Yesterday I finished helping a kindergarten teacher friend of mine write a grant for some puppets for her classroom. Writing the grant was easy because, I just LOVE puppets. I remember vividly watching “Lambchop” on TV many, many years ago. Happy memories. These days I am reliving my past playing with puppets and connecting with my grandkids. Laughing and having fun just like it should be in retirement.
Why Use Puppets with Your Child?
There are many benefits in using puppets with kids. Puppets provide a developmentally appropriate way to build vocabulary, creativity, and imagination. Acting out scenes, telling stores, practicing new words, and talking about emotions all tend to be easier behind a puppet.
Puppet Activity Ideas
- Help your child identify each character by giving them an identity. Have them give their new friend a name, a voice, place to live, or a favorite book. Everything to make them a “real person”. Best thing is that the next day, their puppet can be someone else with a new story to tell.
- Build their vocabulary by helping them describe their puppet. Their personality, their clothes, their homes are all opportunities to learn and use both day to day vocabulary and advanced vocabulary. How often do you hear a 3-year-old tell you that something is hilarious? Challenge yourself to give your child enough information about a puppy being funny that they will start to use the word hilarious. Use it with puppets and in everyday activities and step back (and smile) when you hear it from your child.
- Use the puppets to act out a scene. An everyday routine or a creative adventure.
- Use your puppets to talk to each other. Communicating through question and answering is everyday life. Modeling talking and listening will help your child’s communication skills.
- Encourage your child to act out a story they know or a story they’ve made up.
- Help your child navigate difficult social situations playing with puppets. Perhaps it’s a problem with a friend that says inappropriate words. Help your child through puppet play to know what to do and what to say when it happens. Give them the words to help the understand and speak up to solve the problem. Giving their puppet the correct language will teach your child problem solving skills.
- Kids can be brave when they are behind a puppet. Puppets can share problems and joys and be listened to by caring and loving people. They can be a great lens into your child’s life.
Puppets can become a part everyday play. They give us a chance to talk together, laugh together and share quality time. I hope you enjoy this wonderful “hand to hand” activity.