Everyone fell in love with his sweet face on the German Shepherd Puppy. When I asked a group of first graders who would like to put on a puppet show, he was quickly selected. One little friend slipped his hand into the puppet and moved his mouth and paws, asking another puppet to play a game of Hide and Seek. Next he disappeared as the other puppet counted to 10. What fun to listen in on their pretend play and dialogue between two animals, inviting each other into play scenarios. Folkmanis not only makes beautiful, realistic, engaging puppets but also includes an information tag on the puppet to tell a brief tale and give facts about the animal which have generated new puppet show ideas in the past when I’ve used their puppets with kids. Just telling kids that German Shepherds “may be the world’s most successful guard, service, and rescue dogs” gives them a story starter for their puppet show. I watched some of my first grade friends became chatty with a Folkmanis puppet on their arm, who could otherwise be more shy in the classroom. Putting on a different persona can bring out the quieter kids to enter in and build their social language as well as story telling skills.

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