How puppets can help kids express emotions

Puppet Making

Using simple strategies acted out by puppets, students learn social and emotional skills that help them calm themselves, identify their feelings, and connect with others.

Puppets are wonderful teaching tools—they are appealing and accessible, and they can be proxies on sensitive topics, expressing feelings and acting out scenarios the humans around them sometimes can’t. At the University of Connecticut, educators, researchers, and puppeteers made a video series called Feel Your Best Self to teach simple evidence-backed strategies that help elementary school students with self-regulation and emotional intelligence—through puppets.

“You could go into a classroom and easily tell someone how to belly-breathe. But isn’t it a little more fun to allow these puppet friends to show their daily struggles and how they teach each other these different strategies?” says Emily Wicks, the program’s cofounder and manager of operations and collections at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut.

To learn more about the Feel Your Best Self curriculum, and to access free resources, videos, and puppet-making kits, check out the Feel Your Best Self website.

The Feel Your Best Self curriculum featured in the video is provided under a license from the University of Connecticut.