Tennis Ball Puppets

tennisballTennis ball puppets your toddler will love!

I would like to introduce you to some friends of mine. They’re cute, they’re fun, and they love a good snack. These silly spherical sidekicks are great for helping little ones with fine motor development, feeding skills, and more!

tennisballintro

Today I am going to share how I made these tennis ball puppets for my littles and how we have taken them to the next level to increase the benefit of playing with them.

tennisball1

 Here is what you need-

  • Tennis ball
  • Sharp knife or Exacto knife
  • Wiggle Eyes
  • Hot glue gun

Optional Supplies:

  • Permanent marker
  • Yarn
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Multicolored poms

 Instructions:

1.) Mouth: Cut a horizontal slit into your tennis ball.  Please be careful!

{Tip: A longer slit will make it easier to move the puppet’s “mouth.” A shorter slit makes it more challenging.}

tennisball2

2.) Add the Eyes! Glue wiggle eyes onto your puppet using a hot glue gun.

3.) Add some hair! There are two ways to do this: 1- Hot glue a few strands of yarn to the puppet’s head. 2- Use your sharp knife to poke a hole on the top of the tennis ball. Use a ballpoint pen to push the yarn down into the hole. I found that the yarn was more secure using this method. It’s really a matter of preference, though. Also, there is nothing wrong with keeping your puppet bald!

tennisball5

4.) Add a nose! I glued colored poms on my puppets. You could also draw a nose with permanent marker. Or, you might choose no nose at all. It’s up to you!

tennisball10 

Squeeze the sides of the tennis ball, and Mr. Mouth will open wide. Pretend to make him talk, or feed him small items like coins, buttons or beans!

 tennisball6

 

Take this activity to the next level by incorporating an easy sensory bin:

Pour uncooked rice, beans, or pasta into an empty bin or bowl. Grab a plastic spoon and cup. Use the utensils to “feed” Mr. Mouth.  …Nom-nom-nom!

tennisball7

tennisballbenefits

Hand strengthening: In order for the puppet to talk or eat, you must open its mouth by squeezing its cheeks (sides of the tennis ball). Initially, it may take a little extra effort, but it will eventually get easier as those little hands get stronger.

Fine motor skills: Picking up small objects such as buttons or beans help little ones with their pincer grasp.

tennisball8

Feeding skills: Use a spoon or small cup to practice scooping rice and feeding the puppet. This really helped my littles with grasping utensils and properly feeding themselves with a spoon.

Bilateral Coordination: Bilateral coordination, also referred to as bilateral integration, is the ability to use both sides of the body together in a coordinated way. This activity challenges your child to squeeze the puppet with one hand while feeding it with the other hand (hopefully without spilling). This builds their independence and ultimately their confidence.

Social Skills: Have make-believe conversations or act out different social scenarios with Mr. and Mrs. Mouth. Not only does this promote language with your child, but it might also give you an idea of how your child is doing with their social skills.

  • Saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’: Have Mr. and Mrs. Mouth ask to be fed more beans/rice/buttons. Demonstrate that they should also say thank you. This is also an appropriate time to highlight appropriate times for saying ‘No, thank you’ too. Talk about how yummy their snack is.
  • Social Stories: Act out common social scenarios your child will face in preschool, like using kind words or sharing. Sometimes it is easier for children to demonstrate (rather than verbally explain) how they are interacting with their friends at school.

tennisball9

I hope you enjoy Mr. and Mrs. Mouth as much as we do. If you try this and love it, please come back and share your success story, comments, or questions.

Thanks for reading!

 

As seen on…

DIY-Crush-Link-Party-Button

DIY Crush Craft Party!

Thinking Outside The Pot
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party
badge-rookie-party3
Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Tennis Ball Puppets

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s