Updated February 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Best of the Best
premium quality BETTERLINE Animal Hand Puppets Set Of 2
premium quality
BETTERLINE Animal Hand Puppets Set Of 2
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High Quality
Bottom Line

A very good quality set of plush animal hand puppets with more stuffing than other puppets.


Soft. Well made. Works well with smaller hands. Delivers quickly. Comes in a couple of different animal combinations. Good fabric. Good quality. Very cute. Kids really like these puppets.


Some of these puppets do not have moving mouths. If you want moving mouths, carefully check the set you order.

Best Bang for the Buck
Melissa & Doug Zoo Friends Hand Puppets
Melissa & Doug
Zoo Friends Hand Puppets
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

A nice set of animal puppets with the quality you can rely on from Melissa & Doug, and a good price.


Kids enjoy this friendly looking animal puppet set. Comes with 4 different animals. Soft material. "Huggable" heads. Gender-neutral toy. A nice size that adults can get their hands into. Melissa & Doug makes several versions of his set, including farm animals and a variety of people sets.


The mouths on these puppets are not large and "talkable."

Kicko Animal Puppets
Animal Puppets
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Great Variety
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A set of 12 puppets that fit like gloves and allow you to move legs and arms for the animals.


Very cute animals. Nice friendly faces. Solid heads. A variety of animal types and lots of puppets in one set. Made with a good quality material.


These are a good size for child hands, but at 8.5 inches they are not very large for adults.

Fun Express Plush Happy Kids Hand Puppets
Fun Express
Plush Happy Kids Hand Puppets
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Human Puppets
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A nice set of multi-ethnic puppets to use with kids.


Eight human puppets with movable mouths. Good for storytelling or puppet shows with children. A practical set for the price. Full bodies and cute clothes on the human-looking puppets.


A good price for so many puppets in a set, but the quality could be better.

Oiuros Product Model
Product Model
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Durable Finger Puppets
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A nice little well-made finger puppet set that gives you a lot of bang for the buck.


Comes with 20 different puppet animals. All the puppets have hands and feet. A lot of versatility for storytelling. Cute animals. Soft outside. Grips well to your finger on the inside. Cute right out of the bag. Kids love these puppets.


These are finger puppets and have limitations because they are not full puppets.The holes are also rather small.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best hand puppet sets

Do you and your child like to bring storytime to life? Invite characters into your playtime with a hand puppet set. Hand puppet sets provide interactive learning and play experiences for young children. Not only do they foster imagination and stimulate intellectual curiosity, hand puppets are also a great alternative to electronics and video games.

Hand puppet sets are made with soft plush materials that are touch-friendly for children. They feature animals and characters and often come grouped together in fun, themed sets. Depending on the age of your child, you might gravitate toward traditional hand puppets, finger puppets, or integrated mitt styles. Hand puppets are ideal learning tools for early childhood educators as well, which is why they’re so popular in classrooms, daycare centers, and therapeutic environments.

Bring some animation and imagination into your child’s life with a hand puppet set. Our buying guide has everything you need to know to choose fun, age-appropriate puppets for your child.

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Parents and teachers can use hand puppet sets to discuss difficult subjects with young children. Puppets are friendly and relatable for kids and can encourage dialogue between children and adults.

Key considerations


Hand puppet sets are fun, engaging toys that are ideal for playtime or storytime because they bring stories to life. Children use their imagination to assign personalities to puppets and make up stories for them. Parents also appreciate hand puppets, especially since they’re interactive toys that aren’t electronic.

Early childhood educators use hand puppet sets in their classrooms to promote learning comprehension, especially for vocabulary development and reading. Educators also often use puppets to present social scenarios to students that encourage respect, positive communication, and personal boundaries. Guidance counselors use puppets with young children to aid in conflict resolution and promote better interpersonal relationships with fellow students as well as teachers.

In therapeutic settings, hand puppets are used to encourage communication between children and adults. Occupational therapists, family therapists, and social workers utilize hand puppets in role-playing exercises that facilitate conversation when discussing sensitive matters, such as divorce, death, or traumatic experiences. Sometimes hand puppets are a disarming tool that relaxes tension in the room. Other times children and adults speak through the puppets, which can help children discover their own voices and become confident in discussing their feelings.

Recommended ages

Hand puppet sets are fun for young kids and are generally used from birth through elementary school. Like any toy, though, there are age recommendations based on safety. Hand puppets that are ideal for babies to age two only have sewn-on details, such as embroidered eyes and whiskers, for maximum safety.

Age recommendations for hand puppet sets also take into consideration how safe a child will be when playing with the puppets unsupervised. Hand puppets that have plastic eyes or details that could be removed are generally recommended for ages three and up. Finger puppets also fall into this age category as they are considered small enough to be a choking hazard.


