Narrator (Catherine Sewell, play specialist): Playing with puppets is great for children. It’s a really wonderful chance for them to explore pretending to be characters. It’s a great way for them to express themselves, to start to understand who they are, and perhaps even talk about how they’re feeling or what they think of the world through a puppet, and a lot of children who might be a little bit shy you’ll find are able to talk and play quite animatedly through a puppet.
But it’s also about if they are manipulating the puppet, there’s actually a lot of fine motor skills and a lot of connection between understanding how the character speaks and even moving their hand in time with the words. You know, that’s something that they’re practising, which can be quite a complex thing to learn.
When we’re playing with language and stories and we’re playing with characters, children are learning about the very complex world of relationships, of families, of people, how they relate to each other. There’s this wisdom that’s passed on through stories and puppets are part of that wisdom of stories. We’re learning about language. We’re building our vocabulary. We’re making connections between cause and effect in stories. We’re learning the cultural art of stories, beginning, middle and end, and entertaining and interacting with other people. All sorts of elements connected to their development.