or for details of Worry Puppets and Worry Monsters CLICK HERE
Organisations all over Britain which work with abused, neglected or bereaved children have asked Knit-for-Nowt for hand and finger puppets. These are used in therapy to help children heal by expressing their feelings. Children often will open up to a puppet during role play, when they feel they can't speak to an adult worker. Children will project their feelings and thoughts onto the play therapy puppets.
So this is very important work. We have had many requests from Social Workers for these as they are expensive to buy, and there is currently a very limited budget for them.
WHAT SORT OF PUPPETS ARE NEEDED?
The puppets need to range from friendly to frightening:
fairy tale puppets or children’s story or TV characters eg. Sooty, Sweep, Sue etc
animals, both friendly ones and some predator ones too, (shark, dragon or dinosaur with teeth)
a complete family set; to include Mum, Dad, Gran, Grandad, several children, cat, dog
ideally these should have a smile on one side and a downturned mouth on the other
ethnic family set, as above, but using brown skin tones (but not black yarn thanks)
doctor, nurse, judge, policeman, Social Worker, teacher - these are much requested
WHAT SIZE SHOULD THEY BE?
Glove (hand) puppets are needed for both the child and the adult therapist, so both small and larger ones are needed.
Similarly, finger puppets are needed to fit a small child’s fingers or an adult’s.
WHAT PATTERN SHOULD I USE?
Hand puppets can be knitted to a simple straight up and down pattern or have an “opening mouth” (slightly more fiddly but perfectly do-able!) Please be as creative as you like!
A good source of free patterns online can be found at
CLICK HERE to take you to the Patterns Page for suggestions of patterns to use. But please use any other patterns you like, as long as they are used solely for charity and NOT FOR SALE, and bearing in mind the guidelines in red below. And CLICK HERE to see patterns for SEWN puppets.
Therapists have requested that we sew a happy face on one side of the puppet and a face with a downturned sad mouth on the other side, so that children can learn better how things affect members of the family. This only applies to the family people puppets, not the characters such as policeman, nurse etc.
GENERAL SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR PUPPETS -
please read before making your puppets, thank you
The puppets are used by adult therapists, but as they will have small parts attached, therapists are asked not to leave children under 36 months alone with them, in order to ensure safety.
However Knit-for-Nowt wants to ensure that they are as safe as possible, so:
Please could knitters and sewers embroider the eyes and features with wool or embroidery yarn, or you could use pieces of felt securely sewn on, or use buttons. However, buttons should be extra firmly attached - please use strong thread and sew over and over many times to be sure. All items are tested for strength before being sent out. Safety eyes for stuffed monsters or puppets are fine (please don’t use them in any unstuffed item)
puppets may have stuffing to the head if you wish, but PLEASE ENSURE that the stuffing you use has a CE or BS label on the packaging, (no stuffing with any other materials thanks), and also that there is no loose stuffing inside the puppet that could potentially come out - it needs to be enclosed for safety.
Please ensure that any “hair” that you’ve attached cannot be pulled out. Very “hairy” yarns, such as mohair, are also unsuitable on our items, as the strands can become detached.
No glue should be used, and please do check carefully that you’ve removed all pins – (we’ll also check that again this end so we’re certain.)
No ribbons or cords longer than 6 inches
please sew on firmly any accessories that you’ve chosen, such as handbags, necklaces, shawls etc..
if you wish to make puppets out of material and sew them that’s fine (with CE approved stuffing).
This cause is not very widely known about in the knitting world, so Knit-for-Nowt wants to highlight it. That small ball of wool that you have frequently got left over from a project could be put to such good use. Instead of knitting a small hat, please consider a simple hand puppet or a few tiny finger puppets. They would be so much appreciated by these dedicated therapists.
Thank you so much.
Here's Clare with hand puppets Wakefield Social Workers with your monsters