Why Puppet Play is Important
A world of imaginative, open-ended PLAY opens when children play with puppets. Puppet play is a type of play that young children are naturally drawn. Like dolls and blocks, children have been playing with puppets for a long, long time. Puppets will continue to be special to children and adults.
Language & Literacy
When given a puppet some children who are otherwise nervous to speak aloud may be willing to talk to a puppet. With a puppet friend, children can tap into their imaginations and begin to create their own stories. Then the child can use the puppet to retell their story (or someone else’s story) continuing to expand their voices through the characters.
When retelling their stories or other stories, children’s memories continue to develop and improve. Since stories involve a beginning, middle, and end with a problem, children develop their problem-solving skills by working through possible solutions to the problem.
Social and Emotional Development
Expressing feelings safely by using a puppet, can help a child express their emotions in an appropriate way. Sometimes role-playing with puppets needs an adult to help process steps to take for a specific situation. Whether there are feelings of frustration, anxiety, excitement or fears, puppets can support children emotionally by giving them a friend to talk to or have the “friend” talk for them.
Manipulating hand puppets and finger puppets develop fine motor skills. Larger puppets, like marionettes, require more gross motor skills, but even using stick, sock or paper bag puppets requires a certain amount of stamina in the working arm. Manipulating puppets can be a positive way to encourage movement and to practice gross and fine motor control.
Puppets can make music and creative movement more interesting and can teach kids the works and movements to new songs.