Puppets At Day Care
Puppets can mean many things to preschool children. Self expression and creativity in children can be enhanced through puppet play. It can instill a love of dramatics, encourage speech from otherwise reluctant orators and greatly improve communication between teachers and children. Having children assist in the production of home made puppets make them the obvious choice. Generally, puppets fall into four different categories.
Hand puppets - are somewhat like a three fingered glove comprising a fabric body with a hole for each arm and one for the head. Simply trace around a child's hand for size and use a small, light ball, foam or polystyrene ball for the head. Cut a hole in the ball to accommodate fingers and encase the ball in fabric so you can stitch or draw a face and hair. You can go wild with the fabrics you use for the body and have detachable features so that one puppet can be many characters.
Stick puppets - A piece of wood with a head stuck on top constitutes a stick puppet. A wooden ball will work for the head with painted or detachable features. A swathe of fabric becomes a cloak (with holes either side for fingers to become arms). If you are in need of a quick fix stick puppet simply use a wooden spoon, envelope in a dramatic cloak and hey presto!
Animal puppets - Socks can be utilized to make animal puppets by simply attaching the obvious features i.e. big, felt ears
and a trunk for an elephant, whiskers and beady eyes makes a mouse (and a variety of other rodent like creatures - the
sky's the limit!). Recycle old stuffed or vinyl animals by cutting off the head for use as a puppet or removing the
Finger puppets - Stretchy fabric covering a small bead or piece of foam will suffice for these puppets. A cape style tunic is the body with a pipe cleaner running through the sleeves functioning as arms. The fabric of the head should be securely stitched to the cape. The success of a finger puppet is in the details, the tiny features and accessories make each one special.
So, when you have your puppet dramatic ensemble you can fashion a rough stage/theater perhaps using the window of a play
house or constructing an arch on top of a table finished off with some curtains. Let the show begin!
Fiona Lohrenz has 10 years experience running a day care and has launched a child care website directed at providers and parents. She has also produced a 'Start a Daycare Business' DVD guide: How To Start A Daycare. Fiona can be reached at her Day Care focused website.