Since 1985 MicheLee Puppets has been connecting puppets to the heart of children. We know how much a one-on-one interaction with a puppet can help children express themselves. In this time of social distancing, we are excited to offer Live Puppet Chats. These virtual sessions allow your child/children to interact in real time with a puppet character. Sing, dance, read a story, or just simply chat. Each session is child-guided and completely unique! There is no charge for this as we continue our mission digitally empowering lives through the art of puppetry.
“They loved it, I can’t get them to talk that much on FaceTime with family!! It was awesome.” – Jenna in Winchester, VA (mother of 4, ages 5-11)
Re-purpose your used gift boxes to make your own show with just scissors and tape! Use construction paper, magazines, old cards, and mailers to add scenery and puppets, then put on a show! When you’re done, everything fits inside your box stage for easy storage.
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:
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.
Cut your pipe cleaner in half with scissors or wire cutters
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.
Repeat using the shorter egg piece and thumb.
Place the eggs next to each other on the felt, flat side down. They should be touching.
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.
Cut out the felt tracing
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.
Decorate! Create hair with yarn or fur, add eyes and teeth. You can even draw on the eggs with a permanent marker.
Perform! Put your middle finger on top and your thumb on the bottom and put on a show!
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: