Tag Archives: Creative Teaching

How to Write an Entertaining Puppet Show

Puppet shows are great for grabbing the attention of the children in your Sunday School. But how do you keep their interest once the puppet appears? You’ll need a great script! Here are 4 steps for writing an entertaining puppet show.

Before you start brainstorming, keep these things in mind:

  • The puppet show can be used to introduce the topic of the lesson to the children. The puppet does not tell the Bible story, but has a problem  that is related to the application of the lesson. For example:  In a lesson about forgiveness, the puppet struggles to forgive a friend who hurt him. In a lesson about talents, the puppet feels he is not able to do all the things his older brother can do and feels like he is useless. In a lesson about temptation, the puppet struggles to obey his mom when she is not there to see what he is doing.
  • The puppet show can also be used after you have told the Bible story in a creative way. The puppet still has the same problem, but now you can include the children in solving his problem. This allows the children to apply the message from the Bible story to the puppet’s problem. In this way the puppet show helps to solidify the application of the lesson for the kids.
  • The puppet is not the teacher, but the puppet has problem that needs to be solved. This will lead the kids to relate to the puppet and his problem (yes, I also struggle to obey my mom when she is not there), and will make the kids think about a solution for this problem.

Here are four steps for writing an engaging and fun puppet skit.

  1. Identify the problem

Think about the main point of the Bible story you are going to teach the children. Take the topic you’d like to address, for example the talents God has given us or showing kindness when someone is nasty to you. Think about the practical application of the topic, and the barriers your children may face when they want to apply this to their lives. So children may think, ‘I don’t know what my talents are’ or ‘I struggle with being angry with my little sister when she scribbles on my homework’.

Use the problem your children face and turn it into a problem the puppet has. He might be confused about something, or misunderstand something, or he may worry about something like not being able to go to sleep in the dark.

Then think of a conversation the puppet is going to have with the teacher about the topic.

 

2. Attempts to Solve the Problem

To make the puppet skit into an engaging story, you need to come up with three attempts to solve the problem. Perhaps the teacher suggests solutions and the puppet has already tried them. He tells what happened and why that did not work. The puppet may also come up with solutions himself that are quite silly or outrageous, and the kids can tell the puppet why that would not work. Then present the solution as a final attempt to solve the problem. Connect the solution to the main part of your message from the Bible story.

 

3. Include the Kids

Insert moments in the conversation where the kids get to say something. First of all, you can let the kids call the puppet. Kids love to be loud as they call for him to come. Secondly, let the kids be a part of the solution. You may let the class as a whole participate, or you can (carefully) choose a child to come to the front for a short part of the puppet show, who will then ask a question or make a suggestion to the puppet. Including the children in the conversation, even if it is for a small part, will be a tremendous help to get the children engaged.

 

4. Add Funny Details

Come up with at least 3 crazy or funny things the puppet can say in the puppet skit. Think of jokes, play tricks on words, and let the puppet be overly dramatic. Let the kids laugh as the puppet shares crazy ideas. For example, “I don’t have so many talents. Hmm… let’ see… I am good ad fighting! Does that count as a talent?”

If puppets fight, keep the tone light and don’t use bad words. Relate it to the types puppets you use. If you have a bird puppet, you could say, “You’re just an old bird! You’re just made of feathers!”

 

Bonus Idea

Don’t make your puppet show too “preachery”. Instead focus on things like God’s love, how He wants to use the kids, how important they are in God’s eyes, how they can show love to others, etc.

Your kids will love it whenever you bring out those silly puppets. Having a clear problem and practical solution will help the children catch on to what you’re teaching them. Including the kids in the skit, adding jokes and some fun dramatic parts will make learning an entertaining experience for them, and will make them want to come back for more.

To get some inspiration, download a sample puppet-skit-Sam-and-Gloria.pdf

Enjoy!

If you don’t have puppets, check out How to Make Simple Puppets

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10 Tips on How to Use a Puppet

Puppets can be so much fun. Kids just love them. But puppeteering can be a bit more challenging than you might think. Here are 10 things to keep in mind as you prepare your puppet drama.

1. Know Your Character

One reason puppets are so appealing, is that they have character. They can be silly, crazy, even ridiculous and it is all allowed because they are puppets. It makes the puppet so entertaining. Spend some time thinking about the character of your puppet – the clearer your idea is about your character, the easier it is to portray him with character and the more interesting he will be to your audience.

