Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Problem Solving/Art
- chart paper and a marker
- old socks
- fabric scraps
- buttons, pom-poms, yarn, felt
- a large cardboard box or carton
Objective: Children will reflect on feelings and design puppets to use in discussions, cooperative problem solving, and conflict resolution.
1 Ask children to think about all the different ways people feel and all the different ways they feel, too: happy, sad, angry, cranky, excited, peaceful, and so on.
2 Talk about how the same person can feel many different ways at many different times.
3 Explain that they are going to make puppets "feelings puppets" - and that they can decide whether their puppet will represent one feeling or many feelings.
4 Provide children with a variety of materials to design their puppets: socks, paper bags, fabric, pom-poms, yarn, felt. Ask the children to name their puppets and help them label each one with the feeling or feelings they choose.
5 Invite children to share their finished puppets with the group. Talk about how these puppets can be used to help people talk about and sort out feelings. For instance, if someone is feeling lonely or afraid, the appropriate puppets) can be brought out. If there's an argument, children might enlist the help of a puppet or two to listen to the problem and help them come up with solutions. Work together to decorate the box in which you will store the puppets. Ask children to suggest a name for the special box - Peace Trunk, Puppets' Place, and so on.
Remember: Though some children may be very comfortable playing with puppets, others may not be as used to the activity. You may need to encourage children to use puppets as they explore their feelings by modeling situations and also bringing out the puppets yourself. For instance, if you're going to the dentist and feel a bit anxious, you-could share this with your group and then bring out a few of the appropriate puppets and "puppet role-play" the event, leading the puppets in a conversation.
This activity originally appeared in the August, 1999 issue of Early Childhood Today.