One of my favorite things about being a mom is to watch the pleasure my kids get from simple items. Last spring my husband cut out a photo of Colonel Sanders and glued it to a craft stick. He casually laid the Colonel on the table for the kids to discover at breakfast. They went wild over this!
Last night after the kids were tucked into bed, inspiration hit me and I got busy crafting up something fun for them. I hoped that the idea would inspire them to want to get crafty with me after seeing how fun these little puppets could be!
These are so easy to make. This is maybe a 3 minute project that will bring hours of entertainment. While entertainment is important, there are subtle and vital things happening when your kids engage in imaginative play.
Benefits of Pretend Play
Pretend play allows the expression of both positive and negative feelings, and the modulation of affect, the ability to integrate emotion with cognition (Jent, Niec, & Baker, 2011; Seja, & Russ, 1999; Slade and Wolf, 1999). Pretend play, fosters language development, thinking skills, and helps to develop emotional and social skills in children ages 2 thru 7. The creativity unleashed thru dramatic play has long-term benefits too. From problem-solving thru imaginary situations to the ability to express feelings.
Isn't it incredible to think that so many things can come from playing with a handmade puppet!? Well, let's get to it and make one so the play time can begin!
handprint cut out on colorful paper
small paper triangle
small paper heart
white school glue
a googly eye
To begin, trace a hand and cut it out on colorful paper.
I applied a little glue to affix the eye.
I also cut out a small triangle from another colorful paper and an oddly shaped heart for lips.
I applied a small amount of glue in the middle of the handprint for the small triangle.
I applied a small dot of glue for the heart paper for lips.
Next, add a little glue on the top of the craft stick and affixed it to the back of the handprint, in the middle of the handprint.
Allow the glue to dry and you have a fun fish puppet.
What Did the Kids Think?
The craft was well received with Harper, who took both of the fish puppets that I made and dashed off to play with them before her brother could see them. I chalked that up as a success.
Once Roo got a peek at the fish puppets he said, "Mom can you trace my hand?" That was all it took and the construction paper came out for handprint tracing. After lunch today we are going to make a few of these together for an afternoon of crafting and puppet play!
Puppet play is a lot of fun for kids, but there is something almost magical about creating a puppet of your own design and bringing it to life via imaginative play. This project required the most simple of supplies and it can be completed in a matter of moments. There is no reason not to give it a shot with your kids! The benefits of simple projects like this that create an invitation to play are abundant, the mess from such a project is minimal and you likely already have these items on hand, or you could improvise with any paper or cardboard, tape and a straw if not!