A few years ago, my special education teacher and myself started co-teaching a social skills group. We went through ups and downs. There were occasional screams and more frequent tears (and not just from the students!).
What we found what worked really well for this group of boys was puppets. They liked the puppets. I even developed a set of lessons to take advantage of their puppet love. We used these social skills lessons with some success. Multiple times. I think the boys even have some of the scripts memorized at this point.
Since then, I have continued to use puppets for a variety of activities and found that (most) students are instantly engaged and excited. They all want a turn to be the puppet!
Great uses of puppets in speech therapy:
Work on social skills. Some lessons, such as Tilly and Frank have been created especially with puppets in mind.
Demonstrate actions with puppets. I always pull out the puppets when teaching the core words “eat” and “like” during our Core Word of the Week.
Help correct puppet’s grammar. Use puppets to demonstrate how a younger child might say something, then have students teach the puppet to say it the right way.
Create narratives. Have the puppets create a story or lead a story time to keep everyone engaged.
Teach a lesson with the puppet. If the students aren’t paying attention to the adult in the room, maybe a puppet can keep them engaged. This works especially well when the puppet has a silly voice.
Take turns making the puppet talk. With those reluctant talkers, sometimes a puppet is all it takes to get them volunteering answers.
Use the puppet as a talking stick. We all have students that interrupt constantly. If you are only allowed to talk when you are the puppet, you’ll reduce those interruptions considerably!
If you are looking to purchase puppets,they can be pretty spendy. This (Amazon affiliate link) is a fairly nice multi-cultural puppet set.
In the comments below, please tell me how YOU use puppets in therapy! And don’t forget to check out my Tilly and Frank lessons!