Before we ever show kids our common reactions to unexpected bugs ("Ew! Get it away!"), many are naturally drawn to the creepy critters. Their small size makes them a perfect fit in baby's world, and their bright colors and quick movements catch their developing eyes.
Older kids who can talk will love to point out where they've seen these insects before -- you might even consider going on a nature walk and bringing this menagerie with you, pointing out which puppets you find in real life!
Play for Kids 6 Months and Older
Even infants can get into finger puppets! At around 6 months, babies are enthralled by bright colors and shapes. They may not be able to tell exactly what these critters are now, but using bugs to set the educational stage now can help them make connections in picture books and kids' classes later. And they'll love to see you use the puppets to act out songs and made-up stories.
Older kids may be interested in using safety scissors and crayons to cut out or color each puppet, which helps them develop their fine motor skills. Even if your older child just wants to watch you assemble the puppets, talk with him about the colors you're using, how butterflies start out as caterpillars, the sound a bee makes, etc. And no matter how you choose to use these puppets, the time you spend with your child playing with them is important bonding time.
Parents, remember that print-outs from your computer are not baby- or kid-proof, so supervise children while playing with these to avoid paper cuts.
Instructions: Download the PDF below and print out the finger puppets provided. Cut along the dotted lines and wrap them around your fingers with a piece of tape.
Have Even More Fun!
Visit SoSmart.com for more great ideas on having fun with your children, beginning with babies from 0-3 months. Learn songs and fingerplays, download and print other activities, and check out the So Smart! line of educational books and videos.
Originally published on AmericanBaby.com, March 2005.