Fostering Connection Through Hand Puppets
Enhancing Connection, Communication, and Emotional Well-being
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How a simple hand puppet can help children grow
Children who struggle with making contact, who hide behind masks, or who avoid you—how can you uncover what's really going on inside them? What do they need? This was once my driving force to 'try something' with a hand puppet. I wanted to connect with children in a different way. I hoped that the puppet would offer a safe and inviting outlet, that it would better align with their world of experience.
And indeed, it turned out to be true. A hand puppet has something that we as adults lack and will never attain.
"With a hand puppet you literally have the possibilities in your own hands"
If you understand the dynamics between the child and the puppet, you can deploy its power in a conscious and targeted manner. You can playfully and easily build a trusting relationship between the child and the puppet, challenging them through the puppet to push their boundaries, try new things, share their thoughts, and participate in your activity—without the puppet taking over your role or becoming an educator.
I am not a puppeteer, but a hand puppet coach. My approach is not an act or puppet show. I use the hand puppet as a coach, as a friend, as a bridge-builder. No acting talent is needed for this—just a hand puppet and the willingness to momentarily detach yourself from the puppet and observe impartially what is happening. Both with the child and within yourself. Trust me, working with a puppet awakens the child in you, and that child will assist you in what you will do with your puppet.
By actively investing in the relationship with a child, you cultivate the following outcomes:
The puppet adds security and friendship and makes reacting easier. Contact deepens through the puppet.
A puppet invites children to participate with his activity. That produces more reactions and language.
The puppet will help you get to know children better and learn more about their way of thinking.
A puppet can be fitted at any time of the day and can always count on the help and support of children.
The Hand Puppet Fits Anywhere Children Are
Parents & Caregivers
In The Group
This is what my students say:
Helen gave me back the confidence that I can do this and that it's okay if something goes wrong. The little tips and hints helped me a lot.
Helen gave me the confidence that I can really get started with my puppet. She shows a combination of knowledge and practice. She directly applies what she says in her examples. Before I worked with her I felt incompetent and now I don't feel that way anymore.
Keep doing what you're doing. The way you talk is very clear. I watched you in admiration. I really learned a lot. All the tips and also the questions you answered so quickly, very nice. The contact is also good. The feedback you give makes me think and then I succeed.