I’m fond of the armrod puppets from Melissa and Doug and own as many as four. I got to know them during my webshop era and bought a few, even though they didn’t meet all my criteria (no yarn hair). I was pleasantly surprised by their quality and the attention to detail in their creation; they’re enjoyable to play with and are just really fun. Here are a few of them. If I’ve found a sales link, it’s included.

This very distinctive firefighter from Melissa and Doug really shouldn’t be missed if you enjoy playing with puppets, want to work with tough professions, or are looking for very recognizable puppets. This firefighter is the kind that you could see rescuing your cat from a tree, experienced and seasoned. He’s well-made, plays surprisingly smoothly despite his rather stiff clothing, and is delightfully caricatured.

I found him on Amazon now, here’s the link: https://amzn.to/4asHIzk

Together with the policeman, you get a better deal: https://amzn.to/4cT6cmY

He’s a bit upgraded now, but built the same and still just as playable as this one was. The surgeon from Melissa and Doug is also a real must-have, especially because you can remove his cap, mask, and coat, creating a much more neutral puppet. If you’re looking for a puppet that fits the hospital theme, then this could be your perfect match.

You can order him on Amazon, here’s the link: https://amzn.to/3J8Vj30

This amazing ballerina puppet with armrod from the Melissa and Doug brand is a great puppet to have in your collection of even to start with. She’s hilarious to watch and can also serve as a kind of anti-hero because those long legs make her a bit clumsy and mostly a wanna-be dancer. She’s easy to play with and big enough for an adult hand. If you like her and have the chance to buy her, I would go for it.

Here is the link I have found for you: https://amzn.to/3PXx9Mu

Melissa and Doug’s police officer – an amazing puppet and one of the best in his price range Melissa and Doug’s police officer is part of their armrod series. That whole range is worth it: they are well made, are all fun and are great value for money. If you can still get them; buy them! I’m sure you won’t regret it. I had a soft spot for the police officer because he was very recognizable, but his appearance was also a bit Super Mario-ish, which made him friendly and accessible.

If you like him, here’s a link to buy him on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3TQJSls

Al Dente, the cook hand puppet from the Melissa and Doug brand, is one of my favorites and, in my opinion, a must-have for all puppet enthusiasts.

Al Dente is part of my own collection, and I adore him. What I like about him is that he is a real chef; it’s immediately clear what his profession or hobby is, everything about his appearance is spot on.

If I had to categorize him among puppets, I would say he falls into the category of “puppets with arms” as far as I’m concerned. He’s a dressed-up sock puppet with arms that can be operated using the included wooden stick, the arm rod. This has been well-thought-out because there’s an opening in each hand where the stick can be inserted. It stays in place during play thanks to the Velcro that secures the stick to the hand.

He’s easily operated with an adult hand, reaching up to your elbow, and he comes to life very effortlessly. He moves smoothly, the playability is excellent, the grip in his mouth is good, you can express emotions with him, the finishing is entirely fine in this price range, and overall, he offers an outstanding price-quality ratio.

If you can find him or purchase him through Amazon, I wouldn’t think twice; go ahead and buy him.

Here are my links for you:

For America: https://amzn.to/491NvLN

For Europe: https://amzn.to/3SlzpxA

These where my Melissa and Doug must-haves for you. I an other topic I will share other brands or types.

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Author

Helen Meurs (helenmeurs.com) is a pioneer in the field of Puppet Power, an independent trainer and developer. She offers online courses, is the lead instructor at the vocational training for puppet coaches, and authored the book ‘The Hand Puppet as a Educational Tool’. Subscribe to her newsletter if you want to know more.

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