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Puppeteers and Puppets

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

We are exposed to puppets as children in schools, library programs, museums, toys, dolls, movies, and television. We have all been exposed to puppets from early childhood and continue to be entertained by them as adults.

Early television viewing presented children to:

  1. The Punch and Judy Show by Rod Burnett
  2. Kukla, Fran, and Ollie
  3. Shari Lewis with Lamb Chop
  4. Howdy Doody created by Buffalo Bob Smith

What is a puppet? It is an object made from wood, paper, cloth, saw dust, straw, cotton, and other materials which can be shaped to represent a person, an animal, or an object.

The puppeteer brings it to life using his fingers, hands, strings, or rods. A puppet is often times referred to as a doll especially when movements are operated by mechanical or electronic gadgets.

Full Body or Full-Costume Puppet:

Sesame Street characters introduced the full body puppet. One of the most popular characters is Big Bird.

A full body puppet is operated by a human being who is covered completely by a character costume. After the actor is in full costume the character may range in height from six feet or taller. These puppets are always bigger and taller than human beings.

The costume is operated by the actor with his own body which allows more movement freedoms for the character. The actor may also work hand and rod devices and wear a wireless microphone for his voice. This same actor or another operator away from the character may work some controls with a remote device.

Puppeteers:

Do you enjoy performing? Do you have a desire to be an actor? Puppetry is theater and is an art form present in every media outlet.

Most puppeteers are shy. They prefer to be hidden behind the scenes operating with confidence telling a story, while the puppets are exposed and receive attention from the public. Puppeteers have excellent eye and hand coordination abilities as well as timing.

This craft may be learned with on-the-job-training as an apprentice, online courses, local workshops, and more formal training at universities.

What do you need to learn?

  1. Acting
  2. Arts and crafts skills for making props, and other support items
  3. Writing skills for scripts, story telling, advertising, and marketing
  4. Business knowledge
  5. Flexibility to work in television, movies, festivals and events, theater, parties
  6. Mastering the art of ventriloquism and handling different types of puppets
  7. Hours of practice to maintain eye and hand coordination and timing
  8. Puppet construction, operation, storage, and repair maintenance

The craft of puppetry can satisfy creativity and imagination for designing, constructing, and managing man-made replicas of people, animals, or objects to perform amusing feats for entertainment.

Basics of Pool Safety

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

We have all heard that a responsible adult should be no more than an arm’s length away from small children when in a pool. Makes sense, right? The adult can grab them should they go under and are with them to monitor their every move. This is a great thing to practice, but there are of course many other things that will help keep kids safe around your pool.

We start with a cover. If you have a cover it should go over the whole pool and have no access to the water once it is deployed. Watch for pooling water on top of the cover though, and get rid of it fast, as this is a drowning hazard all its own. Removable, movable solar covers are not considered covers for a pool and can have disastrous circumstances should a small child fall on top of one that is on the pool.

Pool toys are colourful and fun, but once everyone is out of the pool, all pool toys should come out as well. This stops kids from looking for a toy and finding it in the pool, trying to reach it and possibly falling in. If the toys are on the grass there is no worry. Another thing to remember is to not put any riding toys anywhere near the pool, kids can get on, and fall into the pool on the riding toy. These toys belong no where near the pool area.

Speaking of pool areas, perhaps the biggest safety feature is a fence. It should be climb resistant and at least 4′ tall. It should also encompass the entire pool area and have a self latching, self closing gate, again, one which cannot be climbed. Pool fences made of metal links are super easy to climb so you want one with lateral stats with no more than 4″ between each one. The harder to climb the better as we want to keep children out of the whole area when the pool isn’t being used.

Supervision is key to pool safety, if you know where your children are you will know they’re not in the pool area. Having rules from day one about not diving into a shallow pool and not running on the pool deck, and not putting anything electronic anywhere near the pool will further teach your kids about keeping safe around the water. Keep safe and have fun!