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Features | Spring 2017

Sock Talk!

Socks talk? Of course they do, whether or not you move your lips! If you’ve never seen Joshua Holden’s The Joshua Show, click on the link and take a few minutes to see what can be done with a simple sock. There is no right or wrong way…just you and your sock and your creativity.

At the Children’s Music Network 2016 Annual Conference in Los Gatos, California, my sock puppet–making workshop participants went crazy with their sock creations! I do not think I’ll ever forget twelve or so socks breaking out into an impromptu version of  “The Sound of Music.” I didn’t catch it on video, so use your imagination. But here is the sock rendition of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Sock Talk with Val Smalkin
Sock Talk II

If you want a refresher on sock puppetry, or need a starting place, this article is for you.

I suggest starting with colorful, bright socks. But you can see from The Joshua Show what can be done with an old, dirty, white gym sock! Anyway, you need a mouth, right? I will show you MY way of forming a mouth from a sock, but it’s not the only way for sure. The following video shows how to make a sock puppet without scissors or hot glue. This is perfect for preschool and kindergarten, but they will still need your help! 

How you work your puppet depends upon your goals. If you goal is to spur creativity in your students, then I say there should be no rules, just free experimentation. Nothing stifles creativity more than the teacher saying, “You’re not holding that right.” Left to their own children will invent many fabulous ways to hold, work, or play with a sock puppet. I always learn from them.

If you goal is to present a show, then you will want to consider what the puppet looks like from the audience’s point of view. Another video will explain better than words.

You’ll notice I got off topic in that video by teaching another way to make a great sock puppet for younger children that involves a little bit of sewing and googly eyes. Use a stretch stitch if you use this second style of sock puppet. The photos below will provide a closer look at the process.

PLEASE KNOW: Peepers, the googly eyes invented by the fabulous puppeteer Hobey Ford are available at http://www.peeperspuppet.com along with lots of videos for how to use them!

Happy Sock Puppet Making and Talking!