How Puppets are Incredible “Assistants” for Speech-Language Practice

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UGH. It began as a turbulent start to our speech session… Evan started to squirm on his chair. Then he quickly rocked so hard his chair almost flipped over backwards.

As soon as Evan’s chair was secure, he began to frantically grab and fidget with anything he could reach on the table – bending picture cards, poking the mirror, crushing toy objects. Evan was communicating his frustration with our speech target through his behavior.

I thought to myself, “Uh oh… This sound target is a “tuffy” for Evan.

Kids, like adults may experience frustration when they are learning a new skill, unless…they are having so much fun they don’t mind when a skill is difficult for them.

Of course, I thought of you struggling to persuade / motivate / bribe your child to practice speech with you…

Because I reached for one of my “assistants” who always has a big smile on his face and who loves to help kids.

Yes – It was time to break out one of Evan’s favorite puppets for some Speech Party Fun! I reached into my activity bin and pulled out a puppet that was shaking with excitement…

“Evan, You’re good at this sound! I want you to teach me to say the words, too!”

And You’ll Love Evan’s Reaction (more on that in a minute!)

Your “Assistant” Puppet:

  • Is the ultimate, FUN Practice Partner. A puppet can “eat” picture cards or objects using silly crunching, chomping, and lip smacking sounds. A puppet gets kids to laugh using funny facial expressions or gestures.
  • Offers Encouragement for kids. A puppet says, “I know you know this one!!” while their beak or hand points wildly to a sound target picture. A puppet moves up toward a child and says, “Give me High Five for that good one!”
  • Gives kids Specific Feedback. “I like it when you hold the /s/ gently at the end of a word.”
  • Is Persistent with enticing repeated practice, “Say it again and look at me.” – “Open your mouth more when you say it again.” – “Show mom/dad how well you said that.” – “Watch in the mirror and say it again.”
  • Takes on the role of a “student” and lets a child delight in being a “teacher” and offering cues when they notice the puppet use an incorrect sound target. “You forgot to hide your tongue.”

Surprisingly, kids don’t seem to mind when puppets are “bossy” through the magic of play. (You have to love that!)

So How Did Evan React To My Puppet Assistant?

Evan leaned forward and dropped the toy from his hand.

He picked up a picture and named it before “feeding” it into Puppet’s wide-open, hungry mouth.

Evan smiled at the puppet and modeled the next word, clear as a bell.

He gestured for Puppet to take its turn. “Watch me. You say it like this…”

Evan was so hooked on our puppet fun that he forgot his frustration with learning his new sound skill. My puppet “assistant” was a hit!

How will you use puppets when you & your child need a fun assistant for some extra motivation for speech-language practice? Share your puppet “assistant” success and send me a reply at

To your Success with Creating Speech-Language Fun for Kids,
“Speech” Keri