Play and Development
Debbie Mobbs
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Farm Animal Hand Puppet

A child's imagination is one of their greatest assets, and there is no better toy or activity to encourage imaginative play than classic puppets!

The play and learning opportunities are endless with puppets and today I'm going to share a few fun ideas for you to try at home.

Firstly, a puppet need not be a fancy store-bought one. Socks, paper packets or plastic packets can all be made into wonderful puppets if one applies creativity to them. The wonderful thing about puppet play is the social, emotional and language skill development that this activity promotes. Social situations such as feelings, contexts and scenarios can all be acted out in a non-threatening, fun role-play with puppets. Language skill development is also a huge plus when playing with puppets. Basic language such as animal sounds right through to full sentences and songs can all be achieved while playing with puppets. In puppet play even fine motor co-ordination skills are developed as the child uses their hands and fingers to move the mouth of the puppet as it "speaks".

Here are some wonderful practical puppet play ideas from one of our suppliers - Melissa and Doug:

  • Use the puppets to ask your child questions, and let your child ask questions of the puppet, too. For instance, the puppet might ask your child what it's like to be a kid, or ask about favourite snacks, games, or friends.
  • Place one puppet on your hand and one on your child's hand. Use your puppet to ask your child's puppet questions. For instance, "I want to go to school with you. What is it like there?"
  • Use the animal puppets to act out a "people" scene that's familiar to the child. For instance, you might have a cow puppet go on a trip to the library to find a new book. Allow your child to join in the scene or simply observe.
  • Use your puppets to act out challenging social scenes, and encourage your child to help you resolve them. For instance, perhaps a horse puppet wants to play with the sheep but doesn't know how to ask, or maybe the pig is being too bossy and the other animals are upset.

A wonderful all-day activity would be to create a family puppet show. Encourage the child to make up a story of his or her choosing and act it out as a puppet show. Create a stage for the big performance by using an old cardboard box (decorated as desired) and possibly make a poster with the name of the play on it. For older children, they can create tickets and collect them from family audience members.

Puppet play options and ideas are only limited by ones imagination. We have two wonderful new puppet sets at Sensational Kids and know you and your kids are going to love them as much as we do.

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