So I've been collecting them where I find them. Garage sales, thrift stores, dollar stores, clearance sales, IKEA ... I've got two that are really golf club covers but are some of the cutest. :)
And ever since Hannah was one year old, I've been planning on making a puppet theater. Not a fancy one, mind you, just a simple piece of fabric on a tension rod. Two seams to sew. For the last five years I've been planning this. About three weeks ago, I finally did it.
I was pushed more by the need to get our toy room organized than by a desire to finally get it done. The basket of puppets sits down in the toy room and when I clean the room, I am inevitably picking up all of the puppets which have been used as projectiles.
I stopped in the middle of picking them up one day, walked into the craft room, dug through my fabric stash, cut some fabric the right length, sewed a hem on one end and a tube on the other for the tension rod, put it on the rod (which I've had in the craft room *for this very purpose* for three years), and put it on the stairs. Then I went back to the toy room, threw all of the puppets in the tub and hauled it upstairs also. Within 30 seconds, I had two big kids upstairs using the theater - and puppets - as it was meant to be used.
Ainsley insists that a show needs an audience - and one momma does not a sufficient audience make.
For some reason, Ains is always the announcer.
"Are you watching, Mommy?"
Hannah tells stories and sings songs with her puppets. Ainsley *tries* to tell stories and sing songs, but if she can't remember the song or think of more of a story, the puppets involved suffer for it. Every song ends with "And then the lion died" or "Then he died" with the poor puppet falling to the floor in front of the theater. And I still laugh every time.
I also had one 2 1/2 year old using them as projectiles *over* the theater (hence the floating lion).
Now the toy room is more organized because the puppets are not adding to the mess anymore and the puppets get played with at least once a day because their basket is upstairs in the game area in plain sight. An added bonus is that they get picked up almost immediately because if they don't, they're right in the way.
Success all the way around.