One of the oldest and most traditional forms of children's entertainment, the world of puppetry still manages to more than hold its own in the modern market. ToyNews rounds up the latest theatrical characters to take the stage.
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The Puppet Company - 01462 446040

The Puppet Company will launch two brand new collections of Marionettes this year.

Two years in the making, the new range of Character Marionettes have already been met with good response.

With the incorporation of an anti tangle device by having colour coded beads to each string, the new Marionettes are designed to enhance the puppet controllers experience through ease of use by demystifying any tangle issues.

To better their own performance each Marionette also comes equipped with weighted feet to help keep them stable.

The new range boasts a choice of seven popular characters from fairy tales, including Wizards, Jesters, Princess and Knights and more while taking puppetry to a larger scale with the Giant Bird Marionette.

Utilising a larger version of the anti-tangle controller, these large birds propose to be just as easy to use as their smaller puppet companions.

Suitable for 36 months and above each Giant Bird is individually carded with a Euro hook and poly bagged, making for easy display.

Flair - 020 8643 0320

Some familiar faces will be appearing within Flair’s 2013 range of CuddleUpPets this autumn as a host of Disney characters make their way in to the brand’s innovative world of cuddly blanket and cute puppet hybrid.

Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Sully from Monsters University propose a new dimension for the super-soft, fun plush collection designed to be the ideal cuddle, hug and wrap companion for children.

The classic Disney characters will be joined by further new additions to the range such as a Unicorn and vibrant pink Poodle all, as Flair states, with the intention of providing children night-time fun while establishing a reliable bedtime routine.

With a range of new licences for 2013, Flair is confident of the increased collectability value thanks to the Disney favourites.

CuddleUpPets will benefit from a marketing campaign targeting both parents and kids featuring strong TV advertising and a catchy sing-a-long song.

John Crane - 01604 774 949

Trudi from John Crane will present a new puppet collection featuring three different ranges; Duet Puppets, Story Telling Puppets and the Animal Puppet collection.

Each of the puppets in the duet collection conceal a hidden surprise - simply turn any of the six puppets inside out to reveal its duet character.

This feature doubles the role story possibilities with puppets such as Dog and Cat, Polar Bear and Penguin, Hare and Turtle and Wolf and Lamb.

The Story Telling Puppet collection is a detailed range of characters brought to life in story telling scenarios featuring Lion King, the Cat Princess, the Dog Knight and the Frog Prince.

Continuing from the success John Crane experienced in 2012 with its Animal Puppet collection, the range is back for another year accompanied by some new additions.

Including the new Rooster, Beagle and Racoon, the animal characters such as Crow, Monkey, Crocodile and Lion remain plump with a weighted bottom, becoming a cuddly toy when they are not being used as a puppet.

BigJigs - 01303 250 400

BigJigs Toys set the stage as it introduces a vast range of theatres, finger puppets and classic story time characters for children to enjoy getting creative with and making up their own role stories.

Behind the red silk draw curtains of the Table Top Theatre lays a stage made of high quality wood, presenting a great setting for any puppet show.

Whether a comedy or fairytale the theatre’s traditional style frame plays host to all manner of dramatic entrances.

The BigJigs Magnetic Theatre is a stage specially designed to add to the drama with an illusion of characters moving of their own free will.

The theatre range comes complete with scenes from the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Pinocchio and Cinderella.

BigJigs Toys also offers a host of finger puppet sets including Farm, Safari, Entertainers and Pet themes, all of which the company says are great for imaginative and creative play.

Paul Lamond - 020 7254 0100

Paul Lamond Games is looking to build on the success of its Brain Noodle series and extending its children’s craft range with the addition of the new Make Your Own Puppet Kits from Crafty Kids.

The new kits allow consumers to choose from a range of six sets; Ballerina, Dinosaur, Giraffe, Horse, Fairy Princess and Knight, each containing everything needed for kids to create their own colourful puppet.

Paints, brushes and glue are included in the sets alongside instructions for puppet creation that Crafty Kids say will both encourage children in creative play while helping with practical skills in their construction of these string controlled puppets.

The Make Your Own Puppet kits are aimed at both boys and girls who enjoy collecting, creating and performing their own puppet theatricals.

Fiesta crafts - 020 8804 0563

Fiesta Crafts has taken traditional puppetry and brought it back to modern day life with a range of designs and puppet styles.

Its selection of hand and finger puppet sets will enable children to recreate some of the most classic stories ever told, such as Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, Old MacDonald’s Farm, Alice in Wonderland, The Three Little Pigs and Billy Goats Gruff.

It has extended its popular selection this year with the addition of Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and The Tree Bears, Peter Pan and the Wizard of Oz.

The main character of each set is a hand puppet, which comes complete with a selection of finger puppets, all of which are beautifully crafted.

They feature kind faces, full bodies, legs and detailed clothing for added authenticity.

With 36 puppets to choose from in the Characters and Stories range, from crocodile to Captain Hook and mermaid to fairy, the opportunities for role play are endless, says Fiesta Crafts.

There’s also the Gold Range of finger puppets.

Large wooden heads give a ‘real toy feel' and make the finger puppets more sturdy.

The bright colours and tactile fabrics make this a fun and safe toy for children of all ages.

An easy to store theatre, meanwhile features pull open fabric curtains and a painted, carved design.

Great Gizmos - 01293 543 221

Leading Great Gizmos’ collection of puppet themed projects is the Wooden Spoon Puppet set.

Staging theatrical play upon a sturdy cardboard theatre, it is garnished with accessories to create four characters, with additional clothing and facial stickers to change appearances time and again.

The Wooden Spoon Puppet set also comes with a sample script to encourage kids with their performances.

Meanwhile, the Wooden Spoon Fairy Puppet Theatre creates enchanting scenarios complete with fairy wands and wings.

Other puppet themed projects from Great Gizmos include My Very Own Ballerina Theatre and My Finger Puppets.


Hoping to build on the achievements that the Little Miss Fidget hand puppet brought in 2011, Haba introduces a new range that include the likes of Kasper, a long haired princess and a cheeky crocodile.

This adds to its already recognisable Leo and Matze puppets launched in 2012.

Armed with an attractive array of POS, these puppets make for an eye-catching display to encourage consumer attention and impulse buying.

For game play, My Very First Games Hand Puppets include three cute characters that Haba says encourage learning through the use of memory games and rhymes. 

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