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under5s - puppets
Playing with Puppets

It can be great fun playing with puppets not just for children but for the adult too - who can help the puppet develop its own unique character and style. It is also not hard - you don't need to be an expert, the children really do not mind if you move your lips, the puppet might not even want to talk, or you can encourage it to whisper in your ear, and communicate with body language or just be there to add depth to your activity.

"Two little dickie birds sitting on the wall", can become a delightful song that you can take outdoors with two little parrots sitting on the slide, or in the tree, or on the swings.... how many verses can you think of?

What can be more fun, than sitting down for a pretend tea party with the children, when you hear something - you go to the door and there is a rabbit there who has invited himself for tea, the children can have great fun thinking about what the rabbit might like to eat, serving him a cup of tea, and then it could turn in to the 'mad hatters' tea party, and the rabbit could misbehave and spill tea everywhere and refuse to share and you can talk about how this behaviour is upsetting things for us

 - perhaps the children could even tell the rabbit off and ask him to play nicely. Or maybe at the door was Red Riding Hood, and she wanted to know the way to Granny's house, so you invite her in for directions...
You can find bird puppets here
Large Bird Hand Puppet - Green Amazon Parrot
Puppets can do all sorts of things, they can:
  • Be used to introduce special needs - we have a puppet that signs and is deaf, and needs to to use sign language to communicate. His names 'Pilo'. 
  • They can be used in songs and stories - a crocodile puppet can snap at all the monkeys that are hiding in a tree, and enable the child to act out a familiar song.
  • Puppets can be used as prompts - they can draw the children's attention to a book or story and help you retell it.
  • They can be used freely be the children to act out stories and rhymes - helping to develop an interest in story telling.
  • They can be used to discuss different situations - so that all children can understand. 
  • They can become special friends to the children and develop their interest in things further
  • They can take on a role you can't - and be naughty, mischievous, rude, and refuse to share and the children can work together to talk through the problem and come to a new conclusion
  • They can share experiences - a puppet, through photos could go to the hospital, or go on a boat trip, and bring his/her photos back to share so that the children can be introduced to new experiences.
  • A puppet can be great fun! 
Are they expensive?

Puppets can be really expensive - our signing puppet was, but 'Pilo' has been a great asset to the setting, and has been known to occasionally have a revamp, and turn up as Pilo's cousin Penny, so we got two for the price of one - but you can make your own, with enthusiasm, time and a little effort.

However you do not need to have a signing puppet, there are all sorts of options:

  • Glove puppets are great and are easy to get hold of, and can cost upwards from about £8 - you can get animals, people and birds - some even come with their own voices such as this parrot! - which is a great way to get the children's attention! Follow this link to find more Puppets 
  • Finger puppets - you can make and design your own, or you can buy these quite cheaply and are ideal for introducing characters to small groups of children, or for the children to use themselves.
  • Stick puppets - again have a go, a star on a stick for each child enables everyone to join in with Twinkle twinkle little star, or even a Humpty Dumpty with his own wall.
  • Paper bag puppets
  • Still stuck for ideas - take a look at this web site and there are over 100 different puppet designs for you and your children to have a go at making....
  • Or if you and the children are not feeling creative today - then a cuddly toy can take on the role of the puppet - just give the toy its own character and off you go!
Where can we play with puppets?

Anywhere!!!  Puppets are great - they can be used indoors or outdoors, in familiar situations to create new opportunities or to explore something new with you. They can be used with stories and songs, with make believe play or in real experiences - the only limit is yours and the children's imagination.... they can decide what the puppet looks like, what he or she does or you can and together you can explore numerous possibilities.

Have fun!

Helen Renouf (NNEB)
Accredited Childminder

under5s - puppets
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