School of ART News

Where Critical Thinking Meets Creative Expression

Puppets: More Than Foam

by | Apr 12, 2017 | School of ART News

Whether you grew up on Punch and Judy, the Muppets or Sesame Street, puppets have been a huge part of our childhoods. Puppeteering goes back so far in history it is difficult to pinpoint when and where it began. Many ancient cultures have their own versions of puppets, some made of clay or ivory and some made of wood. However, when we think of puppets we tend to think of the stories and performances they are used to portray and not always the art work that goes into making the puppets themselves. How sad! Because puppets can be incredibly ornate and beautiful.

They vary from simple finger puppets, to hand puppets, to marionettes or “string puppets”. Common materials used in the puppet making process include: fabric, string, wood and foam. Each can be manipulated to make a different style. Take a production of the Lion King on Broadway as a visual example. Large puppets are created out of fabric materials, structured to look like animals in the play. They are held by one arm and controlled by the other hand a wooden rod. This allows the actor to control the puppet and build the character’s personality and story line.

But let’s discuss the important things- how will this affect your child’s personality and story line? Down to the bare bones (or foam) of puppets: what are the educational benefits? Puppets largely impact communication and social skills. They are a perfect springboard for speaking and listening skills. They allow children to try on different personalities, gain control over their own world, and express ideas and feelings in a comforting environment. It is an outlet for communication as well as for creativity. Imaginative play is important with learning the difference between reality and fantasy, as well as developing problem solving skills.