Backyard Cubby Play Everyday – Week 3

Welcome to Week 3 of ‘Endless Cubby Play Everyday’!

It was important to Sam and I that our YARDart Cubbies were designed to offer endless opportunities for a wide range of play themes and backyard activities for kids. Each week, I will be sharing brand new backyard cubby play ideas, a few educational insights and inspiration to keep the kids outside and engaged all year round!

This week, I have decided to focus on all of the fun that can be had by converting your YARDart Cubby into a ‘Pop-up Puppet Show Theatre’.

Puppet play and performing for family and friends has a wide range of benefits for children and can take place so easily using the back window of your YARDart Cubby. When children play with puppets, they are nurturing their imagination and creativity, whilst often creating their own storylines, character names and personalities. Other times, children may choose to retell their favourite stories and fairy tales. This is great, as they are reinforcing the story sequence and demonstrating that they have retained the storyline!

They are developing a wide range of language, speaking and listening skills, as they learn to take part in a shared play experience, cooperating and negotiating roles with their friends or siblings.

Taking part in a family puppet show is not only for your confident drama kings and queens (although they will be in their absolute element). For shy children in particular, puppets can be wonderful for helping your child ‘find their voice’ and express their feelings and ideas through play.

Manipulating the puppets using their hands and fingers is also wonderful for their fine motor skills and brain-hand coordination.

In summary, backyard puppet play is awesome!

Puppet Play Props

The kids can use or create a wide range of puppets and here are a few examples to get you started:

  • The humble sock puppet works wonders and is bound to bring many laughs. Add a few button eyes if you are feeling super flash!
  • Homemade puppets using paddle pop sticks, card/paper and a bit of tape are also brilliant, as children are creating their own imaginative characters.
  • Nature puppets can be designed and constructed using sticks, leaves, seedpods and either a glue gun (if you have one) or even some string. Add a few stick-on ‘googly eyes’ and you have yourself a ‘Stick man/lady’.
  • If the children are loving puppet role play and you are after something a little special, check out these beautiful Olliella dolls from The Little Store at the Eco Village in Currumbin. These were kindly donated to us for a recent photoshoot and we had such a great afternoon watching the children’s imaginations run wild as they performed.

Showtime!

Why not hold a family ‘Pop-up Puppet Theatre’ evening together and really make an event of it? Encourage the kids to create tickets and posters for the show, make some popcorn, set-up some blankets and cushions for the audience and you could even string up some fairy lights.

I hope I have given you a few handy tips and play ideas and promise to be back this time next week with a brand new play theme for backyard cubby play. In the meantime, if you missed last week’s edition, check it out here: Week 2

P.S. A huge thanks to The Gold Coast Bulletin and 9News for featuring us during the last week. To say we were surprised/excited was an understatement and we really appreciated the support!

Anya Imhoff- Mum, teacher, ‘Mrs YARDart’ and Education Coordinator, Nature Play QLD.

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