2. Add Drama

As you practice with your puppet, experiment with the amount of drama your puppet uses. He can simply say things, or he can exaggerate. ‘Hi’ can be said in many different ways. What does your puppet feel like? Is he upset? Then let him be VERY upset. Is he happy? Then exaggerate that happiness in how he communicates. Silliness is appreciated in puppets – up to a point, of course.

3. Give Your Puppet a Voice

Experiment with the type of voice you want to use for your puppet. Often people like to use a high pitched voice to add drama, but be careful – make sure you choose a voice you can easily use for the entire duration of your puppet skit. Your voice must be easily understood by the listeners, and if it is too high pitched it might become too difficult to actually understand. Consider using a crazy accent rather than a difficult pitch. If you’re not sure if your voice works, make a quick audio recording on your phone or other device so you can hear what it sounds like. If you have a conversation with your puppet, make sure you can switch well from your own, normal voice, to the puppet’s voice.

4. Let Your Audience Hear You

Using a puppet stage can be useful, and can be easily set up with some tables and fabric. However, if you do not have a sound system, don’t use a puppet stage, because the audience will not be able to hear you. Just hold your puppet and talk to it. Don’t worry about them being able to see your mouth move. If you practice how to move your puppet, the kids will focus on the puppet while it speaks, and will focus on you while you speak. It can work beautifully.

 

5. Move the Puppet’s Mouth 

Moving the mouth of the puppet properly is important. You’ve probably watched a puppet skit where the puppet stops moving its mouth as the puppeteer is busy reading his script and forgets to move the puppet’s mouth – it quickly turns the puppet skit into a lame presentation. It’s confusing too; who is talking? Practice moving the mouth in front of a mirror. Open the mouth wide when he says something loudly. If your puppet does not have a mouth that opens, then move the face as he talks.

6. How to Hold the Puppet

After speaking, make sure you hold the puppet in a way so that people can see the face. People often hold the puppet up too high so that the audience sees the neck and mouth, but not the eyes and face.

7. When to Move the Puppet

A lot of the puppetskit will likely involve conversation. Whenever there is a conversation going on, only move the puppet when he is talking. The only exception is that you move him to show that he changes what he is looking at, so he may look at the kids, and then look at you. Movement distracts the audience, so whenever the puppet moves while someone else is talking, he becomes a distraction.

8. Make Eye Contact

Let your puppet look at the audience, and make eye contact with your puppet as you talk to him yourself. Have an actual conversation with your puppet. Eye contact will make your conversation seem more real to your kids.

9. Show Don’t Tell

You may have heard this rule before. It applies to storytelling and drama and writing. And yes, also to puppeteering. Always try to think of ways in which you can communicate without using words. Doing things, acting things out, showing what you mean by using body language and facial expressions will make the kids watch you a little closer. It helps our visual learners, but it also forces the children to keep their eyes on you. It adds interest. It encourages engagement. And that’s what you want.

10. Let the Puppet Introduce Your Topic

Puppets are very useful when it comes to introducing the main topic of your lesson. Let the puppet have a problem that is similar to a situation your children may face, but then slightly more dramatic or silly. During your lesson the children will see how they can handle such a situation in their own lives. At the end of the lesson, you can use the puppet again, and have puppet ask the children how he can deal with his problem. It will give the children an opportunity to figure out how they help someone apply what they learned. It puts the children in a role of teaching the puppet, and that is a great way for them to learn.

What if you have no puppets? Make them yourself? Here’s how!

Coming soon: How to Write a Puppet Skit

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How to Make Simple Puppets

There are few things as captivating as puppets. As soon as a puppet appears, all eyes are on it. And those eyes open a little wider as curiosity peaks. You’ve got everyone’s attention! Your opportunity has presented itself.

Okay, wait. Let’s start with the basics. Yes, we will get to How to Use a Puppet. And we will look at How to Write a Puppet Skit. But first things first, you need a puppet!  What if you don’t have one? What if shops don’t sell them? Does that mean your opportunity will never spring into being?

No worries! Making a puppet can be as easy as this:

You see, all you need is paper, glue and a marker. If you have those, you’re good to go.

You can keep it this simple. But you can also add a few extras. Like this:

 

The sky it the limit. My drama teacher in university told us anything can be a puppet. Really.

Look around your house and see what you can find. Anything will do!

Of course, if you’re more adventurous, you an also make puppets like these:

To make it, you need a old shirt, and you tie a string at the bottom. Put knots in the shoulder straps.

Draw a face on it. Then add a few extras as you wish, and you’re done.

