Pretend play is important for kids. It encourages creativity and imagination, as well as critical developmental skills. At our house, I try to do my best to encourage creativity and imagination at every turn.
We have a designated area for art and crafting with plenty of art supplies available to the kids at all times. I also try to incorporate creativity exercises into our home school lessons having the children write stories or put on plays.
One of their favorite activities is creating a puppet show, a hit for children from preschool age to middle school. My oldest has gotten quite good at putting together a script, and even my four-year-old can come up with some pretty interesting story lines on the fly.
Recently, the kids decided to build a puppet theater. We brainstormed the best way to do this so everyone could be involved, and it would use items we already had around the house.
A few days later a large package came via UPS with a cardboard box just the right size! Add some imagination, some washable poster paints, and four fun-loving kiddos, and pretty soon we had our very own puppet theater, complete with signage announcing the show they were putting together.
Our production featured Three Happy Birds, colorful bird-on-a-stick puppets, as the main characters that the kiddos created. Craft kits are great for making puppets and they can also be made with a variety of supplies on hand including yarn (for hair), socks, craft sticks, paper lunch bags, and more. In my opinion, handcrafted puppets are the best, and allow your children to create any character they want to match their story!
Puppet shows can be a good teaching tool as well, by having the children write a script about a certain subject they are studying. They’re also a great way to talk through issues or feelings. Having your child act out their fears or concerns with the puppets can be a sneak peek right into their deepest thoughts!
My favorite part about the kids putting on puppet shows is that there are no limits on where their imagination and creativity can take them. Just in the past few weeks, our puppets have learned the tango, been on a trip to Jupiter, and taught a lesson about bullying!
What do you do to encourage creativity in your home? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks!