(3-5) Oral language, drama, Art, Cooperative Skills
(Note: For this activity you will need several craft supplies to make the puppets. Consider using old gloves, socks, paper bags, wool or yarn, glue guns, buttons, ribbons, sticks or rulers, etc. Divide resources up and have several creative centres around the room.
- Why do you think people enjoy puppets?
- Do you think puppets are just for children? Discuss.
- What special talents and skills do you think a puppeteer needs to have?
Visit our Well Aware Series to view Gr. 6 “Art Works” and additional resources directly related to this topic.
Explain that today is World Puppetry Day and ask students why they think a special day has been set aside to celebrate puppetry.
Explain that puppets can be very simple as in a sock puppet, or very complex and life-like as in the puppets used on “Sesame Street.” It is not so much what the puppet looks like that matters; it is what it says, how it acts, and how others act around it that make it interesting.
Have students participate in a simple puppet theatre play. Invite them to create a simple puppet using items at their creative centre. Explain that they will only have 15 minutes to create their puppet so you are not expecting elaborate creations. Suggest stick puppets, finger puppets, sock puppets, paper bag puppets, etc.
Once the cast has been created, students interact with the group on one of the following topics:
- A discussion about what to do on snow days
- An illustration of how they can play together on the playground
- A shopping adventure to buy vegetables
- Things to say that make others feel good
- Any other topic (cleared by you)
The object is to have everybody participate and to avoid negative behaviours such as using the puppets to belittle or abuse each other. Once the mini puppet plays have been shared with the class, ask:
- What did you enjoy most about this activity?
- If you had a longer time to make your puppet what would you have done? Do you think a more detailed puppet would have changed your puppet theatre? How and why?
Close by reminding students that puppets provide people with a way to express themselves and act silly, sad, serious, or happy by taking on the personality of the puppet. Sometimes it is easier to express something you feel or think through a puppet than to just say it face-to-face. Ask students if they agree with this statement and, if so, why?
Encourage more puppet play throughout the school year.