You know when you need to think of a toy that is educational, aids child development, is fun, and on top of that, is inexpensive? We bet you never put puppets on your list of options. Are we right?
Well, you should know that playing with puppets is one of the most educational activities you can expose a child to, and when you discover all their benefits, you’ll want to assemble a box full of them at home, at school, and even give them to your child’s friends.
The amazing benefits of playing with puppets in early childhood
Playing with puppets is one of the most educational activities you can expose your kids to. Watching a child play with a puppet may seem like fun and entertainment, but playing with puppets is so much more. When you realise all the additional benefits of this activity you may want to keep a basket of puppets available at home or in your classroom. There are great developmental benefits that are embraced when you encourage playing with puppets.
What kinds of puppets can young children play with?
The wonderful thing about puppets is they don’t have to be expensive storebought models. The humble sock, the odd one that always hangs around, can be made into a very engaging puppet.
Young children love to play a game of ‘peek a boo’ and a puppet is a perfect partner for this activity. Make a puppet from a paper bag or try your hand at making a string puppet using cardboard boxes or toilet rolls. The purpose of the puppet is to create interaction, fun dialogue, and even an element of surprise in your play and learn activities. Playing with puppets will benefit your child’s development in the early learning years. Take a look at this list of 9 ways playing with puppets encourages child development.
How do children learn from puppets?
It might be surprising as a parent to know that children learn a great deal from playing with puppets. These handheld toys have the potential to improve language skills, creativity, social awareness, and more. Here are nine examples of the developmental areas that are encouraged through play with puppets.
To begin with, it is important to point out that the purpose of the puppet is to promote interaction, and dialogue and stimulate children’s creativity to create their own narratives. But that is only the beginning. Through these experiences, they are able to improve language skills, social awareness, relationships, and much more. Below we will explain each of them better.
Children love having “conversations” with a puppet and each verbal interaction with their puppet will stimulate language development. The shyest ones can even benefit from the fact that, for a moment, the puppet is their voice. In addition, it is also possible to have a conversation between two puppets, which will stimulate the child’s reasoning and dialogue skills.
Parents can also use the puppets to create characters that help correct behaviour, such as the child’s table manners, and the importance of brushing teeth after meals, among other things. When the puppet becomes the instructor, it is no longer the voice of the parent setting the rules, and children can be more open to the guidelines being passed on.
Puppets can teach children a lot about their emotions. After all, the protagonists of the stories will experience moments of joy, sadness, irritation, jealousy, and fun… and knowing all these feelings through a third party, helps develop sympathy and empathy too.
When children stop to listen to the story told by a puppet, they are working on their listening skills. Therefore, puppets can be very useful in teaching important lessons, rhymes, and songs.
There are a number of motor skills that children can improve by playing with puppets. The fine movement needed to move the puppet helps with dexterity and improves motor coordination and also works on notions of balance and directionality.
Assembling a puppet show and presenting it to the family requires courage, preparation, and planning. As the puppet is the centre of attention, the child becomes more confident to speak in front of other people and expose their creativity. As their confidence grows, they will be happy to see that they are able to create something on their own and still entertain family or friends.
Creativity is one of the key parts of all puppetry work. And the concept goes far beyond the creation of the story itself. After all, it is necessary to select the puppets that best fit that plot, think about the scenario that will compose the story, and the voices of each character, among other things. Not to mention that if the child is good with handicrafts, he/she can even create his/her own character with old socks or paper bags.
Excellent for entertaining children outside the home
The next time you’re spending hours travelling in the car with the kids or you’re in the doctor’s waiting room with your child, trust me: a puppet and a book may be all you need to entertain them. And the best thing is that they are small, malleable, and unbreakable, you just put them in your bag and that’s it.
So, the next time you are looking for suggestions for toys for your children or to give to your friends’ children, bet on puppets. The options of models and sizes are numerous and, for sure, you will find something that fits the child’s favorite theme. To get an idea, there are even rubber models, which can be useful at bath time. And then, have fun watching them create characters, stories, songs, and everything else that their imagination allows.
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