Question: What age is appropriate for a puppet show?
Generally children three years and up enjoy puppet shows. Many two year olds can enjoy puppet shows as well. A one year old child is too young, even if the child enjoys puppets on TV. I do many one year old parties, but the children attending vary in age. Here are some guidelines:
Two year olds: If the party is primarily two year olds and younger, the collective attention span of the group may not be suitable for a puppet show of 30 minutes duration. If the group is two years old and up, then the collective attention span of the group will be increased by the older children. Each child is different. If your child enjoys story time at the library or stories read at night than they should do well. Know your group. At that age some groups do well, others not so well. It’s up to you to make an intelligent choice.
Three year olds: This is a good age for a puppet show, better still if the group is three years old and up.
Four and up: The best ages for a puppet show. Generally children up to age twelve will enjoy puppet shows at parties, libraries, and schools. I perform at preschools (ages 2-5), schools (ages 5-12), and libraries (ages 1-12) all the time as well as birthday parties (ages 1-adult). Above twelve the “cool” factor inhibits their appreciation at least outwardly. It’s not until they are adults that they can enjoy puppet shows again. Truthfully, the adults enjoy the shows as much if not more than the kids!
Question: What show is best for my child’s age?
All my shows are “layered” so that each age can enjoy them at different levels.
Goldielocks and the Three Teddybears plays to ages 2-10. Two year olds tend to not like drama. This show is good for the very young yet clever enough to hold the attention of older children. This show is great for teddybear themed parties and teddybear teas or picnic parties.
Just So Stories plays to ages 3-12 and up. Three year olds can take a little drama and mostly do well with the Just So Stories. This show is great for jungle or animal themed parties. There is a dramatic moment where the Elephant Child gets his nose pulled by the Crocodile. If your child is still very sensitive to dramatic situations, Goldielocks and the Three Teddybears would be a better choice.
Grasshopper and the Ant ages 3 and up. This show features three Aesop’s Fables: Grasshopper and the Ant, Tortoise and the Hare, and Androcles and the Lion. Androcles and the Lion is a bit dramatic, but is a very sweet story.
Prince and Princess Show plays well to 4-12 and up. This show is done in the style of street puppet theater, where the children are encouraged to shout things to the puppets. Two and three year olds are often timid to do this. Four and up are less inhibited. This show is good for boys as well as girls (it’s humourous and there is equal emphasis on the prince and princess). It is great for princess (or prince) themed parties, dress up parties, and tea parties.
Pirates! The Pie-Rats of Penn’s Aunt plays well to ages 3-12 and up. This show features a huge pirate ship that catches on fire and sinks, a shooting cannon, a swordfight, and a sea serpent…..what more could you want?
Dragoon! plays well to ages 3-12 and up. Does your child love dragons? Then this show is for you! Dragoon is a young dragon growing up in a world of humans. He encounters the same things all children do: learning to exercise, eat new foods,doing chores, bedtime stories, and his first day of school.
Adventures of Spider and Fly! plays well to children 4-12 and up. This is a superhero show, but please don’t expect the computer graphics of high budget films! Instead you get funny, tongue-in-cheek humor of two unlikely ‘wannabe’ superheroes.
The Three Little Pigs! plays well to ages 3-12 and up. The familiar story makes it perfect for the young ones, and the cartoon feel makes it perfect for the older ones. Lots of slapstick humor (think Road Runner cartoons) and great music by Gershwin, this show is a real crowd pleaser!
Holiday shows: both of my holiday shows, Elves and the Shoemaker and The Night Before Chris Mouse are fine for all ages.
Question: How long are the shows?
The entire presentation is 40-45 minutes.
At birthday parties there is an introduction where we greet the birthday child and make them feel special. The shows are all 30-35 minutes long. At the end, one of the puppets comes out and the birthday child is called up in front of the stage (with Mom or Dad if need be). The puppet gives the birthday child a gift ( a beautifully made plush hand puppet) and a finger puppet. The other children are then asked to come up and get a finger puppet from the puppet. This is a great time for the children to speak with the puppet and puppeteer.
At libraries, preschools, and schools there is a puppet demonstration following the performance. The stage curtain is pulled down and everyone gets a behind the scenes view of how things work. Question and answer time follows if age appropriate, time permitting. Holiday shows I forgo the puppet demonstration. It would be like Santa pulling off his beard and explaining he’s not real! Instead, I bring Frosty out again for a “meet and greet” with the children (as time allows).
Question: Can you perform outside?
Yes. In your yard or in a park, most anywhere! I carry portable power if there is no place to plug in (NOTE: Portable power is suitable for small audiences only. For larger crowds I need an outlet to plug into). Please keep in mind that I can’t set up on soggy ground or grass and plan accordingly. Really high winds can make it difficult to perform. If your party is in a high wind area (San Francisco for example) please check and see if there is some wind break (a wall, fence, building, shrubbery) that I can set up against. The children should be seated in shade if it’s a hot day, and should sit with their backs to the sun. Have blankets or chairs if the ground is hard and uncomfortable. NOTE: Pirates! The Pie Rats of Penn’s Aunt! can’t handle wind very well. I may need to substitute for a different show if the conditions are too windy.
You can contact us for any information about shows and if you are concerned about baby shows, ask around about how mums and babys can prepare for shows on various networks on the internet.