From the time my older son was a baby, I’ve always carried small things in my bag to amuse him. When he was very small, I carried a washcloth and a wooden block for him to chew on. When he got older, I kept an assortment of small cars and books in my bag to entertain him during outings and errands. When this assortment occasionally failed to distract and amuse, I turned to other resources which were always available — my fingers. Or, more specifically, finger-plays.
The other day I was entertaining my younger son with one of his favorite finger-plays. He was perfectly entertained by my unadorned fingers, but I wondered to myself whether it might be fun to stitch up some tiny puppets to accompany his favorite little rhyme. No sooner did this thought enter my mind when I decided it must be done!
Scrap paper and pencil for pattern
Small pieces of black, gray, and yellow felt
Black and yellow embroidery floss and a needle
Seed beeds or green embroidery floss for eyes
I started by tracing around my thumb, leaving enough room for a seam allowance.
I used this little newspaper pattern to cut four pieces of black felt. Then I cut out 2 circles of grey felt (3/4 inches across each) and two small triangles of yellow felt.
I sewed each of the small, grey circles onto a black felt piece,
Then stitched on the yellow triangles for beaks,
And added green beads for eyes.
Finally, I sewed the fronts of the puppets to the backs (those other two pieces of black felt which had been cut out…) and added some tiny wings. My toddler took one look at these puppets and squealed, “Birdy!”
Now it’s now time to play…
Two little blackbirds sitting on a wall,
One named Peter and one named Paul.
Fly away, Peter!
Fly away, Paul!
Come back Peter!
Come back, Paul!
Margaret Bloom has worked building puppets and performing as a professional puppeteer for the past 17 years. She also has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and has worked in the field of counseling. Margaret lives with her family in a tiny house beneath great oak trees in the San Francisco Bay Area and you can also find her blogging at We Bloom Here.