toys and entertainment

The best puppets for babies and toddlers

Our top picks of puppets

Top 5 puppets

Our favourite puppets around now

Why buy them?

Playing with puppets can do wonders for a child’s developing creativity and imagination, and help their growing language, communication and motor skills, plus their hand-eye coordination. They can play with puppets alone or with another child and are great for imaginative play. You can also use them for simple games such as peek-a-boo with younger babies and toddlers.

What to spend

They are a simple and often inexpensive toy, with prices starting around the £5 mark for basic models, to over £20 for themed sets with several characters.

What to look for

Appealing characters that will inspire your child to make up stories and bright, contrasting colours for younger babies. It can be useful if hand puppets are big enough for adults to wear to so they can join in the fun.

Baby Einstein finger puppets 250Contrast Critters Finger Puppets, £4.99, Baby Einstein

These cute finger puppets are ideal for stimulating even very young babies thanks to the black and white design, as highly contrasting pattern like this can be picked up more easily by a newborn’s developing eyesight. They also have a built-in rattle for added fun and to help guide your baby to reach out and grab.

Puppet company nursery rhyme puppet 250Nursery Rhyme puppet and book set, £24.99,The Puppet Company

This set is a beautiful gift that will delight small children at bedtime for years to come. The set contains a hard backed story book plus a selection of puppet nursery rhyme characters to help act out scenes including Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Humpty Dumpty, Incy Wincy Spider and more.

Melissa and Doug palace pals 250Palace Pals Hand Puppets, £18.30, Melissa & Doug

Perfect for storytelling and imaginative play with toddlers, the four puppets in this set all have a fairy tale theme, with a prince and princess, a knight and a dragon. Your child will have hours of fun making up stories and the puppets are designed to be big enough for adults to wear, too. They also have soft, cuddly bodies and are washable for ease.

Puppet company 5 little ducks 250Five Little Ducks Hand Glove Puppet, £7.75, The Puppet Company

A nursery rhyme glove is the perfect way to combine singing and actions, children will love seeing the little ducks appearing and disappearing as you move your fingers. It’s also a lot less faff that using several puppets that can get lost easily between uses. This glove design is also available featuring characters from Old MacDonald Had a Farm and Five Little Monkeys.

Jojo Maman woodland animals 250Woodland animals, £18, Jojo Maman Bebe

A beautifully detailed-woodland finger puppet set featuring a squirrel, hedgehog, fox, badger and rabbit. They can be used for imaginative play and games, but also work as a valuable tool for teaching children the names of the animals and the noises they make.

The best puppets for babies and toddlers