Puppet Play: Engaging children’s imaginations

by Mary Jo Huff

The storyteller has arrived and the children are getting ready for a special treat.  Sitting on the floor with their legs twisted like a pretzel, eyes wide and fidgety fingers the pre-schoolers are all ready for storytime.  Enter the storyteller dressed for the occasion.  As a visiting storyteller I wear a special vest, jacket or hat.  So many times I hear others say they don’t know what to do with the young children – but I know how interested the children are in a good story.

Using a puppet or other visuals captivates and engages the youngest children.  Add a little music, movement, rhythm and rhyme and the program is complete.  Review brain research that enlightens even the novice teller to the natural wonder of young children.  Knowing the expectations of young children can give any good storyteller a heads-up on the delivery of a story. Remember their attention span and deliver the story followed by an activity.

A special puppet that you use with children will be part of your personality.  This puppet can comfort the children, invite them to participate and do a lead-in to a story.  Don’t make the stories too long.  Utilize the puppet language and let the puppet ask the children questions about the story and if you have told more than one story ask them the difference in the stories.

You and the puppet can begin a story and ask the children to help you continue the language and write the story down so everyone can see the beginning, middle and end of the story.  When children help make up a story they are vested in the process.

In today’s world there are many demands on young children and engaging a group with stories meets many demands of state standards for literacy.  Know your audience, take the appropriate stories for their age, be funny, sing songs, chant rhymes and above all have fun with words.

About Mary Jo

Mary Jo is fulfilling her PASSION in life by sharing the power of storytelling with the Early Childhood world. Her long career spans 30 plus years as she shares her enthusiasm across the country.  Mary Jo demonstrates storytelling as a means of teaching basic skills, language development, motivation, social awareness, cultural awareness and diversity, environmental concerns.  Publications and recordings are all available on her website. Bookings are now being taken for 2012 and 2013 and dates fill fast.  Give her a call and to set up an adventure in storytelling.

Contact Mary Jo



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