Using Nature’s Toys as Puppets
By Sandra Busch

My story rhythm goes over a three week period. First week I tell the story, second week I use the children’s toys as puppets to tell the story; after the first day an older child will help me. The third week we dramatise the story. By this time the children have a deep connection to the story and will often speak the words themselves at the appropriate time.

Over the years I have used nature’s toys as puppets. The curly shells of different sizes make good Billy Goats and a gnarly piece of wood, the troll under the bridge. Flowers make beautiful butterflies.

This Autumn our Kindergarten garden had many different varieties of Autumn leaves and they were beautiful. I felt as if they were asking me to find a way of bringing them to the children. So on the second week of Briar Rose story, I decided to try using the leaves as puppets. Two big beautiful leaves for the King and Queen, a smaller one for the princess. The cook and kitchen boy were plainer leaves and the 13th wise woman was a dark green leaf. It worked very well and brought a wonder to the story. I realise it was my gesture that was important and the leaves became ensouled with the character. I felt it was also along the lines of the knot doll, where Rudolf Steiner recommends that simplicity leaves the child free to add what they need to add, thus encouraging the developing imagination.

After that the children played with the leaves in many varied ways. A few days later a little boy ran up to me with three lovely leaves and said “Here’s some fairies for you”.

So I wanted to share the idea of using Nature’s toys as puppets at the Vital Years Conference. The Little Wombat story is a nature story which I wrote a few years ago. It has been printed in Star Weavings before and I did tell it at an earlier Conference, but somehow it didn’t feel quite complete. I’ve refined the story in places and by using the Banksia pods, which work very well as puppets, it now feels more complete. I also felt it was a good winter stoy, the going down into the earth. In winter the life forces are drawn down into the earth.

So I hope these thoughts might be helpful for you. Enjoy your story telling.
Sandra Busch

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