Whether an intricately-detailed marionette or a simple piece of cloth with buttons for eyes, a puppet is a fascinating and engaging object for many children. Kids enjoy playing games with puppets and creating storylines, or even full-blown plays, involving these toys. It's little wonder then that puppets are used by teachers, parents and even psychologists in their interactions with children.
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Playing with puppets often involves a child creating voices for each toy, either alone or in groups, with the goal of producing a story; some children even use puppets in conjunction with a toy theatre set. The act of giving voices to puppets allows children to develop their language skills, particularly in the areas of comprehension and vocabulary, as noted by Sandra M. Reidmiller in her essay, "The Benefits of Puppet Use as a Strategy for Teaching Vocabulary at the Secondary School Level with Students Who Have Mixed Learning Disabilities."
Enables Better Learning
Puppet play can have a positive effect on kids when introduced to a learning environment. A teacher might utilise puppets in explaining a particularly difficult concept, since kids tend to find puppets interesting and are likely to pay attention when puppet play is used as a teaching technique. Puppet play can prepare kids for learning, as such play boosts oxygen levels to the brain and thus better motivates children to learn, according to research published in the Journal of Child Neurology and the Pediatric Academy Societies.
Develops Creative Skills
The pleasure of puppets for kids is that a puppet can say or be anything, and that the stories children can come up with are only limited by their imaginations. Kids thus develop their creative skills; they come up with plots, characters, voices and structure. In addition, the ability to pretend and then distinguish the difference between the puppet world and the real world aids kids in developing a sense of fantasy and reality.
Develops Social Skills
Puppet play is often a social experience, with kids getting together in groups and each taking control of a puppet or two. This helps kids overcome any awkwardness they might feel towards other people, because they have a puppet as a bridge between themselves and others. By creating roles and personalities for their puppet, children develop their own.
Enhances Family Relationships
Kids and older family members can potentially both benefit from playing with puppets together, since this activity will enable many kids to lose any shyness they might usually feel and open up to the family member. Through puppet play, both individuals can grow closer and enhance their understanding of each other.
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- Creativity Institute; Puppets Help Children to Reveal their Deepest Feelings; Luz Cudjoe
- "The Benefits of Puppet Use as a Strategy for Teaching Vocabulary at the Secondary School Level with Students Who Have Mixed Learning Disabilities"; Sandra M. Reidmiller; December 4, 2008
- Learning Toys: Benefits of Hand Puppet Play
- "Journal of Child Neurology and the Pediatric Academy Societies"; Novel Motor/Somatosensory Activity Is Associated With Increased Cerebral Cortical Blood Volume Measured by Near-Infrared Optical Topography; Jeffery L. Peyton et al; 2002