Hand puppets are often overlooked as just a bit of fun for children but puppets have many benefits for kids.
Although hand puppets may seem simple when compared to the modern electronic toys, pretend play with puppets helps children in many ways. The importance to children is so essential they are actually a key tool for speech, play and child life therapists who work with young children.
Hand puppets helps your child:
1. Learn vocabulary and improve their speech skills.
2. Express their thoughts and emotions – especially about things that may be upsetting for them. (This is the reason why they are an essential toy in play therapy.)
3. Extend their imagination
Hand puppets that have mouths that move are the best choice because they encourage children to talk through the puppets.
There are many hand puppets available for sale although unfortunately few have mouths that can be opened and closed easily. It’s best if you can find puppets which have mouths that move – even if it takes a bit more effort to find them. Puppets don’t need to be expensive either (and some children’s puppets are very expensive). A simple sock puppet can be as beneficial as an expensive, soft toy like puppet. The sock puppet actually is more beneficial if it has a mouth that moves as many of the soft toy puppets don’t have this. Also think about your child’s hand size when buying a hand puppet. If the puppet is too large for your child’s hand or too hard to make move your child may not wish to play with it. Finger puppets (although cute and often cheap) also don’t have mouths that move because of their small size. Children often find finger puppets hard to use too because they need a high level of finger coordination to play, with which many children may not have developed – making hand puppets a better choice for kids.
Some suggestions of good hand puppets for children include:
Baby Einstein Puppets
This Baby Einstein Puppet Set includes a dog, dragon, goat, duck and cow (these puppets can also be bought individually). They are high quality puppets and one of the few puppets that have mouths that can be moved easily by children. There are enough puppets in the set for children to act out pretend scenarios or play and talk through the puppets with other children or adults.
Make Your Own Sock Puppets
A no-mess craft to make three sock puppets with self-adhesive wiggly eyes and peel and stick felt shapes. The Make Your Own Sock Puppets Kit not only gives children a fun craft activity but also three puppets for pretend play. The puppets mouths should be easy for childen to move.