Storytelling Recycling Resources


Recycled Props for the Storyteller


Alligator – made from paper mache


Snakes from Tie-Land – make a snake from an old necktie


Musical Instruments


African Drum – Use a carpet cardboard tube and plastic flower pot (plus a few other recycled items) to make an African Drum.


Musical Instruments - made from recycled materials:  bottle cap rattles, finger cymbals, humming flutes, jingle bell mitt, kazoo, musical bottle, etc.


Musical Instruments – make at home from recycled materials:  guitar, shakers, rainsticks, xylophone, bull-roarer, etc.




Jackie Baldwin has an extensive list of activities, crafts, sources, games, songs, performances.

#23  on her list gives directions for making stick puppets

#25  has suggestions for adapting stories to use the puppets you have


The Muppets Make Puppets.  Cheryl Henson, Workman Publishing, New York, 1994.

            A wide variety of materials are reused to make glove puppets, sock puppets, hand puppets, box mouth puppets, rod puppets and more.  The book includes pictures and clear concise directions.


Storytelling with Puppets, Props and Playful Tales.  Mary Jo Huff, Monday Morning Books, P.O. Box 1680, Palo Alto, Ca. 94302, 1998.

            Excellent book with good directions. This book contains directions for box puppets, finger puppets, hand puppets, sock puppets, pop-up puppets, stick puppets and  a puppet-in-a-can as well as stories to use with preschoolers.


Finger Puppets  Two easy ways to make finger puppets.  Use an old glove or coin wrappers and pictures.


Glove Puppet -  Two simple ways to make a glove puppet using small pictures and an old glove.


Monkey Mitt (Glove Puppet)

A monkey mitt is a glove with Velcro on each finger.  Different sets of pictures (with Velcro on the back) can be used with the same mitt.  Marilyn Kinsella has provided directions for monkey mitts and some fingerplays  on her website.  Puppet Central on this site also includes suggestions for using puppets and puppet play script.


Hand Puppets – Turn an old stuffed critter into a hand or stick puppet.  Directions.


Hand Puppet – use Paper mache and a plastic liter soda bottle to make a puppet


Applehead Dolls – These heads could be used to make a hand puppet or a marionette. This site contains step-by-step directions with photos.


Stick Puppet - Family Fun website– Make a person puppet using a balloon, a stick  and paper mache


Sock Puppets – Legends and Lore Website  - Simple directions and diagrams for a basic sock puppet


Sock and Stick Puppets – Easy to follow directions with pictures.




Story Resources: Stories and Books that use recycled items or relate to recycling


“Paper Flower” by Fran Stallings.  Joining In: An Anthology of Audience Participation Stories & How to Tell Them.  Compiled by Teresa Miller with Assitance from Anne Pellowski, Edited by Norma Livo,  Yellow Moon Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1988.

            Use squares of paper cut from slick ads to make the origami objects in the story.  The flower can also be made using the directions for a newspaper tree in The Family Storytelling Handbook, page 85.  Teaching the children how to make this flower makes a good art project for children.


“The Tailor.”  Crazy Gibberish and Other Story Hour Stretches (from a Storyteller’s Bag of Tricks).  Naomi Baltuck, Linnet Books, Hamden, Connecticut, 1993.

            The tailor recycles the fabric from one article of clothing to make the next one.  Gift-wrap paper or newspaper can be cut to make the coat, jacket, vest, cap and button.


“Fat Cat Learns to Recycle” adapted by Rose Owens


Just Enough to Make a Story: A Sourcebook for Storytelling.  Nancy Schimmel, Sister’s Choice Press, Berkeley, Ca. 1978.



Stories to Play With: Kids’ Tales Told with Puppets, Paper, Toys, and Imagination, Hiroko Fujita, Adapted and Edited by Fran Stallings.  August House Publishers, Little Rock, Ark., 1999. 



The Family Storytelling Handbook: How to Use Stories, Anecdotes, Rhymes, Handkerchiefs, Paper and Other Objects to Enrich Your Family Traditions.  Anne Pellowski, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1987.



The Story Vine: A Source Book of Unusual and Easy-to-Tell Stories from Around the World.  Anne Pellowski, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1984.



Ecotelling Stories


Earth Tales from Around the World.  Michael J. Caduto, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado, 1997.



Keepers of the Earth:  Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children, Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac, Fulcrum Publishing, Inc., Golden, Colorado, 1988.

            This is a book about living, learning and caring.  It features a collection of North American Indian stories and related hands-on activities to help children ages 5-12 to feel a part of their surroundings.  The emphasis is on an interdisciplinary approach to teaching about the earth and Native American cultures.  Discussion of each story includes scientific information relating to that story.


Tales With Tales: Storytelling the Wonders of the Natural World.  Kevin Strauss, Libraries Unlimited, Westport, Connecticut, 2006.



Ugly, Donna Jo Napoli, Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 2006.

            This book is an expanded version of the story of the ugly duckling.  Ugly’s travels in Tasmania allow him to meet ducks, a wallaby, a wombat, geese, a platypus and a golden bushtail possum. Luckily the friendship of these wonderful friends makes his journey much easier.  Ugly finally learns he is an Australian Black Swan.  Accurate scientific details about each animal are woven into the story.





Recycling crafts for children



Craft ideas and directions


Easy-to-Do Holliday Crafts from Everyday Household Items!  Sharon Dunn Umnik, editor, Boyd’s Mill Press, Honesdale, Pennsylvania, 1995.

            Some of the craft projects that seem to relate to ecotelling are the milkweed pod mouse, photo mouse, turkey gobbler, dried corn-husk flower, newspaper puppet, clown stick puppet (from a detergent bottle),  and leafy paperweight.


Puppets for Kids – Directions to make sock puppets, paper bag puppets, stick puppets, hand puppets.   Simple directions with pictures.


Animal Hand Puppets – Very simple patterns and directions for a bear, owl, cat and frog


Recycling Ideas and Recycling Craft Projects



Top 10 Creative Recycling Projects – directions to make CD rom fish, cardboard roll puppets, apple magnet, light bulb snowman, lady bug treasure box and other crafts





Bottle-Print T-Shirt – Use a plastic liter pop bottle and paint to decorate a T-shirt


Homemade Instruments used by Doctor Oakroot – No directions on how to make them but this site has pictures of Dr. Oakroot and his Diddley Bow, Diddley Jo, The Cyclops, Goblin and other homemade instruments along with information on the materials he used to make each one


Paper Mache Recipes and directions


Storyteller’s Apron – Apron with many pockets which was made from old clothing.  Objects relating to the stories are put into the pockets and children take turns finding the objects.  There is a secret pocket at the end of one of the apron ties.  Picture at


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