Monday, March 23, 2009

Puppets, Puppets, Puppets!

Puppetry can be very useful as visual tools in story telling or dramatic play. They are also very good for helping children with social difficulties express how they are feeling. Maybe you use a devotional Bible or Bible curriculum for your Bible time and are currently just reading the story to your children. Finding puppets that can help you tell the story will help the children experience the story in a new way. Therefore, making the lesson more memorable and help them remember what they have learned!

Be inspired by other puppeteers by learning from them. A great resource is Puppets with a Heart. I had the pleasure of seeing Darcy and her puppets for several years at ACSI. The puppets are created with a heart that you can pull out and "hide" an object in it for the lesson.

Puppets can be expensive...You can have the same rewards with puppets that you find at garage sales or Goodwill.

Some of my favorite finger play puppets are from Ikea. I keep them on a card holder that I found at Target twelve years ago. Think outside the box! Find anything to display your little friends and put it at a level where the children can explore and play on their own. We use these to sing Where is Thumbkin?

Some of my favorite puppets were donated or from garage sales. This raccoon has probably seen better days, but where else can I find a raccoon to use for The Kissing Hand? There are also great puppets at your local dollar store.

When looking for a great puppet for application stories or discussing emotional issues with children (eg. divorced or foster children that might be angry or sad) find a puppet with hands that are soft and move. These are my favorite for Bible and application puppets. If you are uncomfortable speaking through a puppet, you can use a puppet that doesn't even speak but whispers in your ear. I use this lesson when teaching Jesus Calms the Storm but it can be adapted to whatever lesson you are teaching about!
Supplies: small puppet, apron with pockets, Bible
Process: Place your puppet in your apron pocket before the lesson. Tell the children that you are going to have a guest for Bible Time but they are really shy and get really embarrassed around other people. Tell the children that they have to be very quiet to not scare or embarrass their guest. Then say that the puppet has a problem and needs our help. Ask if the children could help their new friend and if they are ready to meet their new friend (don't forget to give the puppet a name).
Begin talking into your pocket. Tell the puppet that it's OK to come out and meet our new friends. Place your hand in the pocket and begin to pet it, calming it, and at the same time get your hand inside the puppet. Poke the head slightly out of the pocket to create interest, then back down again. Still calming the puppet, have the puppet climb out of your pocket and up to your check, hugging you.
Ask the puppet, "You said that you had a problem and needed our help. What is your problem?" Have the puppet cover it's eyes as if it is shy and then whisper in your ear. Then say, "Oh, OK... tell me more." Have the puppet continue in your ear then come back down with shy hands over his face. "Kids, our new friend does have a problem! When it is bed time and his mom turns out the lights, he gets scared! He wants to know what he can do so that he won't have to be scared anymore. Does anyone know how we can help our friend?"
Give opportunities for the children to help solve their friend's problem. Mention that God's Word tells us that we do not have to be afraid because God is always with us (Isaiah 43:5).
"What can we do to talk to God when we are afraid?" Wait to hear answers from children. When someone mentions prayer ask if there was anyone that would like to pray for their new friend so that they would not be afraid. Have the puppet bow their head and pray with praying hands along with the class.
Thank the puppet for coming to visit and have everyone say goodbye. Walk to an area where children can not see you taking off the puppet.

Teach Well: There will be children that might disturb the lesson or dramatic play by calling out "That's just a puppet!" It's OK! Be encouraged! Some children are not able to use their imagination in today's society. Create opportunities in your classroom or home where children can become kids again! Make a time to call on that child to talk to your puppet, answer any questions you have asked, or have them even pray! You will be surprised, they might be hugging that puppet goodbye... maybe even asking when they are coming back for another visit!

1 comment:

  1. Jen, it is a true blessing coming to this site. I often struggle with finding new things to do and to make it fun (an innexpensive!) but, not now! Thanks to Teach Well Teach Often! :)



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