Saturday, November 29, 2008

Creative Play / Finger Puppets by Cheryl

When I'm looking for stocking stuffers to post about on this blog, I sometimes just stumble across an item serendipitously, while other times I think of something general, such as a business card holder), and then go find a specific example. In this case, I was deliberately looking for finger puppets, but I wasn't satisfied with what I was seeing out there until I looked on Etsy. Yes, I know -- today is a Saturday "general" post rather than a Sunday "Etsy" post, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could talk about more than one issue here.

First, the lovely stocking stuffers themselves: finger puppets by Cheryl, of the cherylasmith Etsy shop. The dragon puppet pictured above was my favorite, until I saw the zombies, until I saw the bunny pirate, and so on and so on. Each finger puppet is individually made, with nothing glued -- it's all stitched. If you look at her shop, you'll also see that Cheryl has an eye for display -- just look at that backdrop for the bunny pirate! There's a magical unicorn, an octopus, little gnomes, a flying pig.... The list goes on and on, but you really need to go see for yourself because they are absolutely precious and they have so much personality from just a bit of cloth and some stitches. Oh, and on to practical matters: most of the finger puppets are only $5 with a few priced at $6. There's even a set of five farm animal finger puppets for $20! And if you purchase more than one, there are no additional shipping charges.

So now on to Part the Second of this post. I feel a tiny bit silly even saying this, since I don't have children myself. But I really feel strongly that parents should, when they can, encourage active play versus passive entertainment. I follow the educational field fairly closely (I'm a librarian in my real life), and there have been articles in the last year or so suggesting that even educational DVDs and children's shows like Baby Einstein are not really educational unless the parent watches with the child and engages in active teaching/learning with them. And the controversy of children's TV/DVD viewing aside, so many children's toys these days seem meant to passively entertain with beeps, buzzes, and flashes. Oh dear, I'm starting to sound like one of those "now in my day" old folks, and I'm only just past forty! But I do remember entertaining myself for hours and hours and hours with just Matchbox cars (I was a bit of a tomboy), because I made up stories about them, and built them roads and houses in the dirt. In fact, I still have my favorite Matchbox car.

So to bring it round: that's just what these finger puppets could do -- encourage children to create their own adventures and stories. And that leads to Part the Third and Part the Fourth of this post. I do want to feature more "do it yourself" stocking stuffers where possible, and I also like the idea of "paired gifts" -- a small part of the gift in the stocking with a larger part wrapped separately, perhaps with matching paper. In this case, wouldn't it be fun to either help your child make a shoebox theater for the finger puppets, or make a slightly more elaborate one yourself and wrap that as an accompanying gift?

I apologize if I sound preachy. But oh, the possibilities are just endless with these and other handmade finger puppets I've seen on Etsy. I just wish I was that talented with a needle and thread, but I know my limitations!

What: Finger Puppets by Cheryl
Where: cheryasmith (an Etsy shop)
How much (as of today's post): $5.00-$6.00 (plus shipping)

1 comment:

cheryl said...

Wonderful article! Thanks so much for featuring my little puppets.