Presenting 4 Pretend Play Ideas (Using Puppets!)

This week on the Melissa & Doug blog, we have been discussing the many ways to embrace make-believe play with your child! From new worlds, exciting adventures, and creative arts and crafts, a child’s imagination is truly limitless. As a parent, you can play an exciting (and important!) role in helping your child in her imaginary play, while helping build social skills, problem-solving skills, confidence, abstract thinking, and more.

One popular pretend play tool is puppets. For centuries, people have been using puppetry for entertainment and storytelling, and these props can help foster some powerful imaginative thinking while also exploring important emotional and language skills. Here are 4 easy activities you can do with your child involving these fascinating, funny-looking friends.

1. When I Grow Up….

What does your child want to be when he or she gets older? A fireman? Teacher? Astronaut?! Using puppets, you can explore your child’s aspirations and dreams in a light and creative way. We encourage you to grab a puppet yourself, and enter the activity with your child for further bonding. Here are some tips for how this activity could work:

1)      Have each puppet represent “what I want to be when I grow up” Then, take turns with your child asking a series of questions about what your puppet “does” every day. This may help your child further explore what appeals to them about a certain dream.

2)      For a fun guessing game, ask your child not to reveal the profession of their puppet. Then, have the child provide a series of “clues” that will help you uncover what it is! (For example: this person wears a blue outfit, takes temperatures, and makes people feel better.)

3)      Talk to your child about what you wanted to be when you “grew up” and what future possibilities you think lie ahead of you. By sharing openly with your child, you’ll be furthering encouraging them to do the same—while feeling comfortable doing so.

2. Puppet Cooking Show

What wonderful recipes does your little chef conjure-up? In this play activity from Blog Ambassador Valerie, you can work with your child on storytelling skills, counting skills, language skills, and more! Click here for the full creative play activity.

3. Make-Your-Own-Monster

Making puppets can be easy – and a great way to help your child embrace their silly, creative side. You can use anything from socks, to felt, to our own Make Your Own Monster Puppet, which contains fuzzy and fun interchangeable parts for a weird and wacky creation. Here are some ways to play and learn using a puppet created by your child:

-          Ask the child to give the name the puppet, and explain why that particular name was chosen

-          Ask your child to ask the puppet questions and have the child answer using a unique puppet voice

-          Create a story or a scene that the child can act out with the puppet and write-down for future use!

4. The Puppet Theater

What better way to boost your child’s confidence than with a talent or comedy show? Putting on shows and plays is a wonderful part of childhood, and with a few puppet friends your child can have a host of characters for whatever they conjure-up.  Check out this blog post for a puppet show “Comedy Hour” activity your child will love!

What are some ways your child plays with puppets? Send us your ideas and photos to socialmedia@melissaanddoug.com.