Monday, March 18, 2013

Essentials for Safe Nursery and Preschool Classrooms - Puppets and Dress-Up - On a Shoestring!

As we continue to think about the items which are essential for our nursery and preschool classrooms, let's think about puppets and dress-up. Puppets make wonderful visual aids for nursery and preschool-age children. Little ones usually enjoy puppets and like the opportunity to make "friends" with a puppet character. The good news is it doesn't have to be expensive to add puppets to your nursery and preschool ministries! And, don't forget, on April 1, 2013 I'm giving away two puppets - see more at this link. (And I'm giving away one more on my other blog, grandma's cookie jar - see the link for this one here.) Consider the following sources for puppets -
  • Make a point of purchasing VBS puppets from each publisher every year; this is a wonderful and affordable way to increase your puppet supply.
  • Check out the puppets from Folkmanis - I especially love their  Basset Hound PuppetCottontail Bunny puppetand Wooly Sheep Puppet, but they have dozens and dozens of amazing puppets - all priced affordably! An added "plus" with Folkmanis puppets is they also can serve as huggable, plush toys!
  • Involve older children, teens and even families in making puppets for your nursery and preschool ministry. Check the Make Your Own Sock Puppet kits from Creativity for Kids, the Official Puppet Ministry Survival Guide and the puppet patterns from Puppet Ministry. If you make your own puppets, pay close attention to age ratings and be certain the puppets you allow toddlers and preschoolers to handle, use and/or play with do not have any loose pieces which could be choking hazards.
Don't forget to include opportunities for your toddler and preschool-age children to show they “can do it themselves,” by including simple costumes in your visual aids so they can dress-up and provide their own visual aids by acting out the Bible lessons themselves. Ask for gently used child-sized robes, and small adult-sized shirts, ties, hats, scarves . . . use your imagination! Children will love the opportunity to "dress up" and show their "drama" skills as they play and act in simple dramas!

We do not have to be limited by the size of our church, the amount in our budget or this difficult economy. We can have amazing nursery and preschool ministries which do not only not lack the essentials, but show they are second to none when it comes to safety, equipment, furnishings, supplies, resources and which showcase a creative environment . . . even on a shoestring!

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