids as its opening is large enough to accommodate an adult hand.
The pawn delivers when it comes to quality. It has excellent stitching which makes it sturdy. Yes, even your cat will find a friend in the aurora puppet thanks to its durability.
Once the dummy gets dirty, its manufacturer advises surface washing over machine washing to avoid damaging its material.
The puppet is very light at 4.8 ounces; hence it is accommodating to young kids. While its mouth may be a little bit wooden and stiff, you can move it to imitate speaking. Its soft paws and arms are also movable, so you can create a variety of expressions and gestures.
7. Melissa & Doug Chef Puppet With Detachable Wooden Rod
If you have a child who is enthusiastic about anything food and kitchen, you can gift them with this unique and adorable chef puppet.
Let Chef ‘Alfredo’ become your kid’s biggest companion when he or she needs to show some cookhouse authority! For all SuperMarioLogan (SML) fans, this is the puppet that will excite your kids. Its chucklesome face can brighten even your dullest days.
The chef pawn wears a uniform white coat. Around its neck is a bandana. On its head lies an unremovable white cap. It also holds a removable rod. To create expressions, your child will move the rod with one hand and the dummy’s body parts with the other.
The stick is detachable; hence your child can transfer it from the left to the right hand and vice versa. Whether you are right-handed or you primarily use your left hand, you can use the Aurora pawn without hassle.
Manufacturers have used superior materials to put together the dummy. That, coupled with quality stitching, allow it to last for years as it can withstand pressure. The puppet is also relatively light, weighing only 7.2 ounces.
Manufacturers recommend usage for ages between 3 and 15. With this dummy, your child can build excellent communication skills. They can also master coordination skills as they match facial and body expressions.
8. Melissa & Doug Police Officer Puppet
While many parents might hesitate to gift their children an authority pawn, you should not. Change things up a little by making your kids feel like they are in control. Let them call the shots with a quality police officer dummy!
They can use one hand to manipulate the hand and face and the other to gesture with the removable rod. The stick is exchangeable between both hands.
If your kid is a talented puppeteer who loves to perform for audiences, he or she will find the Melissa and Doug police officer puppet useful. At less than 8 ounces in weight, this dummy is light, hence easy to move about while gesturing.
You can add this police pawn to your family of puppets to create more fun and drama.
From its remarkable outfit to the handstick and hair, the puppet is a combination of quality and functionality. It will survive constant use, thanks to its top-notch materials.
Did I mention its adorable face? You can gift the police dummy to your kids who are between 3 and 15 years, and they’ll love it!
9. Zoo and Farm Five-Finger Animal Hand Puppets with Arms and Legs
How about teaching your kids some domestic and wild animal lessons using 12 budget hand puppets?
These five-finger puppets are best for use where you want to train a bunch of kids, like in classroom setting. The 12 dummies can create a zoo-like environment and liven your kids’ imaginations.
Your little ones who are above 3 years, will enjoy these very lightweight puppets. Each of the glove-like puppets has four ‘legs’ where you position your fingers. The middle finger enters the pocket situated in their heads.
These dozen puppets are best suited for tiny hands, but there are a few hacks for ways that adults who want to use them as well!
First, the four legs seem a bit odd, sink two legs into the puppets’ body so that you only have two. You can also choose between the top and bottom legs. If you want to gesture with the top legs, squeeze the bottom ones into the dummy and grasp them on your palm using the thumb finger. That will help you keep them in place.
To create movements with the bottom legs, infix the top ones and control the pawn’s head with the middle and pointing fingers. Working with the bottom legs works for longer for animals like the giraffe.
10. 14" Tommy, Peach Boy, Hand Puppet
Are you the lookout for a puppet that will give you fun and open your kids up to greater creativity? If so, you need to get yourself the 14" Tommy, Peach Boy, Hand Puppet.
The manufacturer recommends it for kids who are between 3 and 10 years. It can also fit into most adult hands. For those who love using fun methods to teach your kids—this marionette that will keep them attentive.
Your kids will fall in love with its expressive mouth, hair that sways in the wind, and the cute and friendly face. Its clothes are also removable.
To move the puppet, insert your hand from the puppet’s bottom. Your little finger and thumb finger will operate the hands, while you can use the rest of your fingers to move the mouth.
At a height of 14” and a weight of 8 ounces, this pawn is relatively light and maneuverable. Have fun without worrying about carrying lots of weight around.
Superb quality, ease of use, attention to detail, and great aesthetics are what this economical dummy is all about. It is an adequately qualified home toy for use by an entire family.
Things to Consider Before Buying Hand Puppet
As you have seen, the market presents a variety of hand puppets. All these come with different features and functionality. So, what should you consider before you buy a hand puppet? Below are several pointers.
1. What You Will Be Using It For
The purpose of use should be your first consideration. The size and functionality of the puppet you choose will depend on your intended use.
If you want to teach children or you are a pediatrician, size matters a lot. Also, if you are a parent who wants to tutor your children from home, size becomes a huge determining factor for the kind of puppet you choose.
To determine the size of the puppet, look out for dimensions. Stretchable puppets are also great as the size can adjust to fit an adult hand.
Another consideration would be whether the manufacturer recommends the puppet for theatre audiences or only as a fun toy at home.
