Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Fun with Puppets

There is a lot of serious talk going on right now in the news and we must remember that our children are listening and observing. This is where play can help us to talk and reflect on our feelings about it all. When the news is gloomy, we can become over anxious and worried about what will happen. Imagine how dis-empowered children and young people can feel. I know play doesn't solve everything, but it can make us all feel better.

Playing with puppets enables the focus to be on the puppet which creates a safe space to openly think about what is bothering us, or to play out situations that are around us. Make-believe play is perfect for this. With young children you can let them lead the situation and narrate what is happening, alongside using the puppets to play the characters. Sometimes you can step out of the play and leave them too it, especially in a larger group. Your role can be to duck back into the play to add information or to move the story along, but the less you do the better.

With young people, you can use puppets in a silly, fun way to create short films and use humour to express what is happening. Just talking with puppets can be funny and poignant if you are respectful and light-hearted. Just pick a topic to discuss and communicate through your puppet. Look at the puppet and then look at the other person's puppet for a response. Keep all eye contact on the puppets and respond with thoughtfulness. Don't forget to listen to the response too. It is very effective.

Sometimes we need to lighten up and have some fun. All this seriousness is not good for the body and mind. Play in any way that suits you. I like to think we have the capacity to be child-like, which is important when so many are being childish right now.

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