Despite it’s simplicity, the puppet is one of the most sophisticated transformational tools we can bring to our children’s lives.
“Puppetry isn’t simply child’s play. While American audiences may be more familiar with hyperactive Sesame Street characters and a “Disneyfied” version of Pinocchio, the puppet in societies across the world has played the role of provocateur, historian, clairvoyant,and keeper of the faith, says Kenneth Gross in a new book, Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life (University of Chicago Press, 2011). From re-enacting sacred texts in Balinese shadow puppetry to mocking authority in England’s raucous Punch and Judy shows, puppets are masters of metamorphosis and often, mirrors of ourselves.”
“That part of us that finds life in objects is an aspect of the child’s imagination and instinct that is later hidden or sometimes let go of in adulthood. It’s something children are indeed more adept at, finding life and voice in objects. Puppets awaken that part of us. They bring a part of us back to play.”
Puppets have been used to help children open up about subjects that are difficult to face directly, by creating a simple scenario based on the child’s experience but set in a different context. Puppet therapy can be used to help children work though issues as simple as hurt feelings over a broken toy to losses as great as those experienced around natural disasters. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4416267.stm
“Puppets are one step away from being human and so there’s distance but at the same time we can identify with them.” –Dr Jones, a child psychiatrist with the International Medical Corps (IMC)
While children will play without our involvement, there are many ways that we can engage. Thank you to www.gogivers.org for the list of the many ways that puppets can be used to work and play with children.
· Model behaviors that teachers and parents want to promote
· Bring more reticent children out of their shells, and help everyone become more expressive
· Become ‘ambassadors’ as well as friends, introducing children to new topics
· Become a confidant for younger children – they may respond directly to the puppet when they are unwilling to converse with others directly.
· Encourage children who are learning English as a second language to ‘have a go’ if they feel hesitant because they are unsure of certain pronunciations or of exactly how to express themselves
· Support children with special needs, including those with attention deficits and visual and hearing impairments
· Role play strategies for resolving conflict
· Boost self esteem and to bring a sense of unity to the classroom or group of children.
· Provide an excellent way for children to work through their fears and vocalize their feelings
· Help children to settle into a new school
· Act as powerful communication tools. Talking about their ideas helps children clarify their thinking and develops their reasoning skills
· Access a world of imagination and fun for children
This Holiday season, consider a toy that is guaranteed to carry the spirit of the season and to bring joy and wonder to young and old. Come into Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay and let us help you find the perfect puppet to add to or start your collection.