Putting on your puppet show
Combine puppets, a stage, a script and a troupe of little actors and you're ready to entertain. Puppet shows in your own puppet theater or puppet stage are great ways way to let your children act out imaginative stories that have no bounds. And there are script ideas and possibilities all around you every day.
These puppet sets come with scripts so you can start the performance right away.
Creating your own puppet show scripts!
The easiest way to put on a puppet show is to use a pre-recorded script, such as an old radio show, comedy routine from TV or a movie. Saturday Night Live and Monty Python are full of great ones. Some classic old comedy routines, such as the 3 Stooges, Marx Brothers and Abbot and Costello, for example, are still funny to children and wonderful to see children act out with puppets. The children down even have to read lines, but just pantomime along with the dialog.
And there are intact, ready-to-perform scripts out there. The Internet is full of comedy routines already in script form, if you just do a little looking. Here are some classics that we found. And most can be done with any puppets you have on hand - people, animals, whatever!
And don't forget duets and multiple-part songs and comedy songs. Think of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, 12 days of Christmas and other holiday songs and so on. The Muppet Show used to do wonderful things with these.
And of course, you can always write your own scripts.
Maybe there's a real experience you or the children had fun with that you want to relive. Or there could be a lesson you want to share - about sharing,
or getting along, or shaking the bored
om of a rainy day.
These can be turned into scripts as simple or as complex as you want, with as many characters as you feel like casting. You can even do quick wardrobe changes of your own on your own puppets.
And don't forget the world of literature that can adapt easily to simple puppet shows. Depending on their ages, you can do it for them or coach them in how to simplify and convert their favorite fable, fairy tale, nursery rhyme, children's book, and even scenes from movies or TV shows to puppet show scripts. Here are a few pages of stories you can adapt to scripts.
Write out the dialogue and indicate which child does which part. Or let them read right from the books, and use Post-Its to show who speaks where.
Puppets can sing, dance, fly through space and make an audience laugh or cry.
With your child as the puppet master, you'll be amazed at what can happen!
Check out our selection of different sets of people and animal puppets that provide a wonderful cast of characters for a wide range of story possibilities.
An easily accessible place to stage a production is a wonderful child development opportunity.
GENERAL STAGE DIRECTIONS FOR PUPPET SHOW
Here are some suggestions to make your puppet productions more enjoyable for your audiences.
VOICES: Let the children make up a character voice they think suits the puppet. It could be a specific character from movies or TV that suits the part, such as the Cowardly Lion from the "Wizard of Oz," Mickey Mouse's high falsetto, and so on.
TALKING: With moving-mouth puppets, the natural tendency is to SHUT the mouth with each syllable. But people do the opposite, and so should puppets. It may take practice, but try to get the children to OPEN the puppet's mouth with each syllable.
And don't overdo it with big flapping mouth movements, unless the puppet character is yelling. Subtle movements that open the mouth just slightly on each sylable are more realistic and more convincing.
WALKING: To simulate walking and running, don't let the children merely slide the puppets across the stage, but do small "step-size" bounces to represent each step.
BODY LANGUAGE: Show your children how to use pauses and body moves as part of their acting. Sometimes a hesitation plays as good as a spoken line. For example, when lion puts his paw on the mouse to stop him, the mouse could freeze, pause, say his "oops" line, slowly turn and do a quick startled shake.
Help the children develop their own "body language" moves. Paul Winchell, the great puppeteer and ventriloquist, was a master of the slow turn. Think of all the other ventriloquists and puppeteers you've seen. Animated cartoons use the same techniques.
GENDER NOTE: In adapting these scripts, we've referred to the animal characters in the neuter "it," because we don't know if you're going to have boys or girls playing the part. (Aesop seemed to assume all animals were male.) You may substitute "him" and "her" as you wish.
READY-TO-PERFORM SKITS ON THE INTERNET IN SCRIPT FORM
Parents - While these are not adult-rated shows, you might want to edit a little of the "harshness" for small children.
Many of the Marx Brothers' routines, from their vaudeville days through the movies. Look through the links on the left.
These Rugrats scripts work really well with animal puppets doing the different parts.
Saturday Night Live had lots of skits that could be adapted with a little imagination. This link has a set of transcripts by season.
Classic radio programs were usually small casts with simple skits and humor that adapts easily to puppet shows.
Here's a list of hundreds of TV program scripts that can be adapted for casts ol all sizes.
OTHER STORIES YOU CAN ADAPT TO SCRIPTS.