Aim of the game:
Children love puppets and they can be a great motivational aid to help encourage children to use words and sentences, sometimes for the first time. This Puppets Playtime game can also help your child to learn to take turns with talking with is a really important conversational skill.
What you will need:
Your puppets don’t have to be sparkly, perfect, shop bought puppets. Children have just as much fun with homemade sock puppets or even a paper bag with a face drawn on it. You can play with the sock puppets on their own or we like to use a few props and toys as conversational pieces. Some suggestions of our favourites are below:
Toy food items
How to play:
- Sit opposite your child so you are face to face
- Introduce the puppet to your child and say hello to it yourself, make the say puppet ‘hello’ back to you. Make the puppet say hello to your child and pause to give them an opportunity to respond with a gesture or words.
- Lay out 3 or 4 of the items on the floor – food items are good for this as children love feeding puppets.
- Ask your child what they would like to feed the puppet and then carry our pretend play with the puppet and the toy food.
- If your child isn’t yet using words, try using a choice question to help them out. You could say “does he want apple or banana?” When your child is ready, this gives them the opportunity to have a go at saying apple or banana.
- Use the flannel and brush to build in action words “shall we brush or wash puppet?”
- If your child isn’t very forthcoming with words right away that’s ok we are teaching them a new skill. Simply role modelling the language will help build their skills and confidence.
- Say goodbye to your puppet once the game is finished role modelling social aspects of conversation (e.g. “puppet has finished” “bye bye puppet”) and make the puppet say goodbye to your child, giving your child the opportunity to respond with a wave or words.
How to extend:
- As your child gets used to playing the game and is using lots of words, increase you expectations slightly. For example, when you greet your puppet ask “hello puppet, how are you?” and make your puppet give an answer. The puppet then asks your child “hello [child’s name], how are you?” and pauses to allow a response. By role modelling this first with the puppet you are showing your child what is expected and they can have a go if they are ready.
- Use choices to model little sentences for your child and introduce different vocabulary (e.g. “does puppet want more apple or more drink?” or “shall we wash his ears or wash his nose”)
- Introduce different vocabulary such as body parts (e.g. “shall we tickle his tummy or arms?”) or action words (e.g. “shall we make him jump or fly?”)
- Make up little sequences to help introduce concepts of time (e.g. “first wash puppet then brush him”).
- When your child is a little older you might want to use more than one puppet. Give your child a puppet to have on their hand and they have to make the voice for their puppet too!
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