I’m happy to bring you a guest post from a great Occupational Therapist, Cindy, who blogs at Your Kids OT. Today, she is going to share an adorable & simple activity that can help build fine motor & speech & language skills.
Puppets are a wonderful way to foster your child’s imagination. Puppets encourage storytelling, communication, social skills and language development in play.
“Puppetry is the art of bringing inanimate objects alive. Children do this instinctively, when they pick up an action figure-or a spoon, or a piece of broccoli – and give it voice and movement” (Storyteller.net). In play when a child uses one object and pretends it is something else (object substitution) they demonstrate the development of thinking and problem solving skills and flexible thought. For example, a child uses a shelf for a cup, a hand for a cup, or a container for a cup …demonstrates the child understands the function of a cup (Learn to Play: Karen Stagnitti).
After some inspiration from Pinterest (Danya Banya) …we recently made stick people puppets using sticks from our yard, scrap material, wool and other odds and ends. Miss 7 and Mr 3 loved gathering the sticks and cutting up the material to make clothes. Miss 7 used the wool to tie the material to the sticks. Mr 3 needed some help to add googly eyes and hair.
Our stick people (or stick family) came to life with various adventures once they were made. They went to the park and went to the zoo. They gained names and roles within their family. It was lovely to see how simple props could encourage pretend play.
Note from Katie
Aren’t these puppets ADORABLE?? Here is what I LOVE about this idea:
- SIMPLE: This is a simple activity. I’m all about SIMPLE
- EVERYDAY MATERIALS: You can easily do this with things you have lying around the house…just everyday materials. No need to go out and buy anything. If you don’t have material lying around, you can use old clothes you were thinking go donating/tossing!
- FUN: This activity looks plain FUN
- MULTI SENSORY: Making these little guys requires multi sensory learning. Little ones will be using fine motor, speech & language, visual processing, critical thinking, and overall creativity.
- SPEECH & LANGUAGE: These little guys can provide a TON of speech & language opportunities. In fact, these could easily be used in small groups for speech/language therapy to work on following directions, story telling (including grammar), vocabulary, and social skills or can be used with children 1:1 of all abilities.
Do your kids enjoy story telling? Do they play with puppets?
What is your child’s favorite way to play with puppets? Please share!
Cindy is an Occupational Therapist based in Sydney, Australia. She loves to work creatively with kids to see them reach their potential.
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