Maia and Puppet Shows

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Harry took Maia to puppet day at the Folk Art Center a little over a month ago. They saw a couple of puppet shows and made/decorated simple puppets between shows. Maia didn't stop talking about it afterwards. She loved the puppet shows! Really loved them. Vasalisa (one of the puppets, pictured above) was a daily topic of conversation for a while.

Since then she's seen two other puppet shows–one at the library and one at Wildacres with Hobey Ford. The second was a private retreat for kids and their parents, but Harry talked his way in somehow and we all saw the show.

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Hobey Ford was amazing. I was mesmerized and I'm not even his target audience. Everyone loved him from the 2 year olds to the older folks. He's truly a master of his medium and his puppets (all handmade by him) are wonderful, from his little peepers to his large foam whales.

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It helped that his show was about animals–the cycle of life with a caterpillar metamorphosing to a chrysalis to a butterfly and a tadpole changing to a frog, etc. The whole thing was done to dreamy new age music — lots of mime and acting, no words — and was absolutely magical.

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For those of you in the Asheville area, Hobey will be doing his show again (for the public this time) at the Weaverville Public Library on Thursday, June 26th at 10:30am and 12noon and then at Pack Library on Thursday, July 31st at 10:30am. Go and see his show. He's awesome.

For the rest of you, here's Hobey's tour schedule. It looks like he mostly plays around the southeast, with lots of shows in North Carolina and Louisiana.Â

Since Maia is so into puppet shows right now, I need to explore this a bit more. It's not an area that I have ever looked into (or really been interested in) in the past. But now we are definitely seeking out puppet shows. I may even try to make a simple home puppet theatre for Maia to play with. There's a cloth doorway theater in Amy Karol's book that looks easy to sew up. As for puppets, we have a few finger puppets, but that's all. Maia does a lot of pretend play with her dolls and animals now, so I imagine puppet play might just be an extension of that. I'll keep you posted…

Are your kids into puppets?

Photo credit: None of these photos are mine, by the way. Vasalisa (at the top) is from Pamela O'Connor Puppets website and the rest are from Hobey Ford's website.

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  1. mjm says

    yes, he started making different voices for them pretty young. sometimes he is scared of big puppets though. he likes the dinosaur/alligator one. rarrr!!

  2. molly says

    There is a puppet theater at Glen Echo Park (www.glenechopark.org) near Washington DC that is pretty great. A bit of a hike for you guys but if you are up this way it is definitely worth a trip.

  3. says

    We LOVE puppets at our house too. Folkmanis are my favorite. They are the most realistic looking and often come with information about the animals. The owl I have has eyes that open and close! Too fun.
    Working with toddlers I have come to rely on my puppet collection. I can say the same things but when my puppets give the message it is retained. It’s amazing. I would be lost without them.
    Have fun.
    In PEACE
    Jenniifer

  4. says

    We have a wonderful local puppet theater that my daughters love (http://www.goatonaboat.com). The use of puppets for young children can be very helpful in understanding what is on their minds. Children tend to act out scenarios that are a part of their everyday lives. We have a great time with them!

  5. says

    Thanks everyone! Our library has that book on puppet making, so I’ll check it out and see if I can make a few… And Jennifer, I’ll have to look into the Folkmanis puppets. They sound great. And I like the idea of using puppets to communicate with toddlers.

  6. Christina says

    Thanks for this post. I looked on the Hobey Ford website and found–surprise, surprise–that he’s coming this way in March 2009. I’ve marked it on my calendar and am so excited!

  7. says

    My 2 year old has always loved puppets, sometimes we have a day where I have to ‘wear’ tiger for most of the day, and I get talked to if I take him off. Those days tiger has to do everything with us. We have lots of finger puppets and some hand puppets.

  8. says

    We just saw Hobey Ford and he was amazing! The show we saw was shadow puppetry and we may be giving that try soon. He has a very detailed teachers guide with instructions and history on his website….I think we’ll try for a simplified version. Very impressive and you are right …it was mesmerizing for all ages.

  9. says

    We just saw his shadow puppet show recently, too. It wasn’t what I expected since I was thinking he’d do his animal show, but it was still good. It would be fun to try, wouldn’t it! -Jean