Simple felt puppets made of wool roving or wool felt and a silk cloth are the basis for an easy and lovely puppet story. This month Suzanne Down brings us verses and pictures of a delicate felt butterfly to fly and a turtle that creeps along, then swims so free.


The Butterfly


Lying in the summer grass

The lazy days so quickly pass.

I watch the bugs and slugs and flowers,

Often it seems for hours and hours.

Once the sunshine made me wink,

And in the quickness of a blink,

A flower rose into the sky!

Oh my, thought I, a butterfly.

It flapped it’s gentle angel wings

And danced as fairies in their rings.

Then like a feather gently fell

Into a tulip’s nectar well.

Theater ideas:

  • For a lap theater presentation of this  poem with a butterfly finger puppet, use a delicate pastel rainbow silk on your lap as a wonderful flower garden landscape.
  • Use the air and space for the butterfly fairy dance…it moves lighter than air!  Don’t be afraid to move your own arm and body subtly and magically to give the sense of moving through the sky.
  • Observe butterflies (and fairies) to capture the essence of their beauty in gesture.  Remember, too jerky and fast will break the magic mood and is hard for children’s senses to keep up with.  Catch their butterfly lightness instead and move them delicately.
  • With your free hand under the garden silk, create a tulip well for the butterfly to go into, hover on, then fly away and disappear to end this piece.

Pictured above: This little butterfly is barely needle felted into a butterfly shape, and a loop of embroidery thread turns it into a tiny marionette.



Turtle moves so very slow.

He peers into the sea below.

Splash! He dives and swims so free.

But now and then he peeks at me…

Now and then he peeks at me.

Theater Ideas:

I love to use a veil of silk over my free arm for this one.  A see-through turquoise is nice.

The turtle is hidden at first, then slowly appears and walks along my arm’s turquoise water stage, slowly, maybe peering out at the children, slowly.

Then he leans over and peers into the water, slowly…Splash! He dives in and is behind the veil of see-through silk, so he is very visible, but mysterious, in the water.

Suddenly he can move with grace and flow, free in the water element.  The see-through veil provides another surprise for the children.

Let your stages create wonder for you.

After he swims up to peer at me, I have him crawl out and go home the way he came on, slowly…and disappear behind the palm of the veil covered hand, slowly…   the contrast of weight and freedom should be visible.

Pictured above: Wool felt turtle, hand dyed with 100% wool felt. has some wonderful finger puppets…especially their butterfly and turtle.

These poems and theater ideas come from my puppet resource book Around the World With Finger Puppet Animals It has many animal poems, presentation ideas, and finger puppet patterns… you may order it to be mailed to you for $24.95 plus s&h.  email me if you are interested.

Suzanne Down is longtime Director of Juniper Tree School of Story and Puppetry Artswhich offers workshops all over North America and beyond.  Her free email story newsletter reaches thousands of people each month, sign up here to receive it.  Her story and puppet books are available through her website.  You can find her on facebook too with her personal page and her Juniper Tree Puppets page.

Be sure to browse through her photo filled BLOG entries for lots of ideas.

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