Puppets come in all sorts of designs and are easy to make at home as well. You can make puppets from simple materials like socks, paper bags, or even popsicle sticks. More complex puppets can be fashioned from felt or fabric scraps. You can buy puppets designed for your fingers or hands in many different styles, including people and animals. You can also find stages that make it easier to perform a puppet play, like the small puppet theater with 4 hand puppets, or you can create your own stage with a table and curtain or even a cardboard box.
Puppets are fun for both children and parents. You can use a cuddly hand puppet to ease your child’s fears about going to the doctor or use a bath puppet to make the tub more fun. Puppets also make great story time helpers and can often coax children into going to bed or eating their vegetables. Puppets make all sorts of tasks more fun for children, including potty training and learning skills like letters and numbers.
Children who play with puppets develop their language skills, social skills, and enhance their creativity. Puppets can also help children deal with emotions like anger, sadness, and loss. Provide your child with an assortment of hand puppets for free play and encourage her to create make believe stories with the toys. Play together and act out recent situations your child may not understand, may fear, or even events she enjoyed. Let the puppets start a new school or pretend the puppets are getting a new baby.
Puppets are excellent toys for increasing reading comprehension skills and story telling capabilities. Read a favorite classic story, like The Three Little Pigs or Little Red Riding Hood, and use puppets to act out the story when you are done. Some puppet sets are available especially for this purpose, but it is easy to substitute the puppets you have available for the characters in the book. You can even add props to make your puppet play more like the story, like a small basket for Little Red Riding Hood or small block houses in the Three Little Pigs.
It can also be a lot of fun to create your own puppet script with your child. Start by creating a character. Let your child name one or two puppets and develop personalities for each. Next, tell your child to decide where the puppets are and what they are doing. Are they playing at the park or maybe having a birthday party? Maybe the puppets are at home getting ready to eat dinner.
Now you’re ready to create your puppet script. Encourage your child to make up the story and ask open ended questions to keep things going if she gets stuck. Older children can use this as writing practice or you may want to make up the story as you ply with the puppets. For a fun and educational long term project, write an entire puppet play together and make costumes and props to fit the story. After lots of practice, present the puppet play to friends and family or video tape the production for a lasting memory.