If you are going to have a group of older babies or young toddlers over to your home for a playgroup, you might want to consider putting on a short hand puppet show. Children in this age range find vivid colors and unique puppets particularly riveting, so a puppet show would probably be a big hit. Puppet shows are relatively easy to do and can be a a lot of fun for the performers as well as for the audience. They can also serve as an excellent means of teaching basic life lessons to young children, such as the importance of sharing or the importance of family. Here are a few of the supplies you need to get started.
First, you will of course need puppets. You can either buy hand puppets or make them yourself. If you think your children will be interested in continuing to play with the puppets long after the puppet show is over, then you should probably go ahead and buy the puppets. If you don't think they'll be interested in continuing, or if you need specific puppet characters for your skit, then you should make them yourself. You can find puppet patterns and materials at craft and hobby supply stores, or you can find patterns on internet websites devoted to puppetry. When making your own puppets, be sure to give a lot of thought to the kinds of shows you are likely to put on so that you can make all the characters that you need at one time.
Second, you will need a puppet theater. Again, you can buy these from stores or make them yourself. A cheap puppet theater pretty much just consists of a large piece of cardboard that can stand up on its own. It has an opening for the puppets, while concealing the bodies of the puppeteers. Usually there is a scene printed on the outside of the puppet theater. You can get a generic scene of trees, bushes, and flowers, which will allow you to put on practically any type of show with an outdoor setting. Or you can get a puppet theater with specific scenery, such as a castle and moat. This would be perfect for putting on shows that have a fairy tale theme, such as a princess in distress or whatever. When making your own puppet theater, you would of course have much more flexibility in choosing the scenery.
Finally, you will need a script. Even the most basic 5- or 10-minute puppet shows should follow a script. It would be much too difficult to ad lib the entire thing and have it make sense. It is very easy to write your own script. Obviously you don't want to make the story too complicated since your audience will be young toddlers, but there should still be some kind of simple plot.
Once everything is ready, have fun putting on your puppet show. I think you'll find that children love it and will keep asking for more, so be ready for an encore!