Oh the joy of puppets. When I first wrote about puppets, I focused on the joy they bring to my teaching. The fact is, kids adore puppets, and as evidence by The Muppets t-shirt I just bought and wear proudly, so do I.
Today, we introduced our puppet center. Sorry, Play Dough and Mr. Potato Head, but the excitement over the puppet center was unrivaled. I couldn’t have agreed more with Jeremy when, just about busting out of his seams, screamed, “Puppets, puppets, we get to use da PUPPETS!”
So after a modeled lesson with puppets (I used the giraffe and sheep puppets and they went to the playground and sang ‘Jack and Jill’… I know you were dying to know), the fun unfolded. As I stood there watching them interact with each other and the puppets, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much VALUE there is in puppet play.
They’re practicing important social interactions. Just like an good playtime, the children must negotiate who gets to use the puppets, who will be in the audience, what puppets to use, and what the story will be. In addition, they are retelling stories and using rich story language they’ve heard in books.
During one ‘performance’ I saw a little boy pop his puppet out of the theatre and notify his audience, “The show will start in five minutes.”
He then went on to discuss the character, setting, and plot elements of their play. It was awesome.
Oh, plus puppets are just magical. When I modeled my puppet skills for them, I let them in on the ‘secret’ to puppet magic. If you duck your head behind the puppet theatre and stay there, the puppets seem to come to life! I then said a few lines with my head in full view… everyone agreed it wasn’t as much fun.
As I reflected on the awesomeness of puppets today, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for folks that don’t get to use them at work like I do. I use puppets every single day and they do nothing but bring joy. Puppet power is pretty plush. Hehe. Kermit would be proud.