Using puppets for preschool learning activities helps to promote social and emotional development in toddlers. Spending time on puppet play encourages children to express themselves in different ways while using their imagination and discovering important skills. Sharing with peers, helping others, listening to teachers, and cooperating with students are some of the positive behaviors preschoolers will become familiar with through the use of puppets. By encouraging children to act out stories, whether they are from real life situations or make-believe worlds, a door is opened into the thoughts of a young learner. This will allow adults, both teachers and parents, to take a step into the minds and feelings of preschoolers, and help them grow as individuals.
How to Use Puppets in Preschool Learning
Puppets are extremely versatile. They can act as a school buddy or become a best friend. They can be a teachers aid for education or an actor for entertainment. Puppets are positive influences within a preschool classroom. Puppets can model all types of manners and emotions, giving children a way to relate and understand a variety of different behaviors. Feelings such as patience, understanding, acceptance, self-control and empathy can be addressed and explored through many types of puppet play. They are wonderful tools that can help trigger the attention of early learners and increase the motivation of students. To get started, we have put together a few modeling scenarios that are sure to engage preschoolers and pique their interest:
Greetings and Salutations
Have the puppet or puppets say hello and introduce themselves to the preschoolers. Ask for the children’s names in return and tell them it was very nice to meet them. This little bit of communication will introduce lessons on initiating a conversation with someone new while setting examples of friendly social interactions.
Likes and Interests
Puppets can begin talking about what they like to do or things that they are interested in. Following the puppets’ talk about themselves, preschoolers can then be prompted to discuss what they like and what their interests are. This conversation models how to get to know someone and how to show an interest in that person.
Ask early learners how their own puppets are feeling and why they are feeling that way. Encourage children to share their own feelings. This scenario can familiarize toddlers with how to express emotion, think of other people’s feelings, and how to act appropriately.
From finger puppets and string puppets to hand puppets and stick puppets, it is important to remember that all preschool puppet interactions should be modeling positive behaviors and actions. Incorporate a range of puppets from different backgrounds and professions to foster acceptance. Include animal puppets, as well, to facilitate creative minds. Try using a variety of voices and personalities that will hopefully trigger a connection with one or more children. Feature guests puppets by having other parents or teachers volunteer their time for a puppet play. Finally, try to add in the use of props, such as a puppet theatre or stage. Inspiring friendly relationships and praising appropriate conduct creates a fun way to discover and work on social and emotional skills both individually and as a group.