folkmanis puppets, kiddywampus

The Wild and Fantastical World of Folkmanis Puppets!

The Wild and Fantastical World of Folkmanis Puppets!

Founded in Watertown, Massachusetts in the late 60’s, Folkmanis has established itself as the premier toy puppet maker in the business, consistently creating new and innovative puppets for the past few decades.

Folkmanis has a super wide variety of puppets available. Many of the puppets can vary in size based on which animal or creature it is. There are “mini” puppets, which are controlled with one or two fingers, “standard” sized puppets, which are controlled with one whole hand, and your “large” puppets which use two hands to be fully controlled! 

Each Folkmanis puppet includes a tag featuring some fun facts about the creature, along with a cute song or backstory to go along with the puppet. While a lot of people would overlook the tag on a toy, we thought that this inclusion was a very sweet extra touch. 

Puppet History

The first recorded use of puppetry was in Greece around 5 BCE, but puppetry has shown up in most continents for a couple thousand years. Consistently, puppetry has been used as a storytelling tool with varying levels of importance. Some cultures used it to tell children’s stories, while others used puppets to tell elaborate stories of their people, and some even used puppets to elaborate about the weather forecast.

More recently, television shows produced by Jim Henson like Sesame Street and the Muppet Show generated a lot of interest in the medium, and of course, we can’t forget that Jedi Master Yoda himself is a puppet! Even recent Broadway shows like King Kong and the Lion King have featured extremely large puppets operated by multiple people! 

Yoda, Empire Strikes Back, Puppet, kiddywampus Jedi Master Yoda (Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Puppets are a fantastic educational tool disguised as a bundle of fun!

Playing and creating a story with friends and family using puppetry is known to encourage a wide range of developmental growth patterns in little ones! 

By creating and sharing dialogue in the moment, kids develop stronger language fluency skills. This is especially important for toddlers as you prepare them for entering pre-K activities. 

Additionally, as they play within an imaginative place, and ideally in collaboration with a friend or family member, children will sharpen their creative tool set. 

Within these stories, whether they are spectating or performing with the puppets, children are focused on the content of the story, and are sure to pick up conflict resolution skills as they witness characters solve their problems. 

Puppets are also a fantastic choice as a multi-age toy, so for parents with multiple kids, puppets are a super entertaining family fun activity that encourage family bonding. 

The open-endedness of puppetry can help your child grow in many directions - many more than what we’ve listed here!

You can catch our full selection of Folkmanis puppets available in-store and online!


“How do I clean my puppets?”

It’s recommended that you gently spot clean your puppets with just a little lukewarm water and a light soap, like Woolite.

“How do I get my older child involved with puppetry?”

Older children tend to need more agency over their puppeteering - so letting them create a role-play scenario or story that either you or a younger sibling go through with them is extremely enriching. Show them that they are storytellers!

“Which puppet style is best for a younger child?”

We’d definitely recommend single hand, or even single-finger puppets for a smaller child. These puppets are easier to control for their small hands.