Updated: Apr 9
Children spend most of their time playing, they experience life and learn through play. Play is children's language and it is powerful and fun. Einstein said once that play is the highest form of research, so why not, say yes to PLAY! With these nature puppets, children get the opportunity of opening themselves up to a new world, to explore their imagination and creativity. It is a simple and lovely activity that encourages wonder and the collection of natural materials that you find around you. It gives children the opportunity to creatre their own characters or creatures, and gives them the freedom of ensambling them together, and the opportunity to imagine different situations or adventures that arise with their new friends.
Puppets provide a sense of security and sometimes makes it easier for children to express thoughts and feelings that in other contexts they wouldn’t express. My son decided to take his friend, Henry, to the beach for a swim because he was missing the ocean. Imagining different scenarios, especially while experiencing lockdown, gives a beautiful sense of freedom and can alleviate our souls. At least, Henry got to go to the beach :)
All you need is an old sock or one that lost it’s pair, some double side sticky tape or prestik and any natural materials that you can find around you, leaves, seeds, sticks, sand, etc.
Go around and collect some nature pieces you want to use on your puppet. You can use this time as an opportunity to discuss what those elements are. If they are found on the ground you can talk about why they fell, and how they started as seeds and developed into plants with leaves and fruit, or try to connect the change of colours in leaves to the season. Go as far as your childs curiosity takes you.
Use the sticky tape directly on the sock and stick the nature pieces you found onto your stick. Allow your child to decide what she/he wants to create and how it will look. It doesn’t matter if it has 5 eyes and no ears, if it’s a proportionate human being or if it is a garden creature with leaves growing out of its nose - it is their creation and that is what counts.
Once it is ready, let your child explore and start creating stories with the puppet. If they need some encouragement ask simple questions about what their new friend likes, how do they feel, and what is their favourite stuff. Taking your new puppet to a teepee or a pillow house are great spaces for imaginative play as they give a sense of hide away or “parallel world” where it all belongs to the child.
If you want to take this even further, find some cardboard boxes and make your own puppet theatre, this can be an amazing on going play!
Have fun making and playing with your children's new friends, they guarantee lots of laughs.