Puppets provide teachers with a wonderful way to break down barriers in the EFL classroom and to help children develop oral skills. In this article we will look at reasons for using puppets, when to use puppets in class and provide some practical ideas on how to make puppets.
When can puppets be used in class?
Puppets can be used at any given moment in the class. You can use them to lead the daily routine (days of week, weather, attendance) or they can say goodbye to the children. Puppets can also be used to tell stories or to recite poems. They can lead games, encourage the children to speak in English, get them to sing louder or participate more. You can use them to introduce new vocabulary or to review and recycle vocabulary or structures from previous classes. Puppets can also be tied into different theme units or associated with cross-curricular themes. They are also excellent resources for mixed abilities as they can offer help to children who are weaker in English and can maintain more advanced conversations with the children who have a stronger base. Puppets are also excellent in terms of Moral and Civic Education as they can take on a variety of roles and show countless number of emotions. If children in the class make their own puppets they have the opportunity to develop their creativity and learn about sharing or about how to use recycled materials.
How can I make puppets?
Puppets can be made from almost anything. Draw a face on your index finger and you have an instant finger puppet. Apart from the ideas on the following page, there are a variety of puppets that can be made to use in class. Some of these include:
- Paper plate puppets
- Papier maché puppets
- Sponge puppets
- Stick puppets
- Puppets made out of felt
- Puppets made from recycled materials
- Styrofoam ball puppets
- Lollipop puppets
- Scarf puppets
Remember, children learn more if they are enjoying their learning experience and puppets are an excellent device to make our classes more motivating and hence, more educational.
Good luck and happy puppetry!
Article based on “Puppets” from Richmond Times, 2004