We see puppets on our favorite childhood programs. You may come across them in your child’s day care or see your therapist using them in sessions to engage with your child. As therapists, we LOVE puppets as you can use them to target so many different areas of development. They lend themselves to so many great opportunities!
However, you do not have to go out and buy a puppet. Instead, you can make your own with your child and step into the wonderful world of puppets! Feel free to get creative. Do you have a spare wash cloth, sock, maybe a toilet paper roll lying around the house? Grab a marker and let’s get started creating your own puppet! This is a wonderful opportunity for your child to label clothing items, tell you what to draw next, pick out colors, or tell you where a body part should go!
Now that you've brought your puppet to life, here are some fun ideas that will capture your child's imagination while building so many skills:
Pretend play: Is your puppet hungry? Let’s set up a pizza party and get to eating! We can take turns feeding our puppet as well.
Emotions: How is your puppet feeling? Is he happy? Could she be feeling tired? Puppets are a wonderful way to model our different feelings to help us learn to express our complex emotions.
Story time: Use your puppet to turn up the engagement during book reading. Your puppet can be silly. She can take the roles of the characters in the book. Want to help explain an action? Your puppet can imitate and model these new ideas in such a fun way!
Need to practice certain words or sounds? You can take turns with your child while practicing sounds and words in a fun and exciting new way. Is your puppet a dog? Then it can howl! Is your puppet a cat? Then it can meow! Are you working on sounds made with “lips together”? Then you can model your puppet putting its lips together to make the “mmm” sound.
Social Skills: Puppets are a great way to practice the way the we interact with each other. We can practice using our greetings and farewells, sharing, and using gentle hands. Puppets are also a great way to make children feel more comfortable talking in front of new people – their puppet can be their voice while they get comfortable.
Give puppets a try and see what creative ideas you and your child can create together!