Puppet Fun

March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #16

Pinocchio Play-of-the-Day

Pinocchio is not just a puppet, he is a character with a dream. Even though he’s made of wood, he shares many characteristics with kids and adults too.

pinocchio puppet playGepetto, a wood carver, creates a boy puppet. He loves Pinocchio very much but Pinocchio, like real children, doesn’t like to be controlled by others and yet is sometimes easy to manipulate. He makes mistakes, goes to school, and has adventures, both good and bad. When under stress, he tells lies and his nose grows longer and longer. Pinocchio learns along the way and, aided by the Fairy with Blue Hair, becomes real.

Pinocchio-Geoffrey-BrockThe story of Pinocchio has been translated into more than 240 languages. Most of us are familiar with the Disney version, but there are other versions based on the original. This translation, by Geoffrey Brock, has more than fifty gorgeous watercolor illustrations of Fulvio Testa. You can read or tell the story to your child and maybe use a puppet to help.

Children do not understand the symbolism of the story but they can relate to the struggles. One of the challenges is what is real. Figuring out what is fantasy and what is reality isn’t easy. Kids use their imagination to help make sense of the world around them. In the words of John Holt, from the book How Children Learn, “Children…are like someone trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with only 10 percent of the pieces–they have to invent imaginary pieces to fill in all the gaps….They have to make some kind of sense of it right now.”

Imaginary and pretend play is an important activity for kids. You and your child can make puppets out of socks, paper bags, wooden spools, popsicle sticks, styrofoam take-out containers, and fingers and hands. The video below has some easy instructions for little puppets. While the puppets have adventures, kids talk, interact with others, solve problems, move their bodies, explore emotions, make brain connections, and more. You can see the imagination at work play in this version of Jack and the Beanstalk. At your house today, can the puppets come out for some play?

Kindergarten Readiness: Fun And Learning with Puppets

Puppets are a perfect kindergarten readiness play-of-the-day, for fun and learning, that starts with a p just like April starts with a p. They can be made out of a variety of materials: socks, take-home containers, popsicle sticks, paper bags, bits of fabric, and even fingers. Of course, there are wonderful puppets in the store that sometimes just follow you home.
fun and learning with puppets
Children play with puppets in various ways. Usually, they talk to the puppet and the puppet talks back. This stimulates conversation and can encourage children who are reluctant to talk. Language is made of patterns and children may use ones they are familiar with or explore new ones with puppets. Kids also try out different voices, characters, actions, and outcomes.
playing with puppets
Puppets can help children with the social skill of empathy as they try and understand the puppets feelings and its point of view. They are great for pretending and imagining. After all, puppets can go anywhere and be anybody. Interacting with a puppet is similar to playing with peers, except that a puppet is often safer so children can express things  that they may not with others.

Hands, arms, and sometimes whole bodies get exercise when playing with puppets. As children experiment with ways to move themselves and puppets they are also practicing problem-solving and planning. Are there some puppets your child likes to play with?

Some Handy Ideas for Kindergarten Readiness: Puppets

Hands inside a puppet make both the puppet and learning come alive, helping with kindergarten readiness in many different ways. Puppets:

  • play-dough-mestimulate lots of conversation. Children practice using the language patterns of each person having a turn to speak. Asking questions is a development skill and kids can ask their puppets questions and give the answers.
  • can help children see another’s point of view. The puppet may not like the same things as the child and the child explores this in the dialogue.
  • encourage use of imagination. There’s lots of interaction with puppets, similar to interactions with friends and others.
  • invite lots of movement and action, using both fine muscles and big muscles, too.

Puppets can be created from old socks, paper bags, popsicle sticks, fabric scraps, even small styrofoam containers. Although puppets usually go over the hand, rather than it, apparently this plasticine is a puppet. To extend your child’s play, you can ask the puppet’s name. You may want to ask other questions such as what it is doing, if it knows how to sing a song, it’s favorite color, how it is feeling, if it is scared of anything, or if it knows how to be a friend. You may want a turn being the puppet and can use various voices such as low, grumpy, happy, squeaky and very slow. Two or more puppets can have their own conversations for double the fun! Does your child like to play with puppets?

Kindergarten Readiness – Bug Puppets For Fun & Learning

Q. What was the Spider doing on the computer? A. Searching the web. Maybe the spider was looking for some kindergarten readiness fun and bug learning activities! Just in case you can’t recognize the picture, it is a spider puppet made from 2 circles of fabric with 8 legs cut from bag handles and 2 … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness – Bug Puppets For Fun & Learning