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People have enjoyed puppets for a very long time. Puppets have universal appeal, perhaps because they have the means of portraying action and emotions, and yet are free from human limitations.

Archaeologist have discovered jointed puppets that were used in Greece and Italy by 300 B.C. American Indians were using string puppets before the coming of the white man. In Moslem countries, where Islamic religious laws do not allow making images, myths were told through shadow puppets. In the Middle Ages of Europe, puppets were used to give religious and morality plays. In the early 1800's in England, flat puppets and stage scenery were sold as souvenirs of popular plays of the time. These became popular home fireside activities for Victorian families.

There are many different types of puppets, including hand puppets, stick puppets, rod puppets and finger puppets. String puppets, often called marionettes, were named for the puppet character of the Virgin Mary in the religious puppet plays of the Middle Ages. The name Little Mary, or marionette came to refer to other stringed puppets, as well.

Children have a natural dramatic sense, and enjoy making puppets and improvising puppet shows. They also like to act out a narrated story, using puppet characters. Making puppets calls children's attention to elements of faces, both human and animal, and how emotions are reflected in expressions and actions. With young children, it is very important not to make the puppets grotesque.

Some puppets, like the paper bag puppet, are quite easy for four year olds to construct. Others are more complex and require greater skill, and are suitable for older children.