What Is a Toy Theatre

Toy theatre, also known as juvenile theatre, puppet theatre, play theatre, paper theatre or model theatre, is a technique that uses paper characters or puppets to act out plays and was popular with children in the 1800’s.

Today many toy manufacturers make wooden or paper toy theatres for children to play with as well as a number of different styles of puppets for children to practise their puppetry and storytelling skills, or of course enjoy watching yours.

Toy theatres come in a variety of shapes and sizes including pop up paper theatres perfect for paper puppets and finger puppets and larger wooden theatres that often double as market stalls or shops and are perfect for hand puppets and other larger puppets.

We love the Tender Leaf Toys Theatre and the Tidlo Theatre. Both are a shop on one side and a toy theatre on the other making them a great versatile toy that offers maximum play potential without taking up too much space.

Types of Puppet

As well as there being different styles of toy theatre available there are also a number of types of puppet you can get to go with them.

Finger puppets or hand puppets are probably the easiest to use and manipulate and so are a great starting point for younger children. You can get some lovely finger puppet sets and you can even make your own hand puppets from old socks. Hand puppets are manipulated by putting your hand inside the puppet and moving your hand around the stage.

Marionettes are probably the image that springs to mind when you think puppet. They are the classic puppet on a string and manipulated by moving the strings their various body parts are suspended from. These are much harder to manipulate then finger or glove puppets and are probably best left to slightly older children and adults as they have a tendency to get tangled when little ones are involved.

Another option is rod puppets, simple puppets built around a rod, or stuck onto a rod in the case of paper puppets. These are again easier to manipulate especially if they have just a single rod.

Children will also often love to use their regular toys and dolls to act out stories in the theatre. And can have lots of fun finding props that work to make scenery or create the music and sound effects needed for the play.

Do You Need a Toy Theatre?

Need is possibly a strong word to use when it comes to toys. But a toy theatre certainly has lots of play value as well as being great for a child's development and education. Toy theatres are also one of those toys that grows with your child. And you will find that children of different ages all love a toy theatre, they just play with it in slightly different ways.


Next Up:  Benefits of Toy Theatres and Puppet Play

FREE Shipping Available & No customs charges for GB and EU customers!