As a volunteer reader for a local early literacy resource center called Make Way for Books, I read to preschoolers at Little Castle Child Care and Preschool here in Tucson AZ. It is so rewarding to read to all of the different ages, from one year up to five years old.
On May 8, 2014 the volunteer coordinator and librarian, Diane, went with me so we could perform a hand puppet play based on the children’s book, “Who Ate all of the Cookie Dough” by Karen Beaumont. I had been wanting to play with puppets while reading a book but I couldn’t figure out the logistics of using a puppet and juggling a book. I was thrilled when Diane offered to come and play with me!
First, we read the book to the kids to give them an idea of what the story was about. She read the different animal parts that she was playing and I read the part of Kanga, the mother kangaroo who was trying to figure out who had eaten all of her cookie dough. Then we performed the play using hand puppets that Laura, my daughter, and I had made.
As I recited Kanga’s lines, Diane would put on a puppet out of the audience’s view behind the blue felt board. Then she would bring the puppet out to recite it’s line. Once that puppet’s lines were done, she would put the puppet on the felt board and put another puppet on. We did this for the whole book until all of the puppets were on display. We were a hit with all ages! As we progressed through the four different classrooms with the different ages our acting improved considerably. Both Diane and I were surprised that every child, from five years down to the one year olds sat mesmerized as we performed. We even had the teachers’ attentions. Talk about an ego booster!
This book lends itself perfectly to being adapted to a puppet show. We are now checking into other books that we can easily adapt to puppet shows. If you are thinking of trying to use puppets while reading, I urge you to give it a go. We were a little nervous because this was our first time and we really didn’t have the book memorized. Just like acting on a stage, the audience really doesn’t know what you have planned, so anything you do will be great!