From Home: Activities, Virtual Tours, and Resources that Entertain and Educate

With so much online content to choose from, it’s hard to keep track of it all, so we’ve selected some of our favorite family-friendly resources to help you make the most of your time at home. 

Scroll down for Virtual tours, lesson plans, interactive videos and more sorted by category. 

Read more From Home: Activities, Virtual Tours, and Resources that Entertain and Educate

DIY: Make a Glove Hand Puppet

Make a custom glove puppet with just a few simple materials. Follow along to our DIY video with the written instructions below.

 

SUPPLIES:

Re-use Plastic Eggs to Make Hand Puppets

 

Don’t fill the landfill, get creative! Re-use plastic eggs to make unique hand puppet characters. Let your imagination run wild with just a few simple steps. You can:

  • Make a family of characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, The Wolf and Granny to perform your own fractured fairy tale
  • Make an original character and write a story of your own. Give your character a name, a fun voice, and decide what makes your character happy, sad, scared, confused and angry. Develop stories from these characteristics: Example: My character’s name is Eggly. She loves to chase spiders. She is sad when she can’t find spiders. She is confused when spiders run away from her. She is angry when people mistreat spiders.

Follow along to our “DIY Puppets from Plastic Eggs” Video with these written instructions below:

Supplies:

  • 1 plastic egg that divides horizontally
  • Felt (slightly bigger than the egg)
  • Scissors
  • Drill or Xacto knife
  • Marker (for tracing onto felt)
  • Glue (craft glue, fabric glue or hot glue)
  • Water in a small dish (if using hot glue)
  • 1 pipe cleaner
  • Decorative materials (google eyes, fur, craft foam, pom poms, yarn, permanent markers)

 

Instructions:

  1. Separate plastic egg into 2 pieces 
  2. If your egg pieces don’t already have holes on the rounded edge, drill or use an Xacto knife to create 2 holes approx ¼ inch apart on the rounded edge of each piece. 
  3. Cut your pipe cleaner in half with scissors or wire cutters 
  4. Create a handle for you middle finger on the longer egg piece by threading the pipe cleaner through the holes, sliding it over your middle finger. Then twist the pipe cleaner inside of the piece top secure the handle, then flatten the remaining pipe cleaner ends.
  5. Repeat using the shorter egg piece and thumb.
  6. Place the eggs next to each other on the felt, flat side down. They should be touching. 
  7. Trace around the edges of both eggs with a marker onto the felt. The image should look like an “8” without the center line when completed.
  8. Cut out the felt tracing
  9. Glue the rounded part of the felt onto the inside of one of the egg pieces, hiding the pipe cleaner. Repeat with the other egg piece. This will connect the two pieces and create a hinge for the mouth to move.
  10. Decorate! Create hair with yarn or fur, add eyes and teeth. You can even draw on the eggs with a permanent marker.
  11. Perform! Put your middle finger on top and your thumb on the bottom and put on a show!

Burn Survivor Puppet Helps Heal

MicheLee Puppets began in 1985 when Tracey Conner moved to Orlando and realized that the “Kids on the Block” puppet show that she had been performing in Ohio, was needed in Central Florida.  

“Kids on the Block,” a disability awareness show, featured full-body, moveable mouth puppets. Puppeteers stood behind the characters, performing scenes and answering questions from the audience. Subjects ranged from physical disabilities, to emotional issues such as dealing with divorce.

 
 
 

 

The puppet characters had all sorts of unique qualities about them. Lynne, for instance had been burned. She wore compression sleeves and a mask to assist in the healing of her facial scars.

One day, MicheLee Puppets was contacted by a local school. Jacqueè was just starting 3rd grade at their school. She had recently been burned in a fire and they wondered if we had a show that could help introduce this concept to the other students. Tracey grabbed Lynne and off they went.

“We arrived at the school and performed the show,” remembers Tracey. “Lynne the puppet explained that she was the same on the inside, but on the outside she might look a little bit differently.  She showed the students her sleeves and her mask and told them about the skin graft surgeries that she had to have, which left scars on her body.”

