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Mental Health Mondays:
Puppet Power

by Deborah Mugno, Ed.D.
Director of Education/Operations/Outreach
Lucy Daniels Center

For younger children especially, bringing the essential social and emotional component of their school experience to remote learning is challenging. Peers are unavailable, teachers are on screens, attention spans vary, and interactions are limited. How might parents increase and facilitate opportunities for children to explore feelings, think about relationships, and practice problem solving at home? Puppets!

Puppets can provide an avenue for children to express their feelings both verbally or non-verbally; to practice negotiating and resolving conflicts; to role play; and to spur creativity. The best part? Puppets can be created out of most anything, from a shadow on the wall, to a paper bag or an old sock. They can represent animals, people, and even objects.

Puppets provide children with a protective shield to explore and express emotions that they may not be comfortable in doing on their own. Puppets can roar, growl, giggle or hide. They can get angry, act naughty, have superpowers, and take unusual trips. Puppets can encourage spontaneity and imaginative play.  By creating and playing different roles with puppets, children may provide us with insight into how they experience their world. For example:

  • How do their puppets perceive their environment? What kinds of scenarios do they create?
  • What do their puppets think about?
  • How do their puppets interact with other puppets? Other people?
  • What choices do their puppets make?
  • What voices do they use?

Puppets can “learn” to share toys, to wait their turn, or to help fix a toppled block tower. Puppets can have exciting adventures, demonstrate empathy, or just do silly things.  Parents can participate with their own puppets, following their child’s lead and taking on different roles as well.

Grab some old socks, some markers and give it a go! Most of all, have fun!

Lucy Daniels Center is currently operating via telehealth services due to Covid-19. If you would like to request a consultation with a mental health clinician, please click here:https://tinyurl.com/slx79fe

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