Message from Carolyn (Wally and Molly’s grandmother)
You may already have enjoyed using our Dina Dinosaur puppets made by Axtell Expressions, Inc. Now we have worked with Axtell to design new Incredible Years child puppets just for us. We love them because they have lifelike skin materials and latex heads, great hair styles, bigger hand glove grip areas and are readily available, with a very short wait time for custom manufacture. Here are a few things we want you to know that will make your puppet child feel happy.
Dressing Your Child Puppet
Your Incredible Years puppets love 2nd hand clothes that other children have worn because then they know they are cool. Their shirt size is medium and pants are toddler size 4. Shoe size is about 4-5, but other sizes work too. If you have a uniform in your school, the puppets proudly wear the school uniform and follow the dress code so they can fit in with their friends. Also the puppets love to wear sports team shirts from your local team. If they are in a class where children are wearing clothes for religious or cultural reasons, like the hijab or yarmulke, they like to wear what others are wearing in order to be respectful of the beliefs in the classroom they are visiting.
Using Your Puppet
In general you want your puppet’s eyes on the children with head tilted downward. You can make your puppet seem more engaging and life-like with head and arm movements. Help your puppet speak by moving his mouth, especially the lower jaw keeping the upper jaw still. You can use your own voice or make up a voice especially for your puppet. You don’t need to be an expert puppeteer. As long as you are playful and having fun, the children will be mesmerized and will love the puppet. You can name your puppet yourself or you can use the Wally Detective Book names of the puppets such as Wally Problem Solver or Molly Manners or Freddy and Felicity Feelings. Your puppet will respond to love and humor and is comfortable expressing his or her feelings about life events.
Introducing Your Puppet to the Children
Teacher/Therapist: I wanted to introduce you to a new friend who will join us sometimes in our groups.
Puppet: Hi there, I am … e.g., Felicity Feelings, or Wally Problem Solver or Molly Manners. I am so glad you decided to adopt me as I was looking for a warm, loving school to belong to and I am eager to make some friends, although a bit nervous about that.
Teacher/Therapist: Can you tell us something about yourself.
Puppet: I am 5 years old and just moved here with my mother and my dog. I hope you will like me. How do you like my hair? Do you think I will make friends here?
Teacher/Therapist: We are all friendly here and happy to have you. Your hair is very cool. I am sure you will feel less nervous when you get to know everyone. Could someone say something nice to welcome our puppet friend?
Children: We are glad you’re here. Or, I want to be your friend?
Teacher: See, these children want to get to know you. What do you like to do?
Puppet: Well I love to play baseball but I am worried because I can’t read yet.
Teacher/Therapist: How many other kids here like baseball?
Children: (put up their hands)
Teacher/Therapist: Many other kids are just learning to read too. So we will read together and you will have friends who can help you too. You will learn to read just like you learned to play baseball.
Puppet: I already feel less nervous and lucky you invited me to be here. I am so excited to meet everyone and learn what they like to do.