I thought you may enjoy a few puppet activities to try with your little ones. Most of these activities are suitable for children with additional needs or limited mobility. A lot of these also work with family and friends of different ages. Grandparents and children can share these and we’ve also used them with people living with dementia.
Nursery rhymes - puppet style - choose the voice and style and make the puppet tell the nursery rhyme and act it out.
Musical statues - freeze the puppet in a shape or style when the music stops.
Puppet whispers - whisper a silly sentence to the puppeteer and they repeat it through the puppet in the puppet's voice. You have to try not to laugh. If you laugh, the puppeteer wins.
Start a story and then the puppet tells a bit and then you tell a bit more. Try and have a beginning, middle and end. If you can throw in a problem in the middle, it makes the story more exciting. A good way of starting this is to say; ‘let’s…’ and after you have said your sentence, the next person says, ‘and then…’ and you carry on adding ‘and then…’ until it becomes so ridiculous you naturally stop.
Simon says… - Ask the child to do actions when Simon Says. If you don’t start the sentence with Simon Says, (you just say ‘put your hands on your head’) the child has to ignore the action and stay still. If you say Simon Says put your hands on your head, they then do it. For this version, it is the puppet that listens for when Simon Says and the puppet does the action.
Hide the puppet - hide it in a secret place and as they go near it say - "getting warmer, getting very warm, now you're hot, really hot - or getting colder” if they move away from the puppet's hiding place. Celebrate when they find the puppet.
Put a sheet or towel over a couple of chairs to create a puppet theatre and put on a show. You can recreate a story you know (nursery rhyme, traditional tale such as Little Red Riding Hood) a film or TV show or a story from your life (a Christmas gathering, or how mummy and daddy met). Use anything you have around the house for props. We once put on a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk using a toy snake for the beanstalk, a flamingo puppet for the chicken, a ping pong ball for the golden egg and a large teddy bear for the giant. The other puppets used various borrowed hats and tea towels to look the part!
I hope you enjoy these activities. You can ask your children to come up with some ideas too.