Why we use puppets in our sessions at Wriggles and Giggles.
Puppets provide a wide range of benefits for children. You can use puppets, whether they are shop brought or homemade, to enhance almost any area of the child’s learning. Children of all ages can enjoy using puppets.
Puppets are a great way to engage the attention and imagination of children of all ages. Using puppets is an enjoyable way to promote children's learning of new skills and concepts.
Social skills: Puppets can increase children's communication and social skills by providing structured opportunities to interact with the puppets. Children can also practice these skills by using puppets to interact with other children.
Emotional development: Puppets can support children emotionally by giving them a "friend" to talk to, or a way to talk to other children without having to speak directly.
Confidence in reading and speaking: Children who are reluctant to speak or read out loud may be more willing to talk or read to a puppet.
Music appreciation: Puppets can make music and creative movement more interesting and can teach children the words and movements to new songs.
Motor skills: Manipulating puppets can be a positive way to encourage movement and to practice gross and fine motor control.
Guidance: Children can learn appropriate behaviours by watching the puppet's example, or the puppet can introduce and explain rules.
Encouraging creativity: Children can use puppets to come up with stories, scenarios, and creative ways to solve problems.
Capturing attention: A puppet can be a good tool to capture the attention of young children in large-group and small-group settings, especially if the adult gives the puppet an engaging "personality."
Promoting dramatic play: Puppets can be easy-to-manipulate characters in a variety of dramatic play themes and stories.
Puppets can be used across many different parts of the early childhood. Here are a few common places where puppets can enhance young children's play and learning:
Dramatic play: Children can use puppets to act out their own scenarios and stories.
Transitions: Puppets are a great tool for telling children what activity is coming next. For example, Wanda the Chef might come out of her kitchen to let the children know it's time to clean up for snack/lunch.
Games: Puppets can lead games with children, such as "Simon Says" and "I-Spy." Puppets can also participate in the game, either as a positive role model or as an example of misbehaviour that the children can help correct.
Reading: Children can practice reading their favourite books to puppets, especially if they're too shy to read in front of teachers or other children. Children who are not reading yet can make up stories to tell the puppet, or "read" to them by telling a familiar story using the illustrations in the storybook. Puppets can also read children their favourite books.
Creative Art: Puppets can paint with children or introduce a new craft to the children.
Puppet Shows: Children can use puppets to put on their own puppet shows for other Children, parents, family members. Parents can also use puppet shows to introduce new concepts to children.
Music Time: Puppets can sing and dance during large group activities.
Types of Puppets
Puppets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, races, and ethnicities. Some puppets have mouths, legs, etc. that move, while others may not. Puppets can be:
Wrapped around fingers
Pulled over hands
Controlled by strings
In addition to brought puppets, give children the opportunity to make their own individual puppets out of socks or brown paper bags, sticks, spoons, balls, gloves, or mittens.
Encourage the children to be as creative as possible.