Puppets are a wonderful tool to use in the preschool classroom for all ages. It doesn't really matter what kind of puppet you use - in fact you can just talk with your hand and kids find it funny and they pay attention. Have you ever watched a live puppet show? There is just something about having a little puppet talking to you that draws you in.
Puppets can be used as part of the classroom experience in numerous ways...
Children can make their own paper bag puppets, stick puppets, string puppets, and finger puppets.
Children just love to sing along with a puppet. No need to have a fancy puppet or stage, just throw a puppet on your hand and make it sing. Let the children join you in the song by making their own puppets sing. If you don't like everyone watching you sing - no worries. The children would rather watch the puppet!
Performance and Leadership
Some children do not like to stand in front of the other children, but a puppet might help with this. Puppets foster leadership, performance, and sometimes, even the courage to stand in front of our peers. Older students can put on a puppet show for the younger students and younger students can even put on a puppet show for the older students. The funny thing about puppets, is the children don't care if the mouth is moving right or the actions make sense - they just love puppets.
Other types of learning going on
Puppets also foster social interaction, communication, role playing, imagination, story telling, listening, and much more. Don't think your students are too old or too young for puppets because preschoolers of all ages are intrigued by puppets.
You don't have to use a puppet stage. In fact, when first introducing puppets, it might be best if you don't . The battle of keeping children from sneaking behind the stage might scare you off from trying puppets out. I recommend just introducing the puppets and letting the children explore them with you for awhile.
I then recommend adding a puppet stage. You can buy one or make one. I use a foam display board like those used in science projects. I set it up when I need it and when I don't - I just fold it up and stash it in the corner. When I am speaking, I can take my puppet stage with me:)
Circle Time for younger preschoolers
One of the great things about using a simple puppet stage like this is that it really captures the interest of young children. Set up a little stage, add a puppet, and then let the puppet introduce the letter A! Let the puppet lead the children in a song. Let the puppet count out loud, say the days of the week, spell the kid's names, and so on. Preschoolers love puppets and you can use puppets to introduce many wonderful concepts and keep the children having fun in the process.
Check out this cute home puppet stage too!
Paper bag puppets
You can sing the frog song too!