Playing with dolls and puppets is a great way to build oral language skills in a fun way. Some household items and a quick trip to the discount store can provide you with all the supplies you need to make your own spoon characters! Maybe you’ll even want to make them look like your very own family and friends! Your child can make the spoon people talk with each other, with you or with his toys. All of that conversation will contribute to a healthy use of oral language.
** Note: Before playing with the spoon people, please review some safety rules with your child. For example, do not run while holding the spoon; do not put the spoon or handle in anyone’s mouth.
- wooden or plastic mixing spoons
- googly eyes
- pipe cleaners
- small pom-pom balls
- markers, assorted colors
- cotton balls
- shoe box
- Craft glue or a hot glue gun operated by an adult
Step 1: Cover your craft area in newspaper or something that will protect your table.
Step 2: Talk with your child about making his very own puppets. Decide together whether you’d like to make them look like your family or friends or if their looks will come from your child’s creativity.
Step 3: Help your child stick the googly eyes on the face, make a nose, a mouth, cheeks, etc., talking about the different materials you are using and the sequence of steps.
Step 4: Help your child wrap the middle of a pipe cleaner around the handle of the spoon. Leave 2 inches or more on each side. These are the puppet’s arms.
Step 5: Ask your child to choose some small pom-poms. Glue them on the front of the handle. Or, you could cut some felt into the shape of clothing and glue them onto the handle. Embellish with pom-poms.
Step 6: Have your child choose some yarn and cut and glue some to create hair. Or, you can ask your child to color some cotton balls to use as hair; stretch and fluff, and glue.
Step 7: When the glue is dry, ask your child about the spoon people’s first adventure. What are their plans? Are they going to a picnic under the kitchen table? Maybe they’re going for a ride in their shoebox car. Or, are they going to the zoo that is the collection of stuffed animals in the bedroom? Maybe the spoon people would like to act out a favorite story or song. Or your child can put on a puppet show starring the spoon people.
Step 8: The spoon people can be kept in a shoebox, which can also double as their island, a car, truck, spaceship, boat, etc.!
To make it easier, give your child additional prompts and support. You might provide your child with a scenario to act out with the spoon people. Some examples might be:
- going to the beach and playing in the sand and water
- playing in a park or playground
- taking care of a pet (stuffed animal)
- going to the doctor’s office
Try to choose a scenario that your child has experienced, so he will have his own knowledge about the topic.
To add some challenge, allow your child to expand the activity with his own creative ideas. Provide drawing and writing materials that your child can use to create additional props that can be used to act out scenarios. Your child might create a beach picture to use when acting out a beach scene or create a change of clothing that could be taped onto the spoon person. Let your child’s creativity soar.