The students sat quietly, mesmerized by Lynne and her story. At the end of the show the students had lots of questions.

“We placed a chair next to the stage and Jacqueè came up to sit with Lynne,” Tracey explained. “The children were very curious. Lynne answered many of their questions and then it was Jacqueè’s turn. A boy raised his hand and asked how she had been burned. Quietly, she told them that she had been playing by a campfire with her cousins when one of the boys threw a stick at her and it caught her clothes on fire. ‘I rolled on the ground, but I couldn’t put the fire out’ Jacquee said. As she spoke, a little tear rolled down her cheek…it makes me emotional just to think about it.”

The kids had more questions. Was she angry at her cousin? No, she knew it was an accident.

Finally, when all of their questions had been satisfied, the children all got up and surrounded Jacqueè with a giant group hug.

“As we were leaving, the principal stopped us,” recalls Tracey. “We learned that this was Jacqueè’s 2nd day of school. On the first 1st day no one would talk to her. Now it seemed that she was the most popular child in the school.”

MicheLee Puppets uses puppetry to bridge the gap between a child’s natural curiosity and their ability to grasp complex concepts. Our characters break down barriers, empowering children to be themselves and to have empathy for others.  We now use a variety of puppetry styles to convey important messages, but have kept our “Kids on the Block” characters for when they are needed. In fact, our newest show “Una Borinqueña en Florida” brings several of our characters out of retirement. Performed entirely in Spanish, this show helps youth heal from the trauma of relocating to Central Florida due to emergency situations.  Now a whole new generation of children are being empowered to talk about their feelings and heal together. Click Here to learn more about this new show and how to help youth in need.

 

 

More about “Kids on the Block” from its founding company:

Do you have students who could benefit from a MicheLee Puppets program? Check out our Touring Shows , Classes  and Videos! Contact denise@micheleepuppets.org for more information.

UPDATE: Make A Wish: Young Puppeteer’s Dream Comes True

In 2015 we had the honor of hosting Matty Smith and his family when the Make a Wish Foundation sent them to Orlando to fulfill Matty’s wish to be a puppeteer. Click Here to read about that joyful experience! 

We are delighted to have continued our relationship with Matty and his mom Taryn who sent a special message:

Since our first meeting we fell in love with Matty’s spirit and wanted to continue his connection to puppetry. Shortly after his visit, Producing Director, Jamie Donmoyer invited Matty and Taryn to his first National Puppetry Festival. Puppeteers from across the nation come together to watch shows, take classes, and explore the art of puppetry.  Matty got to meet Sesame Street puppeteers Carroll Spinney (Oscar/Big Bird) and Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (Abby Cadabby) as well as a number of puppeteers from some of his favorite shows. At this festival, Matty also discovered the Puppetry Store, a place where puppeteers can purchase supplies, books, and other merchandise including puppets! How his face lit up when he found characters to take home and make his own!

Through texts, emails and visits we have stayed connected to Matty and Taryn. Matty has certainly faced some challenges, but he keeps his puppets with him, entertaining not only himself, but family and hospital staff as well. He now has a collection of characters that travel with him, and he brings each to life with its own distinct personality.

 

Matty even inspired puppet character ‘Marcus’ from our touring show “Mission STEAMpossible”. Like Matty, Marcus has a love for arts, an adventurous spirit, and uses a wheelchair due to the effects of Osteogenesis Imperfecta.  We love to introduce this endearing character to youth across Central Florida, many of whom see themselves in Marcus.

In 2019 we are excited to continue important programs including classes where people with unique abilities can learn to express themselves through the art of puppetry and movement. These classes will be held at our studio and are open to the public. To register, contact jamie@micheleepuppets.org  

It is through the generosity of donors like you that allow us to continue empowering lives through the art of puppetry. Click Here to make your tax deductible donation and positively impact the lives of youth.