Maya loves characters. Recently in therapy she made a few popsicle stick character puppets, and I thought about how easily they could be modified to use with AAC. They are highly motivating and can be used in a ton of different ways. Here are the instructions and some ideas for use:
Step 1: Print pictures of characters. Or trains. Or people from TV shows. Or trees. Basically anything. I printed mine on cardstock for a bit of extra durability.
Step 2: Use a hole puncher (or whatever) to make a finger sized hole in the picture.
Step 3: Glue on a popsicle stick. Don't leave too much sticking out at the bottom, as that could get tricky for modeling later. Just enough that you can grab it and make it walk/hop/jump/drive around during pretend play.
Step 4: After the glue dried, I covered mine in clear packaging tape. This is optional, but I think if you don't do it there's a good chance the finger hole will tear. As you can see, I didn't waste much time on this---just get it all taped up, it doesn't matter if the tape is hanging over the edges. You'll fix that in a minute.
Step 5: Cut off the extra tape from around the edges, and cut the tape out of the finger hole. (I used the hole puncher to punch a hole through it first, then cut.)
Step 6: Pat yourself on the back.
Maya helped me make these and was extremely excited. As soon as the first one was done she grabbed it up and went straight to Mini to show me that Mike Wazowski wanted a smoothie. Interestingly, she had a better idea for use than I did---I thought I would stick my finger through the back-----but she showed me that sticking your finger through the front lets you see the character and do the speaking/modeling at the same time. Super fun!
This is what it looks like when I model with the finger puppet. For kids who aren't highly motivated to attend to modeling, this is way more fun than just watching a finger.
- Use during pretend play to model what the finger puppets are saying/doing/thinking. Ex I love jumping on this table, I am hungry, I want to go in the bus
- Use to practice interviewing/questioning. The puppet can ask the child questions (What is your favorite color) or the child can ask the puppet.
- Two puppets can talk to each other----one on the finger of the child, one on the finger of the communication partner.
- The communication partner can play the role of the puppet, or can act as a narrator independent of the puppet (Like "I wonder what he's going to say next" or "Let's ask him what kind of ice cream he likes . . . Hmm, it looks like he's going into the dessert screen, I wonder which flavor he's going to pick!")
There are a ton of possibilities, I imagine---these are just a few that we played with today. Please feel free to chime in below and share ideas for how these might be used----or with ideas of other fun puppets to create!
(Also, I shared this previously on the blog's Facebook page, but this also works with actual puppets. We did this a little while ago and it was fun for a bit, but I have a feeling that the characters will have more staying power---my kids love characters.)
puppet with a finger hole cut out for modeling