I "google" all sorts of stuff, looking for information and ideas, but, I would have never thought to "google" puppet making on the internet.
And then, I was introduced to Puppettools via the TOS Homeschool Crew.
Nestled inside this web site are the directions to making a puppet hinge out of construction paper, along with dozens of pages of properly sized/formatted animal shapes that you can print and color and attach to your hinges to create your own families, towns and villages of puppets at home.
If you have a child with developmental delays in fine motor skills, folding the actual hinge makes for a GREAT fine motor activity!
Jeff Peyton has packed the web site with information and videos. If you are interested in the "why bother" of using puppets and imaginary play, it's there! You'll find a wealth of information about development here.
If you are like me and feel like you need a push getting the imaginary play going, there are all kinds of videos here from real folks showing how they've used Puppetools.
I thought the web site was a little difficult to navigate. The site is packed with information and videos. I have studied the importance of play and understand how puppets can be an important part of child development. I wanted to get to the actual hinge and pages to print, and I soon did, but I wish there'd been a quick-link of some sort to get me there right away.
I think Puppetools would be a super combined with story builders--and after the busy-ness of the holidays has passed, want to create a story and then find the characters on Puppetools to color/decorate and build so that we can act out the story in puppets.
A 60-day trial subscription for a family is just $20, and a year-long group subscription for a class room or co-op is $99.