The Use of Puppets

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    A Bit of History

    • Scholars believe puppetry began in China with "shadow puppets," created by shaping a hand into a figure and then holding the figure in front of a bright light. Around 1000 B.C., stick puppets were developed in India to act out stories from Indian folklore.

    Moving Into Today

    • Puppets came to America as Mexican people entered the western United States. Americans developed their own puppet styles made of simple items, such as fabric and down. Later, puppets were made of wood to resemble a live person.

    Puppet Uses

    • Puppets have largely been used for entertainment. Early shows were performed by street entertainers in the U.S. and Britain. Ventriloquism became popular when actor Edgar Bergen and his puppet, Charlie McCarthy, made their debut on CBS radio and entertained millions of listeners.

    Puppets and Children

    • Using puppets as tools to educate young children is popular today. Elementary school teachers sometimes find using puppets to teach important lessons is more effective than standard teaching methods.

    Now and Later

    • Puppetry is utilized by certain Christian denominations as educational and entertainment methods to teach the tenants of their faith. Many amateur and semi-professional ventriloquists put on shows in nursing homes and hospitals to entertain patients.

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