Children learn through play. And different types of play help them with learning different skills. Toy theatres and puppets are brilliant for keeping children entertained as well as helping them practise lots of key skills that are vital for their development.
Toy theatres and puppets inspire wonder and excitement in children and adults alike and have been a popular toy for centuries. They are the perfect toy for encouraging hours of creative play, getting children and adults to use their imaginations and inspiring magical tales and adventures.
Language, Social and Emotional Development
Puppets and theatres are a great toy for language development and the development of narrative thought as children come up with storylines and act them out on stage. They are also great for encouraging singing and dancing and a wonderful way to learn rhymes together.
As well as language skills, playing with a toy theatre and puppet play in general can be a great opportunity for children to explore emotions or ways of behaving in different situations. Being behind the theatre and using puppets to act out stories or situations can also be a really good way for children to build their confidence as they are able to communicate through the puppet which can help them get over any shyness or awkwardness of speaking directly.
This type of play is also a wonderful way for children to build social skills, working together with you or other children. They have to learn a lot about social etiquette to work together in a confined space, and they have to cooperate with other puppeteers to make the story and show work. Children also get to interact with the audience both adults and children when they are manipulating their puppets.
Obviously it’s not just children that can use the puppets. Adults can use a toy theatre as a great way of engaging children and telling stories. Puppets can be much more engaging than just sitting and reading a book together and you can use puppets to cover all sorts of topics.
Physical Development Benefits
As well as being brilliant for social, emotional and cognitive development, playing with a toy theatre is also great for developing fine and gross motor skills as well as hand eye coordination.
There are lots of different types of puppets and some are easier to manipulate than others. Young children may struggle with marionette style puppets that use strings but older children will get huge benefit from figuring out how they work and how to manipulate them in different ways. Young children will probably find stick or hand/finger puppets much easier.
Hand puppets are great for developing hand movements and fine motor skills that help children’s development and are vital for when they get to school and start using a pencil for writing and drawing.
Next Up: The History of The Toy Theatre