When my youngest child was a toddler he developed a sudden and intense fear of monsters.
“I sared! I sared!!” he would say in his adorable little toddler voice, putting his hands over his eyes. It was hard not to smile at the mispronunciation and the almost cartoonish actions that went with it but this was a real fear, a fear that woke him in the night and had him sobbing in terror.
We were not sure where the sudden fear of hidden monsters came from, and nothing we did seemed to make any difference. No reassurance that monsters were not real penetrated his fears, and the books we read about kids conquering their fears seemed to be all too old for him.
So we decided that the best way to tackle this was to encourage him to play with monsters, to see that they could be fun, and that he could have control over them, and work through his fears. And so we made him some monster puppets!
We made five bright and colourful, silly, friendly looking monster puppets for my scared toddler to play with, with hopes that he might begin to think of monsters as fun instead of scary!
To make it even more fun and non-threatening, I enlisted the help of the big kids. Big brother drew a fun backdrop for the puppet play, and the big sisters came up with a story that showed the monsters being funny and doing normal every day, not scary, things. The big kids put on a silly ‘monster puppet show’ for their little brother.
We encouraged Noah to chose a puppet and join in with the play, and at the end of the story we encouraged him to ‘shoo the monsters away’ and we all gave a lots of applause and encouragement when they had all run away.
Sing a Monster Song
Five Little Monsters.
This little monster has a big red nose
This little monster has purple toes.
This little monster plays all night.
This little monster is such a fright.
And this little monster goes:
“I’m not scary, I’m just silly me.”
We left the monster puppets out to play with for a long time, and Noah would often pick them up and give them voices, or ask me to sing the song with him, or even use build houses for them out of blocks.
I don’t think they were a magic cure to his monster fears, time and maturity was the biggest help there, but being able to ‘play out’ his fears in a safe way definitely helped him express his emotions and explore the ideas of monsters. And they were loads of fun to play with too!
Make your Own Monster Puppets
If you have your own monster problems, or perhaps you are celebrating Halloween, or maybe you just want to play with these cute monsters you can print them, cut them out, and make your own puppets.
There are five fun and friendly monsters in this free printable monster puppet set.
This printable is an A4 sized pdf file, you will need a pdf reader such as adobe acrobat to open it. If you are printing on US ‘letter sized’ paper be sure to select ‘fit’ or ‘shrink to fit’ from your printer options.
Please remember that the printables at picklebums.com are for personal use only, you may not sell, share, or link directly to these files.
I use a regular inkjet printer to print all my puppets. We printed our friendly monsters onto matte photo paper, but you could also use light cardstock, or regular printer paper and laminate the puppets after you have cut them out.
We use tape or a glue dot to attach a craft stick to the back of each monster to turn them into puppets. You can also use straws, or bamboo skewers, or any other stick.
Are your children scared of anything?
How have you dealt with it?
If your kids like monsters you might like to check out some these monster themed activities:
If your kids love playing with puppets then you might like to check out all our free printable puppets here.