Skip to main content

#Storytelling Puppet Theater: a Social-Cognitive Workout / #family #socialskills #specialneeds #autism #parents

The idea of creating your own home storytelling theater can serve as a way for young children, especially those with special needs to appreciate different points of view and to even act out those differing outlooks in a safe setting. This metacognitive activity helps one rethink how they approach their thought and the world. Each character acted out has the potential to have a storyline that the puppeteer assumes during the story time. Repetition of an activity like this stays within certain established parameters, yet retains a novelty each time a story is performed in the theater. 

My first storytelling theater was fashioned out of plywood. I had painted it over to look like a castle and added a knight to stand guard by the castle draw bridge. Ivy crawled up the castle walls. In my second theater, I may end up doing it out of tempered hardboard and using cloth string as ‘latches,’ to tie the different hardboard sections of the mini theater together. This makes it faster to build, easier to make, transport, less bulky and becomes less of a danger risk if it were to topple over.

From a social skills development perspective, having storytelling puppet theaters is a practical, rapid way to have a student see things differently. A story can take one minute and can be a conversation. That conversation can lead to awareness and better choices. In that case of many individuals on the autism spectrum, the theater works magnificently well because the framework, or context stays the same while the storyline is apt to change. For very young children, this time can be one were their vocabulary and comprehension expands.

Invariably, the success of this endeavor in any home will rest on the initiative and leadership of the parent in making the theater a fun experience. One mom and child may decorate the outside of the theater that faces ‘the audience’ in order to set a theatrical tone, while a dad and child may co-create character figures or sock puppets. Sock puppets may be the easiest to do, yet think of how it has been done for ages by the Chinese with their own puppet theaters. Creating better quality characters, rather than the same sock puppets each time may be what is needed to make the story time an entertaining, learning experience. 

Surely, a Spiderman character and a PlayMobile figure can act out on any stage, yet making our own characters invests a part of ourselves into the project in a more personal way. So just as it takes time to build the theater set, take time to build cool characters for the storylines with your children. Older children can help write a short script or do storyboards to sequence the action. All this develops executive function skills and cross-hemispheric connectivity and places oneself in the role to engineer, innovate, problem solve and think creatively in a relaxed setting.

For more, go to http://www.CoachBill.US
Twitter.Com @CoachBill007
Instagram: CoachBill007
Youtube: CoachBill007


Popular posts from this blog

Clinical Teachers: Armies of One / #edchat #criticalthinking #education

It is not the responsibility of empty vessels to create the motivation to learn, but rather, the prerogative to teach, the very responsibility of it, must be entrusted to the teacher. It can be so, that according to a child’s social-economic status, a affluent upbringing can be infused with a ‘comfort space’ of human development not generally experienced in the life of the child who hails from a low-income community. 
This juxtaposition in the human development and daily experiences of the affluent child and the child who lives at or near the poverty line bring a different array of positive and negative forces which impact their general well-being. As these two general sets of children age, the difference becomes more contrasted and is clearly evident at the time both reach middle school years. One need only look at children who receive private schooling as opposed to those who receive public school education in low-income neighborhoods. A child who attends private schooling and then e…

The Golden Rule & The Duty of Critical Thinkers / #socialresponsibility #edchat #TeamUSA

updated 2:24 pm est 11/10/17 The idea of cultivating critical thinkers is easily a lofty ideal purported to be achieved throughout academia and espoused as the hallmark of journalistic integrity.  Achieving the critical thinking mind requires a certain bravery, wherein, once our ability to tap into our own knowledge of content matter is done, we must require it upon ourself to contrast our assessment and infer from an ‘outsiders’ point of view what is true and right and what is inaccurate and, even possibly, the propagandization of a special interest.
For the critical thinker, the affinity to discern is attached to our decision to look at the hard truth and favor this over our viewpoints, our political inclinations, and our stance on any given subject. This is hard to do.
In the following essay, I ask what exercise in democracy is achieved if political forces practice varying levels of indoctrination, in effect swaying public interest towards their ‘camp,’ rather than promoting …