Think of children’s puppet theatres and most people automatically think of Punch and Judy. The fact that Punch and Judy is still talked about well over 300 years since their first recorded appearance illustrates the enduring appeal of puppetry both as an expressive art form and an educational tool.
Puppets are so adaptable and easy to use in a range of educational settings: nurseries, early years, primary, secondary, special educational needs (SEN) and youth work. They are a simple and effective way of allowing children to have fun through creative play whilst encouraging literacy, imaginative thinking and allowing children to express feelings and emotions and learn how to manage them. What’s also great for the grown-ups is: they have the added advantage of being small, portable and easy to store.
The team at Edusentials has brought together a large and varied collection of finger puppets, hand puppets (glove puppets), masks and puppet theatres, so whatever your budget or space, there is bound to be something to suit your situation.
Bring fairy tales to life quickly and easily with finger puppets. Designed to encourage children’s communication skills through acting and storytelling choose your finger puppets from 6 classic fairy tales: Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs and Snow White (set 1); and Cinderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jack and the Beanstalk (set 2). These are best used with smaller groups so everyone can see. For larger storytelling sessions we would recommend the larger hand puppets, also available in 2 sets of classic fairy tale characters (each set contains 15 pieces). To get the children directly involved in the retelling of classic fairy tales, then take a look at our Fairy Tale Mask Sets. Ideal for role play, developing confidence and communication skills, children can have fun pretending to be a character from one of their favourite fairy tales.
We have a large selection of both wild animal and farm animal themed puppet sets. Some of our favourites include our set of 6 Wild Animal Finger Puppets (part of the Wild Animals Tales resource) which are made of plush fabric and have corded legs to mimic them walking when your fingers wiggle. Children will adore mimicking the sounds and movements of the cute cast of animal characters: Leo Lion, Ziggy Zaggy Zebra, Chris Croc, Mickey Monkey, Ellie Elephant and Jenny Giraffe. Another favourite of ours is the Alpha Puppets where you will find 26 animal finger puppets living in an enormous caterpillar. When not in use the decorative caterpillar can be hung on the wall.
Our animal themed hand puppets are a really effective way of getting children to think about the environment and wildlife conservation both here and overseas. Our Forest Animal Glove Puppets and Farm Animal Glove Puppets are a good introduction to animals that children may already be familiar with or may encounter as they get older; animals such as hedgehog, badger, squirrel, fox, duck, horse, cockerel, pig and cow amongst others. If you are teaching children about wildlife conservation in more exotic locations, why not take a look at our Safari Animal Glove Puppets set of 6?
Give children an opportunity to consider the people of their own community, the jobs they do and the wider world around them through puppetry. One of the biggest selections of puppets we have is our People Finger Puppets. Available as a set of 40 puppets you can use them to highlight and talk about different cultures, faiths, ages and careers.
Our set of 20 People of the World Finger Puppets is useful for helping children learn geography. Each puppet is dressed in traditional costume. Why not pair these with our Global Friends Rug to encourage children to link the world puppet to the country or continent they originate from?
Puppets also make great careers education resources. We have a set of 10 Careers Hand Puppets that facilitate career exploration which is rooted in the professions that many children can easily identify with: teacher, postman, police officer, doctor, chef, lollipop lady, artist, handyman and firefighter. The puppets in the Community Helpers Hand Puppet Set are dressed in detailed work uniforms with working mouths and arms.
You might not automatically associate the teaching of modern foreign languages (MFL) with puppets but our Make a Face Puppet is designed to do just that. Teach children the name of different facial features and how to spell them, ideal if you have children whose first language isn’t English. These can also help them develop a vocabulary so they can talk about their feelings and emotions. You might also want to look at our Expression Masks which are hand painted and also designed to encourage children to express and talk about their emotions either in groups or one-to-one.
Add a bit of drama and theatricality to your puppet storytelling sessions with one of our many puppet theatres. One of the simplest is our compact Table Top Theatre which is ideal for finger and hand puppet shows. Or for something more traditional take a look at our Striped Hanging Puppet Theatre and Star Hanging Puppet Theatre.
The beauty of puppet theatres is they can also double as other pretend play spaces. Puppet theatres can easily be transformed into shops – take a look at our Shop / Puppet Theatre and Folding Puppet Theatre / Shop for examples. Our very versatile Folding Shop Puppet Theatre can also be adapted and used to re-create any setting which features a counter top or serving hatch, eg, a shop front, bank, café.
Budding actors and actresses will love our Dressing Up Trolley and Stage Show. With its front and back stage areas it has 2 mirrors, 3 dry wipe surfaces which help as backdrops, a chalk board and storage space. Whilst for a complete puppet and stage show experience take a look at our Puppet Stage and Cubbies (6 cubbies included).
For Sunday schools and faith schools, we also stock a puppet theatre that is specifically designed with the teaching of religious education (RE) in mind. As Christmas approaches, introduce children to the Nativity with the Foam Desk Top Theatre with Nativity Finger Puppets. This resource is also available with Noah’s Ark Puppets or ready assembled for you to use with your own choice of puppets.