If you intend to use the puppet in a theatre setting, then it also needs to be very lightweight as you will carry its weight for long.
When you want a very expressive toy with movable arms, legs, and mouth, you have to consider a puppet that is very flexible. Some toys are limited in movement because of the stiffness of the material used to make them.
Acquiring safe toys for your kids is a necessity you cannot ignore. Kids’ skin is very sensitive to foreign material, so you need to choose puppets made of materials that are safe and non-toxic. Puppets made from plush are perfect for very young kids to play with and cuddle.
For plastics and other hard material, ensure that you buy for the ages that are recommended by manufacturers. Good quality puppets are usually tested as per the safety rules of the countries in which manufacturers plan to sell them.
These safety tests include mechanical tests that ensure that the nose and mouth do not come out during a fall, burn and inflammatory tests, and toxicity tests. Before buying a product, read the safety and danger precautions indicated by the manufacturer.
Children play with puppets frequently, throwing them around and terrorizing them. If you have pets, they can contribute to the deterioration of your puppets even faster. That is why you should consider the strength of the material that manufacturers have used to make a puppet.
The best hand puppet should have sturdy materials that can withstand pressure, friction, and last for years; giving you value for the money.
We know how messy children can get. If you want to keep your puppet looking good always, you should be able to wash it easily when it gets dirty. Some puppets are machine washable, while others need hand washing.
Either way, ensure that you are comfortable with the washing methods that your puppet requires.
You need to consider the price of a puppet, including the shipping and any additional costs that could be associated with the product.
You can find a quality budget toy that meets your needs if you look around. However, cheap isn’t always good. You should consider price in combination with other features such as durability and safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Do I Hold A Hand Puppet?
Holding a hand puppet is easy. Place your four fingers (pinky, middle, pointing, and ring fingers) close together and let them face a downward position.
Your thumb should be underneath the four fingers. It should be facing up and lying parallel to your four fingers.
When you insert your hand into the puppet, the four fingers should go into the puppet’s upper jaw and your thumb into the lower jaw.
2. How Do I Clean A Stuffed Pet?
Stuffed pets are cuddly darlings. Not until they get dirty and you wonder how you will restore their lost glory. Puppets made from materials such as foam beads, fur, wool, polystyrene, mohair, or excelsior should be kept out of the washer.
Before you start cleaning a stuffed puppet, check manufacturer recommendations on how to clean. Most stuffed puppets are surface washable.
Surface washing requires the use of a soft material dipped in water to wipe the outer surface of the puppet gently. You can also clean the fur gently with a wide-bristled brush. There are lots of detergents in the market made for cleaning stuffed animals.
Some stuffed dummies are machine washable. You can get the cleaning information from the manufacturer’s label tag.
For machine washing, start by removing all the puppet accessories. Secondly, place the puppet in a pillowcase and tie it with a shoestring to ensure it does not come out. Use a gentle cycle and a mild detergent to clean your puppet.
Once you have cleaned, you need to find the best way to dry them so that they do not stay damp for days and develop a smell. Air drying is the slowest way to get them to dry. Alternative methods like placing them in a humidifier, using a blow drier, or placing them in a drying machine would work better.
3. How Do I Use My Puppet Arm Rod?
Arm rods help you move the arms of your puppet to create more expression. If your dummy has two arm rods, you can hold them as you would hold chopsticks.
Keeping the arms in a neutral position touching each other is best, instead of holding them up or flaring them around as they can be distracting.
Alternatively, you can work with one arm and leave the other in a neutral position for a more natural look.
4. How Do I Disinfect My Stuffed Animal Without Cleaning It?
Stuffed animals take forever to dry, so it is easy to understand why you may not want to clean your puppet often. Some cleaning materials are also toxic; the more reason you may want to avoid them altogether.
Baking soda is a fantastic disinfectant and cleaning agent. Pour half a cup of baking soda into a plastic bag and place your puppet in the bag. Squeeze the air out, leaving enough space for the puppet to move as you toss the bag.
Close the top of the bag and shake it up and down. Keep the puppet in for fifteen minutes. After, remove the puppet and brush the baking soda away using a soft and wide bristled brush. You can also pat the puppet with your hands to get rid of the remaining dirt and baking soda. Do not inhale the baking soda.
If you do not want to use baking soda, look for EPA-registered disinfectants that are safe for fabrics.
5. How Much Does A Hand Puppet Cost?
You can find a hand puppet for as little as $8 to as much as $40 or more. The prices vary based on puppet quality and features. Low-cost puppets, however, do not signify low quality.
Additional charges that may apply include shipping rates, which depend on the weight of the item. You may have to pay more for international shipping.
While puppets are great for kids, having a puppet is not just about your child. Puppets can also keep you company in the lone of your home.
Puppets come in different shapes, colors, and sizes. When choosing the best hand puppets, think about why you want one and check if your puppet of choice matches the intended purpose.
Go for a puppet that is within your budget. But don’t ignore features like size, material durability, and safety.
Puppets are serving as a new way to distract kids from the digital world and create valuable bonding time for families. Apart from being fun, these creative designs can help your child develop much-needed skills such as communication, coordination, and motor skills.
Even as an adult, do not shy away from investing in a quality hand puppet for your own use! Puppets are your next best alternative if you are not a big fan of living pets.