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Monday, December 22, 2008

TOS review: www.Puppetools.com

Jeff Peyton, the inventor of Puppetools, deeply believes in the importance of using play in education. He has devoted years of his life to research supporting his beliefs. His website at http://www.puppetools.com/ is a wealth of information on using play in the classroom to prevent learning from becoming drudgery.

His site contains a few free downloadable puppet patterns, sections for parents and educators, ideas from not only classroom teachers but students themselves, and many videos and photos of finished puppets being used in the classroom.

He is the creator of the "paper talker hinge" system, which makes his puppets very unique.
I felt our family did not benefit as much from this product as I had hoped. Being a highly creative person with a large and active childhood imagination, I already strongly believed in the theories Mr. Peyton suggests. I already know the benefits of hands-on and active educational learning versus traditional workbook learning. So much more is retained when children actively do. My problem is not lack of creativity or disbelief in the theory so much as it is finding the time to do the fun learning activities in the midst of all the routine school work load that has to be done. The good thing about Puppetools is that puppets are shown used in unit studies, circle time, and so much more. It might be that there is time for puppet play in my home after all, depending on how easily they can be worked into our daily core studies.

I cannot see however, spending money on a subscription to this site when I can do well on my own searching for free puppet patterns via Google. I am very fond of making crafts that last rather than those that fall apart quickly and end up in the trash. I am afraid that paper puppets would not hold up well in my home. As another mom said, it'd be simple to use brown paper bags and free puppet ideas online to make puppets to go along with your studies.

I also had trouble getting the many videos to load fast enough on my dial-up connection. That might deter a few families in itself, as it seems much of the knowledge found on the site is hidden in the depths of the videos. The videos also allow us to "meet" Mr. Peyton as he explains his ideas.

Of course, other families might find the information presented well worth the cost, particularly if they are involved in a homeschool co-op or church puppet ministry.

You can get a trial subscription lasting 60 days for $20. This might be an option for parents to really delve into the site; as for me, I cannot see myself spending that much to try it.

For those involved in groups who can split the cost, up to 30 users can pay $99. This seems to be a much better option for trying Puppetools.

If you have any questions, Mr. Peyton seems to be very knowledgeable and friendly to our TOS Crew group of reviewers, and I feel confident he would love to help you in any way he can.


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