A puppet, a small figure of a person or animal having a cloth body and hollow head, is designed to be fitted over and manipulated by the hand. Larger puppets may be worked by strings or rods attached to various parts of the puppet body. These larger puppets are called marionettes. Puppets have been part of many cultures in the world. Japan has a rich tradition of puppet theater; the peoples of the some areas of the Middle East and Europe have used puppets to tell traditional folk tales and stories. Puppet history in Italy, France, England, and other countries goes back for at least 300 hundred years. Puppets like the Muppets are still popular today. Parents like puppets because they encourage children to use their imaginations and create their own stories. Kids like puppets because they help them act out or control their world in manageable components.