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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Preschoolers and Puppets

Puppets are a wonderful tool to use in the preschool classroom for all ages.  It doesn't really matter what kind of puppet you use - in fact you can just talk with your hand and kids find it funny and they pay attention. Have you ever watched a live puppet show? There is just something about having a little puppet talking to you that draws you in.

Puppets can be used as part of the classroom experience in numerous ways...

Creative art
Children can make their own paper bag puppets, stick puppets, string puppets, and finger puppets.

Children just love to sing along with a puppet. No need to have a fancy puppet or stage, just throw a puppet on your hand and make it sing. Let the children join you in the song by making their own puppets sing. If you don't like everyone watching you sing - no worries. The children would rather watch the puppet!

Performance and Leadership
Some children do not like to stand in front of the other children, but a puppet might help with this. Puppets foster leadership, performance, and sometimes, even the courage to stand in front of our peers. Older students can put on a puppet show for the younger students and younger students can even put on a puppet show for the older students. The funny thing about puppets, is the children don't care if the mouth is moving right or the actions make sense - they just love puppets.

Other types of learning going on
Puppets also foster social interaction, communication, role playing, imagination, story telling, listening, and much more. Don't think your students are too old or too young for puppets because preschoolers of all ages are intrigued by puppets.

Puppet Stage
You don't have to use a puppet stage. In fact, when first introducing puppets, it might be best if you don't . The battle of keeping children from sneaking behind the stage might scare you off from trying puppets out.  I recommend just introducing the puppets and letting the children explore them with you for awhile.

I then recommend adding a puppet stage. You can buy one or make one. I use a foam display board like those used in science projects. I set it up when I need it and when I don't - I just fold it up and stash it in the corner. When I am speaking, I can take my puppet stage with me:)

Circle Time for younger preschoolers
One of the great things about using a simple puppet stage like this is that it really captures the interest of young children. Set up a little stage, add a puppet, and then let the puppet introduce the letter A! Let the puppet lead the children in a song. Let the puppet count out loud, say the days of the week, spell the kid's names, and so on. Preschoolers love puppets and you can use puppets to introduce many wonderful concepts and keep the children having fun in the process.

Check out this cute home puppet stage too! 

Paper bag puppets

You can sing the frog song too!


Little Family Fun said...

I just put your button on my blog!
Thanks again for sharing all your great ideas!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

Wow - thank you for that!

Elise said...

We have a box of puppets here and we use them all the time, mostly when we sing songs and for story telling.

You have now got me thinking about making some puppets. Sounds like a fun and crative project for us.

Michelle said...

This is great! I want to get Emily into puppets :0)

Karen Nemeth, said...

Every early childhood education teacher who has children from different language backgrounds needs these ideas. Puppets can help a shy child gain confidence in practicing their language skills. All children who speak a language other than English at home need to have their home language supported in preschool, so puppets can be a great vehicle for focusing on those languages. And - they help teachers get the practice they need in their students' languages!

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

Hi Karen,
I love it when you come here and share how to take these ideas and make them useful in to ESL learners. I am learning from you too... I have used so many of these ideas over the years that I just take them for granted and with your help am beginning to connect the dots in how they are useful to other types of learners.

Thanks for sharing your expertise!

April said...

I love love love puppets. Fingerpuppets cute and fun! And my daughter loves fingerplays. I've made a couple of puppets by myself but they aren't the prettiest little things.

The Honorable Mention said...

I have been collecting puppets for the past 20 years. Working with special needs as well as at-risk children,they provide an inviting forum & add dimension to story telling. Children love to pretend they are real, or depending on the age-believe they are.
They are great for separation anxiety, boo's, hurt feelings, and promoting friendships. They really are universal.

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

Absolutely - the list of what puppets are good for just keeps getting longer:) I find it interesting that you can walk into so many preschool classrooms and never see a puppet being used by a teacher. I am hoping to encourage teachers to really see the value.

April - I love that you have made puppets - As you can see, my frog is about as basic as it gets buy my nephew ran around with it all afternoon.

Scott said...

I love your puppet stage. I've used a table turned on its side for a make-shift puppet stage but I've never seen your idea before. I can tell you now that I'm going to "steal" it.

Thanks for some great ideas.

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

That is why I posted it - just so everyone could "steal it":) About the easiest think I have come up with to make a stage. You can decorate it too - I just never took the time.

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

I mean "thing" - My typing is terrible lately!

halpey1 said...

One thing I've tried this year (with a LOT of success) is using puppets to correlate with each letter/sound... Alligator puppet for A, Bear puppet for B, Cat puppet for C, etc. I have some really COOL puppets (my Izzy the Iguana is my favorite) and also some LAME paper ones, but the kids love them and it really helps them make a connection with each letter/sound.

Teacher Tom said...

I don't do enough with puppets. We have a huge collection, but I rarely use them. I needed this post to get me going. Thanks.

Deborah (Teach Preschool) said...

Teacher Tom - that is so common - I am not sure why, but often times, it is the teacher's who lose interest in puppets and so we just leave them to collect dust. Perhaps we make it too hard by feeling puppets has to be some major production. That is why I say just throw them out there and have fun - see what kind of interest your students will have. Just like singing and art, if we don't introduce it - the kids won't care about it either.

Teaching Heart Mom said...

what a great way to make a puppet theater and you don't need to spend lots. i love this idea. thanks for sharing

discount puppets said...

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