I don’t know about you, but as a busy mom with a toddler and a Kindergartner, it can be tricky to plan out elaborate learning activities all the time. So I like to find quick and fun ways to enrich my children’s learning without making myself feel overwhelmed. Of course, I am also a huge fan of well-thought out educational activities as well, just not every moment of the day.
My idea to create this site and a puppet to go along with it, began with my desire to support and empower parents with fun and fast tips to build their children’s language mixed with my love of all things silly and entertaining.
As a mom and a Speech Language Pathologist I have always loved using puppets in play and therapy because many children love them and they provide tons of learning opportunities. When I worked in a preschool classroom a few years ago, I always brought my puppet with me and the kids would immediately light up and gather around to learn. I was able to target many skills like, expanding language and supporting children with their early developing speech sounds and the kids and I had a blast!
To join the fun:
Grab a puppet you have or download the Chirpy printable puppet (even a stuffed animal or doll will do the trick).
1. Practice storytelling by having a puppet show!
Let your child perform a puppet show for you or with you to build language through storytelling. If you have a baby you could do a show for them to model storytelling language. If you have a toddler, help them tell the story by listening to what they say and expanding upon it (e.g. Child: “Bird chirp!” You: “yes the bird is chirping! What is he going to do next?” Pause and listen for child’s response.
2. Model Social Greetings:
Greetings are a great thing to teach using a puppet. When the puppet comes out to play he can say, “Hi (name)!” Then pause for your little one’s response. If they don’t respond, you could model “Hi Chirpy!” Try the same with, “bye-bye,” when it’s time to put Chirpy away and maybe even try modeling “Good morning or “Good night!”
3. Teach About Body Parts:
Talk about your puppet’s body parts. “This is Chirpy’s beak!” and then later ask “where is Chirpy’s beak?” and point it out if they don’t respond. Chirpy, another puppet, or a stuffed animal could talk about your child’s body parts and label them by saying something like, “I see your hand!” or “I’m going to eat/tickle your hand, yum, yum, yum!” (and have Chirpy pretend to eat hand in a silly way).
4. Teach Prepositions:
Have Chirpy or your other puppet/ animal fly around and land in different locations. Ask, “where’s Chirpy?” pause, then model the location word (e.g. ON, UNDER, BEHIND, IN).
5. Use Descriptive Words:
Describing is a simple way to build language skills and can occur in any moment. Simply describe what Chirpy looks like using adjectives (colors, shape, size, category, or parts-wings, beak, etc.). Or talk as Chirpy as he describes what he sees around him (children, furniture, toys, foods, etc.).
Bonus Tip: Follow your child’s lead. If they lose interest in one of these activities, feel free to switch up.
What are some quick and fun ways you like to teach your kids at home? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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