Puppets are great resources to help kids act out their own stories or re-enact stories from a favorite book. This activity lets your kid in on the fun by introducing her to a simple puppet-making activity. Large craft sticks can easily be formed into shape puppets of the characters in The Three Little Pigs, so that she can act out her own version after watching the Speakaboos video. This is a great opportunity to bring out the performer in your child!
What You Do:
- Help your child trace a large circle onto the cardstock with a pencil. An easy way to create a circle template is to turn a bowl upside down on top of the paper and trace around the rim.
- Cut the circle out. Cardstock or other sturdy paper may be too thick for your child to cut by herself, so be ready to assist if needed.
- Cut out a variety of shapes in different sizes from the construction paper with your child. Triangles, rectangles, circles, squares, or even free-form shapes are perfect for the puppets' features.
- Have your child decide on a character (animal or person) for the puppet.
- Ask your child to choose shapes that will make up the various facial features of the chosen subject. Discuss what the different parts of the face are, and how many of each shape she will need.
- Glue the shapes on to the circle.
- Allow the glue to dry.
- Once dry, your child can add small details with crayons. These details may include eyelashes, whiskers, a beard, spots, or stripes.
- Attach a large craft stick to the back of the circle with tape.
Your child is now ready to have her own fanciful puppet show! Encourage your preschooler to put on plays and create simple stories with her stick puppets. And to make it more of an event, you can even build a puppet theater for an expressive dramatic play experience.
What's Going On? Puppet shows and puppet-making inspire artistic creativity, movement, and dramatic play while also enhancing your child's fine motor skills and her understanding of the visual and dramatic arts. Working with puppets also has the benefit of letting her make creative play with literacy and sequencing skills, both of which are important for reading comprehension later on. The shape stick puppet activity is also a great way to encourage early math skills such as shape recognition and the part-to-whole relationship.
Erica Loop has an MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.