Hello Play and Goodbye Play serve an important role in creating special moments for children to connect with one another when gathering together. Special attention given to Greetings and Partings helps to bring a sense of welcome and belonging.
In my classes and performances, I always like to begin events with a special Hello song, accompanied by my hand puppet Sunflower, and Little Flower when singing Goodbye. One day in class, it dawned on me that the children and parents would enjoy having their own puppets to sing along with too, and I now begin and end every class with two baskets full of Sunflowerand Little Flower puppets for everyone to share.
The two songs I sing, Hello Everyone and Goodbye Everyone, are easy to learn, and are designed to include each child’s name as the circle time leader sings around the circle. It’s fun to include a gentle cheek touch from your puppet as you greet each child, and to allow time for children to play with their own puppets before singing. I invite children and parents to move the puppets up and down, side to side, round and round, and behind the back for peek-a-boo.
I first created my Sunflower and Little Flower puppets out of felt, and you can do the same. Simply outline the shape of your hand on paper in order to make the mitt pattern, then sew the two felt sides together, followed by sewing or gluing on faces. You can include petals, and a circle, to go around the faces by cutting shapes and sewing them into the mitt seam. (See patterns below – click to download).
I now make hand puppets for educators, librarians, parents, and children to enjoy in and out of the circle time setting, but I always encourage everyone to try making their own. It makes for a great family or classroom activity.
Here’s a short video clip from a PlayMove&Sing mommy and me class (ages 1 ½ to 2 ½) at the Rockland County YMCA in NY. In the clip, we’re singing Hello Everyone with our puppets, and the class is just getting under way. Sing along with us!