Renew. Reuse. Recycle.

I figured the best way to make the most of my meager finances would be to scour local thrift stores and dollar stores for supplies, materials and props. Used stuffed animals are perfect as they can be easily transformed into hand puppets or finger puppets. My first few forays to Goodwill Industries stores across the Central Valley were less than successful. I was shocked to discover Goodwill no longer carries stuffed animals. Weird, especially since most of the workers I chatted up were unable to provide an explanation for the absence. At first, I thought worries about lice or bed bugs might be the cause. However, after conducting an internet search and reading a couple of message boards, I can only conclude Goodwill has ceased to sale stuffed animals do to safety concerns regarding the use of fire retardant or flammable materials. So if you’re looking for stuffed animals try local independent thrift shops, The Salvation Army or St. Vincent de Paul’s.  Savers (Hawaii) and Deseret Industries (Sacramento, Idaho & Utah) are great options too.

This was my haul after visiting 4 local thrift stores, The Dollar Tree and the 99¢ Only Store.

Photo 1: The Dollar Tree and the 99¢ Only Store

2 small Toucan stuffed animals (modified finger puppets): $2

1 Caterpillar: $1

2 Mice: $1

1 Frog hand-puppet: $1

1 Bumblebee bath mitt (aka hand-puppet): $1

1 Lion bath mitt (aka hand-puppet): $1

Total: $7

Photo 2: thrift

1 Koala hand puppet

1 Fly hand puppet

1 Bad cat hand puppet

1 Hippopotamus (modified hand puppet)

Total: $2.11

Photo 3: thrift

1 Fish hand puppet

2 Dogs (modified hand puppets)

1 Lion (modified hand puppet)

1 Giraffe (modified hand puppet)

1 Penguin (modified finger puppet)

1 Elephant (modified hand puppet)

1 Hippopotamus (modified finger puppet)

1 Cat (to be used as a prop in Bark, George)

1 Pig (to be used as a prop in Bark, George)

1 Duck (to be used as a prop in Bark, George)

1 Monster (modified hand puppet)

Total: $6.67

Yard sales, eBay, and Craigslist are options too.

I got lucky and found a Lot of 28 TY McDonald’s Beanie Babies for $5 (plus $12.90 S&H—boo hiss). As with some of the other stuffed animals these will be hollowed out, lined and transformed into finger puppets.  The duplicate creatures will be used individually or in pairs a la “Two little ____ sitting on a hill.”

In order to say money I’ll sacrifice old mittens and bed sheets or pillow cases to create liners for the finger puppets and hand puppets.

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