We have been working with Learning Resources for quite some time now but I think that this has to be one of my favourite toys we've been sent for review; as part of a 'spark their imaginations' campaign which Learning Resources are currently running, we were asked to test out one of their Puppet-on-a-Stick unicorns and we have had so much fun.
For Meg, it couldn't have been a better style puppet as she is really into unicorns at the moment (we recently redecorated her room in this very theme) so from the minute we opened the parcel she was prancing and preening, talking to the puppet, doing her mane and squirrelling herself away writing scripts for shows.
As with everything from Learning Resources, I found the puppet to be really good quality, made from a durable material which is easy to clean if your puppeteers get a bit carried away with their games. It is made from plastic, and is a little top heavy which Eli found tricky but Meg had no trouble with at all. To make the mouth open you pull down on a little lever which is located about halfway down the stick. Very simple. I also liked the little additions such as the eyes which move, the eyelashes and the colourful hair which really add to the magical feel of the puppet.
Having the unicorn in the house was also a fantastic excuse for me to dust off my own puppet from the loft and spend some time creating shows with Meg and Eli. We had some friends staying with us last weekend and we all took turns performing and telling our best jokes for the audience. It was a lot of fun, and I know the kids absolutely loved it. I did try to capture some video but unfortunately it was inaudible as everyone was laughing so much (we are all just big kids at heart!)
So what do I like about this toy?
* It inspires creativity: for Meg in particular it has been wonderful watching her practice her writing as she comes up with scripts, using her imagination to create story lines, teaching them to her cast (Eli) and then actually performing them.
* It builds confidence: It's no mean feat for a 4 and a 6 year old to perform in front of four adults, even if they are just like their father in loving the limelight.
* It requires co-ordination: To move the mouth at the same time as you are speaking with the puppet is not something which comes naturally and requires dexterity as well as an ability to keep in time. The action also strengthens the muscles and helps develop fine motor skills.
* It's good fun: This is something I come back to time and again with the products which Learning Resources sell; they are teaching children through the medium of play so often children are picking up skills and learning new things without even realising it as they are simply having fun and enjoying themselves.
Learning Resources have a whole range of puppets on a stick including dinosaurs, sea creatures and frogs. The unicorns also come in pink or white.
I think these would be a really great resource for a playgroup or a school as well as at home and are a wonderful way of allowing children to express themselves by using the puppet. I can see that this will become a firm favourite in our house.
Disclaimer: We were sent the puppet-on-a-stick for the purpose of this review. However all thoughts and opinions are our own.