Puppet styles

Traditional hand puppets have a sock-like body that fits over the hand. There are usually arms and sometimes legs that you can wiggle with your fingers. When purchasing these styles, make sure the puppet has a universal fit for children and adults alike.

Finger puppets also have a sock-like body, though they are small enough to fit over the fingers. These puppets do not have movable parts like full-size hand puppets. Finger puppets are one-size-fits-all, so they fit loosely over any child or adult’s fingers.

Mitt puppets are newcomers to the hand puppet market. With this style, finger puppets are attached to a mitt or glove for a secure fit. It’s easy to be animated and move around with mitt puppets as they stay on your hand.

Bath puppets are water-friendly for bathtime and even pooltime. Some puppets in these sets also have soft terry cloth areas you can suds up and use for washing. These puppets mostly feature aquatic characters, though there are some farm animals or cartoon characters available.


Hand puppet sets are made of soft materials like plush, polyester, velour, and cotton. Plush and velour are common for animal puppets, whereas polyester is usually used for character clothing. Cotton is most commonly found in the form of yarn for hair, manes, or whiskers.

Cotton and polyester fill are used to stuff the head and limbs of hand puppets. The fill is densely packed enough for the head and certain parts of the body to remain upright. Be aware that hand puppets tend to get hot inside rather quickly. Sweaty hands are common when using hand puppets no matter what the materials.


Hand puppet sets feature fun characters like animals, mythical beasts, and cartoon people. Popular sets are often themed, such as farm animals, ocean life, or career people. There are also movie- and TV-inspired hand puppet sets that feature Disney, Pixar, or Dreamworks characters. These sets are usually more expensive than other hand puppet sets.


Puppet theaters: Hey! Play! Wooden Tabletop Puppet Theater
If you and your child enjoy creating stories with your hand puppet set, then a puppet theater is a great way to add performance to playtime. We like this one from Hey! Play!, which can be set up on any desk or table. It has curtains, a blackboard, and even a working clock to let you know when it’s showtime.

Child-safe detergents: Dreft Stage 2: Active Baby Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent
Hand-wash or machine-wash hand puppet sets with a detergent that is non-toxic and safe for children, especially those who are teething and have a propensity to put puppets in their mouths. We like the Dreft Stage 2: Active Baby detergent, which is strong enough to remove stains yet gentle enough to keep plush toys soft after a thorough washing.

Storage containers: Zilpoo 4-Pack Toy Organizer Bins with Lids
Store hand puppets together in a small storage container to keep them clean and free of dust when you’re not using them. This set from Zilpoo includes four 20-quart stacking containers in bright colors. These bins also have transparent lids so you can view the contents easily.

Hand puppet set prices

Hand puppet sets cost between $10 and $50.


For budget-friendly hand puppet sets, expect to spend between $10 and $20 for sets with two to five puppets. These include coordinating book and puppet sets, finger puppets, and full-size puppets.


If you’re willing to spend a little bit more for better-quality hand puppets, look for sets that cost between $20 and $30. These puppets often have more distinctive details and are made of softer, plusher materials.


Closer to $50 you’ll find premium hand puppet sets that are often used for school performances. These puppets are noticeably more durable, detailed, and expressive.


  • Choose a hand puppet set with your child. Let your kids guide you toward the hand puppets they like most. That way, they’ll be engaged with characters they know and enjoy.
  • Keep your hand puppet set near the bookcase. Hand puppets are often used during storytime, so keep them near your child’s bookcase in a basket or toy bin.
  • Try different voices. Change your tone, accent, and inflection to create different characters and personalities for each of the hand puppets in a set.
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As your children learn about new animals, careers, and people in school, use hand puppet sets at home to continue their learning, spark conversation, and help with comprehension.


Q. Will hand puppets scare my child?

A. Hand puppets are usually recognizable characters designed with friendly faces to be as approachable as possible. However, very young children could be intimidated by certain characters, such as puppets whose expressions aren’t a clear smile or open mouth. There are also some children who are afraid of clowns, which is why it’s rare to see clown puppets.

Q. How do I wash a hand puppet set?

A. It depends on the materials, so be sure to defer to the manufacturer’s care instructions. That said, you can spot clean most hand puppet sets with nontoxic soap or detergent. Certain hand puppets are machine-washable, but letting them hang to dry is best.

Q. Why are most finger puppets for ages three and up?

A. This is due to the smaller size of finger puppets. Generally speaking, the smaller toys are, the older the recommended age. While finger puppets can be safely enjoyed by you and your child, don’t let a child under three play with finger puppets unsupervised as they could be a potential choking hazard.

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