Thrive After Three

Engaging programs to keep kids coming back to the library

Using Finger Puppets with Music

I use puppets in a variety of ways in storytime. One way to use a mix of finger puppets (for the children) and hand puppets (for you) is to sing a song. If I want to begin storytime with a puppet song, I’ll hand out the finger puppets as the children enter the storytime room. If I’m using stick puppets, I sometimes place a pair in a baggie and hide them under the children’s mats that they sit on. When I’m ready, I ask them to find a surprise to use. Or if the wiggles have taken over the room, I just pass them out while everyone waits for a turn. I like using vinyl puppets because I can wash them easily. They are costly, though, and I try to incorporate the cost into grants or special funding. If you’re just starting, you can create your own finger puppets using this easy technique from Mel’s Desk.

Here are a few videos you can watch to see different ways of using puppets with music. If you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you’ll find more songs with a list of puppets you’ll need to spice up your program!

Susan Salidor’s extended version of Two Little Blackbirds teaches opposites. You can use any puppets you have for this song (I usually incorporate the summer reading theme and use this song as the welcome song all summer):

I like to use Carole Peterson’s There’s a Dog in School with early preschoolers. It helps teach them the alphabet. I’ve included lyrics and a set of make-your-own finger puppets here: There’s a Dog in School:

A high energy song is Laurie Berkner’s Pig On Her Head (Alternate version). I created a handout with lyrics and finger puppets here: Pig on Her Head Alt Version:

A soothing song I like to use when I need the children to calm down is Laurie Berkner’s Goodnight. The lyrics and puppets (frog, owl, tiger, kid) to make are here: Goodnight by Laurie Berkner:

For more puppet song ideas, try these:

Little Groove’s Puppet on Your Finger (you can use any finger puppet you have!):

The original Laurie Berkner song, Pig on Her Head, (pig, cow, sheep, alligator, elephant and skunk):

Mother Goose Rocks’ take on Old MacDonald set to a Taylor Swift song (cow, pig, horse, duck):

Kimmy Schwimmy’s Mr. Owl (owl, bird, kitty):

Raffi’s Little White Duck classic (duck, frog, bug, snake):

Little Groove’s I Love My Pets (dog, cat, fish):

Carole Peterson’s Say Good Day (cows, pigs, dogs, chickens, kids):

For other storytime ideas check out Story Time with the Library Lady, or Flannel Friday.

What’s your favorite puppet song to use in storytime?

15 comments on “Using Finger Puppets with Music

  1. Tara Kaye Chmielowski
    June 11, 2013

    I do a song with animal puppets every week with my babies and toddlers and have and put a lot of time into finding fun songs beyond “Old MacDonald”. Some exampels are “If Animals Could Dance” and “All the Fish”. You demonstrated two Laurie Berkner songs that I own on CD but have overlooked because I didn’t realize how well they would work in storytimes for young children and evening families. Sharing what makes your storytimes unique and successful is very generous. A presenter may make storytime look like an easy thing to do, but there is so much time and thought that goes into each successful program and activity. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Tara Kaye Chmielowski
    June 13, 2013

    Shaia, I have all of Laurie Berkner’s CDs including Buzz Buzz but I don’t know where to find the alternate version of “Pig on Her Head”. I really like how it ends! Where can it find it?? Thanks again

  3. Tara Kaye Chmielowski
    June 13, 2013

    Wait… I think I found it on “Best Of”!

    • mrsshaia
      June 14, 2013

      Yes, that version is on the Best Of album. I placed links to amazon’s mp3 song pages on all the songs. =) Have fun with this one!

  4. Tara Kaye Chmielowski
    July 8, 2013

    I mentioned in a previous comment that in baby and toddler storytime, I rotate out five animals songs and do a song each week with puppets. I happily added a sixth to this rotation – “Pig on Her Head”. The kids loved it! I have multiples of a lot of animals so I asked one of our pages to present with me today and we were able to give most kids a quick chance to have an animals sit on their heads. They loved it!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Lois Burgess
    September 7, 2014

    Hi Lisa,
    What company do you purchase your finger puppets from? I posted this question on the Flannel Friday facebook page & got many welcome replies 🙂 A couple people mentioned the Oriental Trading Company. Do you know how good the quality would be and if they would be safe if a toddler put it in his/her mouth?

    Thanks so much 🙂

    Lois Burgess
    “Fun & Fables”
    “Cozy Corner Storytime”

    • mrsshaia
      September 7, 2014

      Hi Lois, sorry I was on vacation. Yes, Oriental Trading is where I find these. I use them with the 3+ but I have a lot of younger siblings. I always make an announcement that they’re a choking hazard for under 3 and let the parents decide. I haven’t had any problems and I can throw them all in the sink after!

  6. Lois Burgess
    September 7, 2014

    Thanks, Lisa 🙂 Do you wash them with water & a little bleach?

    • mrsshaia
      September 7, 2014

      Yes, and then air dry overnight. In bigger libraries I’ve worked in they have a dishwasher. I can only dream!

  7. Lois Burgess
    September 7, 2014

    Thanks again, Lisa 🙂 Small but mightly! (lol)

  8. Lois Burgess
    September 7, 2014

    OOPS, that should be “mighty”!

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