I have always loved watching ventriloquists perform. Being able to bring a puppet to life has always been an interesting and creative talent. When my students at school developed an interest in puppets, I knew I wanted to find a way to introduce them to ventriloquism. This ventriloquist puppet for kids activity is simple, creative and worked so well that the puppet has become a regular visitor in our classroom.
When I first introduced this puppet, who we called Melody, to our kindergarten students, everyone was really excited and interested to be meeting her.
I wasn’t thinking at the time that she would be something that I would end up integrating into my regular program, but I love that it worked out that way.
I wanted to introduce the children to a bit of ventriloquism. It’s a great idea, but ventriloquism is not something that you can just learn to do overnight. However, I also did not have time to learn to become a true ventriloquist.
Therefore, I came up with this idea that you can do in a short period of time. It’s not true ventriloquism, but it certainly developed an interest in it with the children and presents in a similar way.
There are only a few materials that you need for this activity:
- Cell Phone or Recording Device
- Hand Puppet
- Sparkles (Optional)
Ventriloquist Puppet for Kids Steps
The basic idea for this ventriloquism activity is to pretend that you are doing the voice for the puppet, but the voice and dialogue are actually coming from a hidden speaker.
Getting your timing right is the hardest part, but there are lots of ways to make it easier.
I used my puppet to help teach music class. Therefore Melody and I spoke to the children and then sang a song to them.
A song is a great, and easy way to introduce your puppet. It is easy to keep the beat with a familiar song, and kids will love the incorporation of music.
Before introducing your audience to your puppet, I prepared a short script with all of the conversation the puppet and I were going to have. If you are teaching a specific topic, it is an engaging way to share information.
You could even use this ventriloquism idea at home, by introducing children to the puppet for a birthday or special occasion.
Once you have your idea for what you are going to talk about, or present, you will need to write it down like a scrip. Write what you are going to say and what your puppet is going to say.
Next, record your puppets lines ahead of time. I had my daughter read the lines for Melody. I simply recorded our conversation. For all of my lines, I simply whispered them so that you could not hear them on the recording. You will need to say/whisper you lines so that the pacing is right.
Once you have your recorded script you are ready to introduce your puppet to your audience.
The first thing that I did was introduce ‘Melody’ to my students by showing everyone a small bag. I told them that I brought a special visitor and sprinkled sparkles onto the bag.
The sparkles was our magic dust that brought Melody to life. I then carefully brought Melody out of the bag and onto my hand. To start, Melody did not say anything an simply looked around and acted shy.
As the puppet is looking around, I you are busy looking into the bag which has your cell phone with the pre recorded script, a speaker and a copy of the script.
Next, press play on the cell phone of the recorded conversation. Use the speaker so that the voice is loud enough.
Make sure to move the puppets mouth as the conversation plays. Say your parts out loud as if you are having a conversation with the puppet. The timing will not always be perfect.
The presentation will go back and forth between the recorded lines of the puppet playing over the speaker and the presenter reading their lines.
You can’t go off script, but you can pause the recording if the children ask questions or you need to stop for a minute. Children will love watching you, and your puppet talk to each other or even sing a song.
I loved using my daughters voice because it really made children wonder how I was doing the voice for the puppet. In the end, most believed Melody to be real and asked for her to visit many times. My daughter also loved being the voice for Melody and getting to play a part in the magic.
This is such a simple ventriloquist puppet activity for kids. You can use any script and conversation that you want and record it. It will keep children guessing how you are able to do the puppet show and creates an interest in drama, preforming, and puppetry.
Ventriloquist Puppet for Kids Extension Activity
I often used the ventriloquist puppet for kids for special occasions. For example, close to the end of the year and summer break, I had Melody come and talk about her plans for the summer and we sang some of our favourite songs together as a class.
Melody then told students that she had a special treat for them that she had put into the mystery box. She then told us that we would have to wait until after the weekend to open it! Children were so excited for their special surprise.
The anticipation and number of guesses before we opened the box was amazing! They were so excited. When we did open it, there was a note inside that said “Go to Mrs. Gilman’s room.”
We quickly left the classroom and got down to Mrs. Gilman’s room. I had arranged to use this other classroom while the other class was on a trip. I had a special escape room activity ready to go for our next activity.
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Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you are looking for more activities and ideas to do in the classroom, or at home with kids, below are some of my favourite and most popular learning activities.
From number talks and teacher supply ideas to escape rooms and outdoor learning activities, there are lots of things to keep kids busy and learning. Click image for activity description.