Here’s Why You Need To Introduce Puppets To Your Kids

Puppet shows are more then just entertainment. They can help your child pick up essential skills. How? Read this to know more!

Remember how fascinated we were while watching puppet shows? How those lifeless stuffed puppets somehow made the story come alive? Puppetry has been part of Indian storytelling history long before. But it is now, that the education experts have understood the impact it can have on kids. Puppet show can not only be shown for the main purpose of a story but for bringing to surface certain values and lessons that can leave an imprint of young minds forever. This research has been conducted by the NCERT.

All Types Of Puppets Are Found In India:


The ‘Puppet’ is one of the most remarkable and ingenious inventions of the human society. India is said to be the home of traditional puppets. Did you know? The earliest reference to the art of puppetry is found in the Tamil classic ‘Silappadikaaram’ written around the 1st or 2nd century B.C.!

Let’s dive into the different types of puppets and their importance in education:

String Puppets:

India has a rich and ancient tradition of string puppets or marionettes. Marionettes having jointed limbs controlled by strings allow far greater flexibility and are, therefore, the most articulate of the puppets. This form of puppetry has flourished from Rajasthan, Odisha, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The traditional puppets of Rajasthan are known as ‘Kathputli.’ Heard of it right? The string puppets of Karnataka are called Gombeyatta. Puppets from Tamil Nadu, known as Bommalattam combine the techniques of both rod and string puppets.

Glove Puppets

This is the most relevant form of puppetry today. The tradition of glove puppets in India is popular in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Kerala. In Uttar Pradesh, glove puppet plays usually present social themes, whereas in Odisha such plays are based on stories of Radha and Krishna. In Odisha, the puppeteer plays the dholak with one hand and manipulates the puppet with the other. The delivery of the dialogues, the movement of the puppet and the beat of the dholak are well synchronised and create a dramatic atmosphere.

Rod Puppets:

Rod puppets are an extension of glove-puppets, but often much larger and supported and manipulated by rods from below. This form of puppetry now is found mostly in West Bengal and Odisha. As you can see Odisha is in most categories. In Nadia district of West Bengal, rod-puppets used to be of human size like the Bunraku puppets of Japan. But sadly, this form is now almost extinct. This form of puppetry usually combines elements of rod and string puppets.

Shadow Puppets:

Shadow puppets are flat figures. They are cut out of leather, which has been treated to make it
translucent. Shadow puppets are pressed against the screen with a strong source of light behind it. The manipulation between the light and the screen makes silhouettes or colourful shadows, as the case may be, for the viewers who sit in front of the screen. This tradition of shadow puppets survives in Odisha, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and
Tamil Nadu.

What Is The Pedagogic Importance Of Puppetry?

Research has proved that puppetry can be used to motivate children with emotional and physical challenges to develop their mental and physical faculties.
• Puppetry can also be used to conduct awareness programmes about the conservation of the natural and cultural environment, climate changes, cleanliness drives, gender concerns, inclusion, etc as it simplifies complex topics for kids. The programmes aim at sensitising the students about the beauty in words, sound, form, colours and movement. The aesthetic satisfaction derived from making puppets and communicating through them also helps in the all-round development of the personality of the child.
• Stories adapted from Puranic literature, local myths and legends usually form the content of traditional puppet theatre in India which, in turn, imbibes elements of all creative expressions like painting, sculpture, music, dance, drama, etc.
• Puppetry can help teachers across the stages for the teaching-learning of all the subject areas integrating theatre. It will be very useful for language and Social Science education.
• Awareness on cross-cutting issues such as gender, inclusion, equity, social justice, etc. can be generated through puppetry not only among the students but also among their parents and the overall community.
• Regular puppet shows on the local problems- wastage of water, wastage of food, cleanliness, etc. may be organised in schools with the help of children, wherein parents and community may be invited to watch them and hence generate awareness. This will help children in their writing and visualizing skills too.

Share this with other parents to let them know the importance of this amazing and captivating art of puppetry.

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