February 15, 2007

HAND PUPPETS FOR KIDS: THE DOTTIE AND DODIE SHOW










Dottie and Dodie are avid Detroit Tigers and Red Wings fans!

USING OUR BARE HANDS AS A TEACHING TOOL

Growing-up is not an easy task for kids. Children are small people in the land of the GIANTS (adults). Depending on one's frame of reference, this could be good or bad. It is good when a child learns life's important lessons from responsible GIANTS. It is bad when a child needlessly experiences abuse or neglect from any irresponsible GIANT. This article will focus on something good. Based on the fact that children are not as aware of their thoughts and feelings as most GIANTS, there is the need to teach this lesson to them. How can this be achieved? There are many ways to teach children how to articulate their thoughts and feelings, some are more basic and less complex than others. This article will focus on something simple and free: Hand puppets used as a tool for teaching.

Martial arts experts acknowledge that a person's hands can be used either to express love or inflict pain. Responsible GIANTS use their hands to express love to their children. Using our bare hands to imitate hand puppets is one way to teach an expression of love.

Hand puppets not only help get kids to talk, but they also foster a sense of imagination and playfulness. For kids who feel alone in a big world, the hand puppets provide some imaginary companionship. Consequently, the child feels less alone. This is because every child who has hands can create their own imaginary friends through the use of their own hand puppets. This only becomes maladaptive if the child decides to limit their friends to the ones created by their hands. In most cases, however, the hand puppets facilitate self-awareness and self-esteem which encourage the child to develop outside friendships.

HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:

The idea of Dottie and Dodie was conceptualized circa 1968. It was fun to use my hands to make shadow puppets on the projector screen when Uncle Fred showed 8 mm movies like "Creature From The Black Lagoon." My brothers, Gary, Gene and Michael, sister, Christine, and cousin, Paul, would share the laughter with me. Soon the hand puppets acquired names and the rest became history.

Fast forward to the 1980's and 1990's, when I am an adult who has multiple nieces and nephews, and a fiancee who has a young son. When Kyle, Nicole, Robert, Samantha, Danny, David, Laura, Jennifer, Kelly and Arthur were small, I would look for fun ways to engage them into conversation. One way was to tell stories with the help of my childhood hand puppets, Dottie and Dodie.

I would use the skill of a ventriloquest to give animation and voices to Dottie and Dodie. This encouraged the young ones to become a part of the story being told. It would intrigue them to hear hand puppets talking. We would talk about a lot of things. Sometimes we talked about Dottie and Dodie's vacations to Florida. Other times it was about how they were doing in school. Still other times Dottie and Dodie became a part of bedtime stories and/or prayers before bed. The nieces, nephews and Art would then be asked to talk about their vacation and school experiences or to recite their prayers if it were bedtime. They were taught how to use their own hand puppets called, Dottie and Dodie, to help them feel comfortable during the dialogue. The thought of them having their own talking hand puppets seemed to further intrigue and fascinate them.

All of my nieces and nephews, and Arthur, are now older than 12 years old. This means, to them, Dottie and Dodie are corny. However, the concept works well with young children between the ages of 4 and 10. This concept is simple and it's free. The only cost involved is the amount of time spent sharing stories with each other.

Written by,
Mark S. Rogers, LPC.
Licensed Professional Counselor
(1/04)

Jordan, Jaden and Jenna supporting Stooltime Counseling!

Mom and Dad gave permission for Paige to wear mom's Stooltime Counseling ball cap. Thank you, young lady!

Stooltime Playtime with Paige, Christopher, Emily, Michael and Harper. Thanks, guys!

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