Ventriloquist and puppeteers have been captivating audiences for centuries. As parents we can take note of this effective story-telling technique and incorporate into our lessons, sharing time or story times.

photo courtosy of playsational.com

Making and Using Puppets At Home:

I found that especially for those with more than one child and therefore a million creative ideas and reminiscent stories spilling out all at once, puppets can help your little ones take turns spinning their tales. It is a creative way to encourage sharing and communication and creativity. During a summer visit with family, I suggested puppet play.  A couple of cousins and neighboring friends were playing and like most kids, after awhile, found themselves talking over one another.  I pulled the loveseat away from the wall just a enough for 2 little persons to fit and handed them each a puppet.  The others children and I sat on the floor to watch. The two “behind the curtain” had our attention to tell their stories. Taking turns, they each got to shared their imaginative characters and play make-believe.  It was so much fun to watch the creativity flow.  Lucky that I had a couple puppets in the trunk of my car.

This is also an excellent way to blend story time with younger and older children by having the older child “act” out the story with the puppet while you read it aloud. If you are feeling creativity, have your children make their own puppets with brown paper bags or old socks. This is a perfect stormy day activity and if the lights go out just have your flashlights handy for additional effects.

Cuddleuppets are a clever twist to traditional puppets, whereby offering a built in blanket with your puppet friend.  We have the crocodile one and often play “Teasing Mr. Crocodile, Can’t Catch Me” while reading the story.  Here are a few of the Spalding puppet family:

Spalding Puppet Friends

Puppets entertaining large audiences:

I grew up watching puppets on shows like Fraggle Rock.  Kermit was our family favorite puppet of all. Elmo became our character of choice once I had my son, and still is with my daughter. Sesame Street, Lamb Chop, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and Disney’s Muppets are all puppetry masterpieces in finding compelling ways to relate to children, discuss sensitive issues as well as encourage kindness and community. Where would we be without these adorable loved characters?

War Horse Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

Puppetry is more than entertainment, it is an art form. War Horse on Broadway is a perfect example of puppetry at its finest with life size horses on stage to tell a compelling and emotional story.

War Horse Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

War Horse on Broadway at the Kimmel Center

War Horse is now showing at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia November 27th through December 2nd.  Take a behind-the-scene peek with the video clip below and be blown away with the realistic horse puppetry.

In fact, there is an entire Teacher Resource guide that you can download to include more on the making of the puppets but also the story, World War I and so much more.

And of course puppets for the adult crowd:

I still love Kermit and Lamb Chop but here are a couple of my “not for kids” favorites… just for kicks because hey, adults should have fun too!