Monday, February 20, 2017


If you’ve ever been to my workshops you’ve seen how I take something simple like an envelope and turn it into a learning tool. If you’re running out of ideas this time of year, then I’ve got some new activities for you. Of course, they are simple, inexpensive, open-ended, and hands-on. I’ll go LIVE AT FIVE tomorrow night (Tuesday) to demonstrate them.

The world keeps changing, but children are the same. They loved puppets over 40 years ago when I started teaching and they still enjoy putting their hand in a puppet and making it come alive. To make an envelope puppet seal the envelope and cut in half as shown. Give children markers, crayons, and other art media and set their creative juices flowing!

Retell a Story

Let children make a puppet of their favorite character from a book and use it to retell the story.
Nursery Rhyme
Make a character from a nursery rhyme and use it to say the rhyme. Encourage children to take the puppet home and say the rhyme to their parents.

Make puppets with different expressions (happy, sad, angry, scared, surprised, and so forth). Let children use the puppets to describe when they feel that way.

People Puppets
Have children glue photos of famous historical figures or heroes. Encourage them to use the puppet to talk about why they admire that person.
Animal Puppets
Let children make puppets about animals you are studying about in science. Use puppets to describe animal characteristics.

Trim off a corner from an envelope. Let children decorate it with their initials or a smiley.
*Use the bookmark to show the “top” of the page.
*Mark a favorite page they’d like to read to classmates “top” of the page
*Mark the solution or other key element in a story with the bookmark.
*Write a vocabulary word on the bookmark and place it at the top of the page when they find that word in the book.

Cut a 1 1/2” strip from the envelope and use it like a bracelet.
*Write letters, words, numbers, and other skills on the bracelet.

*Make a holiday or seasonal bracelet.
*Collect stickers on the bracelet.
*Get friends’ autographs on the bracelet.
*Send reminder notes home to parents on the bracelet.
*Use at the beginning of the school year to help children remember lunchroom numbers or bus numbers.