For this one I used an old mop. For the head I used a bunch of plastic bags and made them into a ball. I drew eyes, a nose and a mouth on paper, cut them out and glued them on. I added a horizontal stick for arms and dressed her in an old t-shirt.

If you know how to knit or crochet, you can come up with something like this:

So, back to the beginning. You bring out your puppet. All eyes are on you. Or no, all eyes are on the puppet. The potential is enormous. But you can also have a less successful performance. There are a few things that are crucial to a successful puppet moment with your kids.

Check out this article as well: 10 Tips on How to Use a Puppet

Share your creative ideas in the comments!

Teaching with creativity helps children engage with what you teach, and it makes it more fun for them and for you!

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Soft Drinks, Raisins and the Holy Spirit

What do soft drinks, raisins and the Holy Spirit have to do with each other?

Good question!

The answer lies in a science experiment found in lesson 1 of our Acts curriculum. It is used in the introduction and the connection part of the lesson. It goes like this:

I have some raisins here who think they can swim up and down if I drop them in a glass of water. Do you think they can do it? No! Let’s try it and see what happens. (Drop the raisins (or lentils) in a glass of water – they sink and nothing happens.) You were right, they cannot swim.

Now we are going to check again if the raisins can swim.

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The jar is the same.

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But this time I’m using carbonated water. Water with bubbles.

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The raisins are the same. Let’s drop them in and see what happens.

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Something is different this time. They are swimming up and down! Is it something the raisins did themselves that made it possible for them to swim? (No.) No, the raisins did not do it themselves. The raisins did not change, but the water has. It’s not normal water, it’s Sprite®. The water has bubbles in it, a special type of gas. Those bubbles attach themselves to the raisins and they are strong enough to lift the raisins up. When they get to the top, the bubbles burst and the raisins sinks down again.

This is such a cool picture of what happened to the disciples on the day of Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples! These bubbles give the raisins the ability to do something they cannot do in their own strength. In the same way the Holy Spirit gives us power. God gives us the Holy Spirit. We cannot give the Holy Spirit to ourselves, but God gives His Spirit to all believers. He lives inside all people who believe. So if you believe, the Holy Spirit lives inside you! And because of the power of the Holy Spirit inside us, we can do the things God calls us to do to build His Kingdom and tell the world about Him. Without the Holy Spirit, it is impossible, but with the Holy Spirit we can reach out to the world!

 

Did you enjoy this article about using science in your lesson? Check out this article and video about using language in creatively to teach your children in a way that will capture their attention and will help them engage with the stories from the Bible!

Download a copy of our module From Barriers to Values for more practical ideas to teach your children about Jesus. 

All our lessons use creative ways to teach children! Check out our lessons books in our Resource Shop.

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Teach with Creativity – Creative Language Use

Capturing the attention of our children during Sunday School may prove to be more challenging than we’d like to admit. Many children have already heard the Bible stories, so it’s easy for them to ‘tune out’ quickly. What can we do to grab hold of and keep their attention?

Teaching with creativity is a great way to reel in those kids who are about to let their minds wander off in a different direction. There are many creative methods for us to choose from. Let’s look at Creative Language Use.

Here is an example from one of the Acts lessons.

Throughout the lesson the children are taught the phrases that summarize the key parts of the story. By adding motions to the phrases, different learning styles are utilized, and as they memorize the phrases, the kids will be more likely to remember the story itself.

So how can you use this creative teaching method as you prepare to tell a story?

First, divide your story into segments. Make sure that each segment contains an important event from the story.

After that, come up with two phrases or sentences that point out key elements of the story. Try to make rhythmic rhyming phrases. Count the syllables in each phrase to check your rhythm. For example:

“They were beaten but were glad (7), even if it hurt so bad (7).”

“Go stand in the temple and tell everyone (11) about God’s love and what Jesus has done (11).”

You can also keep them shorter, like this:

“We disobey (4), God far away (3). Be born again (4), Be God’s friend (3).” (From He Loves Me, lesson 4)

Finally, come up with simple, clear, interesting motions that flow with the rhythm of your lines. Practice them to make sure that they will work with the story and with your children.

As you tell the story, teach the children the phrases and motions as they come up in the story. After you teach them a set of phrases, repeat the entire set from the beginning of the story and add your new lines at the end. Then continue to tell the story until you finish telling the next key event. Teach the children the next set of phrases, repeat from the top, and continue your story again. This may seem repetitive, but many children will enjoy the challenge and at the end of the lesson they will have memorized all the key elements of the story in a fun way. The children will remember the story and they will be able to use the rhymes to tell someone else the story as well! Have fun!

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