I love puppets! Kids love puppets! They provide such a great way to engage kids; capturing both their attention and their imagination. Even when kids eventually realize there is a person behind (or under or holding) a puppet, the intrigue and affection is still there.
Today I'm introducing guest blogger Abby Glassenberg, puppet designer extraordinaire, and blogger from While She Naps! Can you see from the title how awesome her puppets are?! Abby has some great ideas (and therapeutic reasons) for using puppets in play and for therapy sessions. She also has some awesome ideas for making your own puppets! I'm looking forward to trying out her pattern to make my own. I would love to see your puppet if you make one! Thank you Abby for contributing today!
Puppets can play a special role in a therapy session, a classroom, or at home with your family. When we slide our hand inside a puppet and begin to make it talk we can suddenly be anyone we want. Through a puppet we can express thoughts that would be too difficult to say out loud otherwise.
A puppet can be angry, or sad, or frustrated about a situation and express those emotions fully without worrying about the consequences. When we play with puppets we give ourselves permission to talk about complicated situations and to be silly too.
If you don't already have puppets in your toy box of toolbox it's worth buying a few at a toy store or making your own. As a teacher and mother of three girls, one of whom has special needs, I love having puppets available in my arsenal. I also like to make toys for my children to use. As a sewing designer, I realized that there was a need for an open-mouthed, expressive puppet that was easy for moms and therapists to sew themselves. This realization led me to create the Chit Chat Puppet Pattern for people just like me who want to create a special puppet to use with the children in their lives. It's a simple-to-sew pattern that allows you to easily make custom puppets that fit your particular needs.
The wonderful thing about puppets is that they are a representation of a living being so puppets can get away with things that people can't. Puppets allow us to experience a fantasy and that's such a valuable thing for a child.
One approach to playing with puppets is to use a visually neutral puppet that's neither a boy nor a girl and doesn't have many identifying characteristics. This means that the puppet doesn't resemble anyone and can be anyone. A child can project whatever they want onto the puppet, rather than feeling constrained by the puppet's features.
Another approach is to buy or create a variety of puppet characters, including a predator puppet and a friendly puppet. Distinct characters allow you and the child to act out scenarios together, and you can even switch roles to try out different resolutions to the stories you're acting out together.
One way to begin puppet play is to by presenting a puppet that has a problem that's an exaggerated version of one the child is actually facing. For example, of the child is struggling with accepting a new baby into the family, the puppet can wish that the new baby would disappear and it could be the only child once again. In this scenario the puppet is just like the child, only more so. This experience give the child an opportunity to unburden themselves of thoughts they were previously afraid to openly express such as wishing a baby would disappear.
You can also present a situation similar to the one that the child needs help resolving and use the puppet to model new behavior patterns and rehears coping strategies. Possible situations that are suited for this kind of play would be winning and losing at games, turn taking, greeting people and active listening. To encourage the child to problem solve and to create a bond with the puppet, suggest that they be the puppet's helper. Can the child help the puppet accept that it's lost at a board game? or teach the puppet to greet a friend appropriately?
Of course playing with puppets doesn't always have to have a serious aim. Putting on a silly show with a puppet is a fun way to spend time together enjoying an open ended, creative activity. It's definitely okay to just have fun with your puppet!
There are lots of puppets that are simple to make together with children. Try a paper bag puppet, a clothespin puppet or a sock puppet to get started. And of course, there are many commercially available puppets you can buy at the store. if you'd like to create a unique puppet to use with your child or with your students. however. I encourage you to try my Chit Chat Puppet pattern. It's intended for people with all levels of sewing experience and will allow you to create an array of unique, high quality puppets you can use for years to come.
Read more articles from Your Kids OT at https://www.yourkidsot.com/blog
The information on this site is general in nature. The activities are safe for most children, however, you should consult an Occupational Therapist or health professional to address specific movement, sensory or other medical conditions.
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Hi, I'm Cindy and I am an Occupational Therapist. I enjoy working creatively with children to see them reach their potential. Read more about me here.
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Disclaimer: The information on this site is general in nature and should be used for educational and entertainment purposes. The activities are safe for most children, however, you should consult an Occupational Therapist or health professional to address specific movement, sensory or other medical conditions. This blog does not replace formal therapeutic professional advice given by a health professional or medical practitioner. Reviews and endorsements of products will only be made based on my expertise and personal opinion; and deemed worthy of such endorsement. The opinions shared in sponsored content will always be my own and not that of the advertising company or brand. Content, advertising space or posts will be clearly identified if paid, affiliated or sponsored. Affiliate links may be found throughout this website in advertising. This means that if you follow through with a purchase from these links, Your Kids OT will receive a percentage of the sale. Your Kids OT undertakes to meet the requirements of the "Social Media Policy" as published by Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Further information about this policy can be found here.
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