Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Using Puppets for Language Development {Get Ready for K Through Play}

Over the next eight weeks I will be participating in the Get Ready for K Through Play series. Each Wednesday I will be sharing a fun and playful idea to help your child get ready for kindergarten. If you miss any, you can find all of the posts from this series here.

If you are like me, you have a lot of creative ideas (or have seen a lot on pinterest), but you don't have very much time to actually execute them. 

Fortunately, when it comes to helping your child develop his language skills, you really don't need special tools or complicated crafts or activities. Today we just used a cardboard box, some paper, and some puppets... and we accomplished a whole lot.

This week for the Get Ready for K Through Play Series we are talking about language development. 

Some of the language skills that kids are learning as they enter kindergarten include...

  • Sharing ideas using complete sentences
  • Reciting short poems, rhymes, and songs
  • Narrating a personal experience
  • Retelling stories and asking/answering questions

All of these language skills can be introduced using puppets!

This week we did three things to help us develop our language skills...

1. We created a simple puppet theater from a cardboard box. 

We used clear tape, large drawing paper, scissors, abc stickers, and a diaper box. I had grand ideas for something cooler... but guess what? Simple is just as fun.

While we cut and taped the box together, we talked. I modeled how to speak in complete sentences and we practiced some turn-taking skills. I didn't stop my son mid-sentence and say, "start over again, that wasn't a complete sentence" but I subtly would change short phrases he said into sentences as we talked... 

2. We made some puppets.

The kids are counting down the minutes till we get to see Monsters University, so they made dixie cup Monster finger puppets. We used ripped construction paper, googly eyes, dixie cups, and Elmers glue. The puppets were simple and silly which was perfect!

While we created we talked about the characters we were making and we retold some of our favorite parts of Monsters Inc. and asked/answered some questions. Most of the questions were pretty basic (what color eyes are you going to use?).

3. We performed.

Our Monster puppets performed, as did all the other random puppets we had around the house. The kids are currently obsessed with some sticky lizard party favors they got, so they turned the lizards into puppets too.

The trend in each show was for the puppets to have a conflict and then end up having a war or a fight (reading too much Star Wars lately, maybe?). Sometimes they didn't fight and instead they retold a favorite story or scenario from a movie... We talked about sharing, friends, problems with parents, and even going to college.

If your child needs help developing his language skills, start by having him act out part of his day, sing a favorite song, or retell his favorite book. Or you could act out a recent conflict with a sibling or a happy experience with a friend. Encourage your child to have their puppet use sentences instead of just single words or phrases. You can do this by modeling how first... before you do any explaining/teaching... so get down on the floor and play too.

Since the goal of this series is to Get Ready for K Through Play... just have fun together being silly and acting out your favorite goofy experiences in a playful way.

Make sure you grab an attentive audience. My seven month old was mesmerized by the puppet show.

How else have you used puppets for language building?

Do you have a favorite puppet craft that you've made? Come share it in the comments!

Make sure to check out these language activities shared by the other Get Ready for K through PLAY! hosts:

Developing Kindergarten Language Skills from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

Create a Story Box with Free Printables from Mess for Less

Language Experience Stories from Coffee Cups and Crayons

Play to Promote Language Development from Mama Smiles

Participating Blogs: Coffee Cups and Crayons, Mess for Less, Rainy Day Mum, Mama Smiles, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Toddler Approved (that's me!)

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