Remember the indoor meadow we grew as one of our Earth Day activities? This week it has become the indoor / outdoor stage for a theatre production using shadow puppets.
Home made puppets are some of the most played with toys in our house, lending themselves time and time again to all sorts of adventures. The children play with puppets so often I think because it lets them be the master of a small universe and really stretch their imaginations as they tell their tales. Puppets are also a wonderful way for children to work out real-life relationships and develop their language – and so much fun to make! Here’s how the girls made their shadow puppets this week, with links to some of the other puppet ideas in our archives.
We’ve had our People Book for a couple of years now and it’s loved by the babies and toddlers who read it. Very young children are naturally drawn to looking at faces, so why not capture their interest by making a book of their favourite faces for them.
Our book includes lots of pictures of people the children know: themselves, family and friends. They just love it when they spot someone they recognise! It also provides lots of opportunity to chat and ask questions about what everyone looks like, and to play i-spy.
We’ve added in some pictures from magazines so we could include a whole range of people: different ages, sexes, hair and skin colours, wearing glasses, wearing headscarves, in wheelchairs, in different family groups. It’s a good way to introduce aspects of the world to your child – and if you’re working in an early years setting and wanting to provide multi-cultural resources, this is a great way to reflect your society. It can also be a useful way to link home and an childcare setting, as you can ask parents to send in some pictures from home for you to include.
You could also make a version that includes faces showing different emotions, and begin to talk about having different feelings.
We glued our faces onto coloured sugar paper, laminated them and then bound them together, which gave us a sturdy book which has lasted lots of toddler handing. If you don’t have access to a laminater, a photograph album or a scrapbook are good alternatives.
Do you make you own books with your children? Do they read them as much as other story books?
Alongside learning how to read, write your own name and tie up your shoes laces, learning how to understand and deal with your emotions is an equally important part of early learning. If we hope to raise happy, reasonable and persevering children we should spend time nurturing their emotional well-being as well as counting, baking and making crafts with them.
One way we try to do this is by using books. There are lots of books which feature characters coping with lots of different emotions: happiness, sadness, nerves, fear, jealousy – and you can find a selection shown below. But how about making a book about your own child to really capture their interest and give you the perfect opportunity to talk about how they feel?
The You Tube clip above shows a book we made for Little and retells her battle with frustration and shows how bouncing back from defeat can lead to success! Why don’t you make one for your child? Sit with them as they tackle a challenge and create your own photo story.
Or how about creating a book of the many faces of your child? Put together a selection of photos showing times when they were laughing, cross, tired or giggling. Add a word to describe each photo and read it together. This will open up lots of converation about different feelings. I’m certain you’ll find kids just love reading books in which they are the central character.