Learning through play is a vital aspect of childhood, and your child should be encouraged to do so every day. Puppets help promote a wide range of developmental aspects. The simple act of offering your child a few puppets can do wonders for his language, social-emotional, cognitive and physical development.
As your child makes the puppets talk and interacts with other puppet players, she is developing her language skills. She can make the puppets talk back and forth. Another child may make his puppet ask your child’s puppet questions, which she must then answer. Your child will imitate words and language patterns she has heard, so she will be working on her annunciation and sentence structures. Talking with other kids helps increase her vocabulary and even encourages a shy child to open up.
Social-emotional development is also encouraged during puppet play. When a child plays puppets with a friend, he must learn to share, take turns, be patient and share space. Impulse control is also required when he plays puppets with others. He can use puppets to recognize and relate to his feelings and the feelings of others.
Plenty of opportunities for cognitive development are present during puppet play. Your child can tell stories and act out ideas with the puppets. This kind of play helps foster her creativity, imagination, abstract thinking and sequencing. Hand puppets even help her make the spatial connection between her hand and how it fits inside the puppet.
Puppets help with physical development, as well. His fine motor skills will get a workout as he moves the puppet’s head, arms and body. His gross motor skills are strengthened when he moves his arms around, crouches down below a puppet stage and stands back up again. He must learn to balance as he moves around during puppet play. His hand-eye coordination is at work when he moves the puppet where he intends it to be located.
- Centre for Health Education, Training and Nutrition Awareness: Play is Children’s Work
- The Creativity Institute: Puppets in Education
- Extension: Using Puppets in Child Care
- NAEYC: Using Toys to Support Infant-Toddler Learning and Development
- Early Childhood News: Enhancing the Language Development of Young Children
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images