I’ve had my head down reviewing so many fantastic new products submitted for the PAL Award this spring and now I need to catch up and share them with you–my fellow professionals who work with kids AND parents and grandparents looking for great gifts for their kids.
Puppets just open up the world of communication, especially for that hard to reach kid or one that might be a little shy. I took my 4 new Folkmanis puppets in my therapy bag to share with kids last week and they lit up. The 4 PAL Award winners, “Sea Serpent,” “Frilled Lizard,” “Dragon in Turret” and “Winged Dragon” appealed to different kids for different reasons but all sparked conversation and storytelling which reinforces language, reading and writing skills. Kids loved discovering “extra” places to insert their hands or fingers to make the puppets come to life. The Sea Serpent slithered around with the help of a second hand in his tail to wiggle through the mist, the “Frilled Lizard” took a quirky stance as he stood up and puffed up his pleated collar, moving it forward and back, the Dragon popped out of the Turret and the “Winged Dragon” flapped his wings. Folk tales are included with the imaginary characters while interesting facts are included with the “Frilled Lizard” to support a story and explain when and why he flaps his collar.
After playing with each puppet, kids asked if they could keep it. I think that is a good endorsement of the fun these puppets provide while encouraging imaginations, pretend play and dialogue.