Literacy Spot #50: Playing With Puppets

Early literacy learning

Puppets have to be my favourite resource for encouraging the development of oral communication skills. As children play with puppets, they play with language – alternating voices, creating personas, extending vocabulary, and listening to others.

As with many imaginary play resources, puppets also provide children with an open-ended platform to play out their knowledge of the world, their feelings and emotions, and to put their imagination to work, constructing stories to share. Plus making your own puppets adds an extra element of fun, creativity and learning.

Ideas to inspire (shown top, clockwise from top left)

What are your favourite ideas for child made puppets?

What is Childhood 101β€²s Literacy Spot? It is a weekly reminder of the importance of young children learning playfully as each week I share one idea for playing around with literacy, taken from my many years working as an early childhood teacher. Visit the previous Literacy Spot posts for more fun ideas for playing with literacy.


  1. Amanda Eastment says:

    My bag of puppet friends is one of my most favourite things πŸ™‚

  2. I’ve always used puppets (well, really just softies that I give voice and movement to) to get my kids to do things like get dressed or eat their dinner! This is possibly rather manipulative (!) but I’ve found that it breaks the nagging cycle and lightens everyone up (me included). For some reason they will listen to a furry dog/rabbit/bear with a funny voice when they won’t listen to their mother. We’ve never sat down to make puppets though. I’m inspired to make some with the kids so they can “put on a show” (a nightly request at the moment).

    1. Me too πŸ™‚ It’s working really well for getting into our pjs at bedtime at the moment, especially when the puppet gets stuck in the arm hole of Immy’s jarmies!

  3. Your puppets are so cute! I agree, puppets are wonderful for open ended play. Now that I have a toddler who is struggling to acquire language, I use puppets a lot, just to grab his attention and make funny sounds. He’s more likely to try and imitate the puppet than he is to try and imitate me.
    I’ve also used puppets in teaching reading to retell a story. The Mo Williems Elephant and Piggie books are wonderfully told with puppets. You generally only need 2 puppets! Also I like to use puppets for nursery rhymes.

  4. I have always put off making puppets – I thought it would be too much work. Then someone contacted us and us to make some for breakfast tv!!! My kids would not let me pass that up… so we started and then we got so into that we were still making them months after the show. There are so many different kinds of puppets, from really easy to way too hard!!! And so many stories to tell… it has been so much fun!!! Here is some of our collection:

    1. Thank you for the fabulous link to your post! What wonderful ideas πŸ™‚

  5. Andrea Randall says:

    Speaking of learning to read with puppets… I’d like to share the reading curriculum that I created and have been using in my kindergarten classroom since 2004. My program, based on Teacher’s Creatures Phonics Puppets, teaches phonics, reading, handwriting, and spelling. My curriculum can be found at

    Happy teaching and learning!
    Andrea Randall, Santa Cruz, CA

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