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Are puppets trance inducing for children?

Are puppets trance inducing for children?

December 20, 2013 3:41 pm4 comments
Zibble puppet as Sho'Nuff One of my own creations, Zibble, in a parody of Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon

Alyssa LOVES puppets. Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and even my own puppets that I have built over the years. She loves them all. Her favorite toys are all Sesame Street or Muppet related and when I bring one of my puppets into the room she loves interacting with them in real time.

Are puppets and Sesame Street trance inducing for kids?

I can only speak from personal experience and I think the answer is a resounding yes. Open up my iPhoto and start thumbing through some of my old pics from Rotten Puppets and she begins to stare at the screen in either amazement or uncontrollable giggling.

It’s amazing the sheer power this holds over her at such a young age. Screaming and yelling? Whatever man. Grab that iPad or Nook and throw on a video for a quick minute from the Sesame Streets website and she calms down in a matter of seconds. As much as she loves the Bubble Guppies they or any other cartoon show for that matter hold the same grip as puppets do.

So this post really is more of a question to you the reader.

Do your children have an unholy union with puppets / muppets that you do not find they have with other forms of visual entertainment?

  • Lorne

    I’ve actually been thinking about this myself because we pretty much limit Sienna (21 months) to Sesame Street/Muppet Show clips (especially classic ones, though some of the new Sesame Street songs are pretty clever). The more I watch them with Sienna, the more amazed at how each character feels so organic, lifelike and distinct. I think that’s the power behind them. They feel real to kids, much more so than any 2-dimensional cartoon can be. Hell, they feel real to adults too (me included). They don’t move in unison. They each have their own personalities, expressions, movements. I mean, watching Beaker’s hands and facial expressions…just fascinating. The only one I can’t stand is Elmo because he took over Sesame Street and pushed so many of the best characters to the far edges. That’s one of the reasons we limit Sienna to classic clips. Sure we give her some Elmo, but we want her to come to know and love everyone else. Cookie Monster’s still her fav. Anyway, back to the point…I really think it’s the 3-dimensional aspect, the unique qualities of each character, their ability to move their arms and hands and change facial expressions, their interactions with live people, and the clear love/genius of Jim Henson and of course, Frank Oz and so many other puppeteers that create that trance-like wonder in young children.

    • Steve Online

      Great stuff Lorne.. Appreciate your input.

      I’m letting her enjoy pretty much the entire range of Sesame Street / Muppets (I have season 1 starting from there) and Elmo’s World since it has the most targeted educational videos like ABC’s, 123′s, etc.. You can never expose them to this stuff too early IMO.

      I’m certainly no Jim Henson or Frank Oz, they’re legends of the industry. The pioneers for our modern era taking it in a new direction. But I’ve always wanted to do a kids show instead of the dirty videos I was doing because they were “easy”. I’ve tossed some names around in the past and I think I still own some of the domains. Some old characters will get repurposed or rebuilt, and new ones will be added and designed/built. Luckily I have my sloppy drawings for a few of them done already.

      Right now Alyssa loves Elmo and Bert/Ernie but it could be due to their high exposure. Grover and his disco dance routine is not far behind. After than I’d guess Abby and Big Bird although Count von Count dominates some of the dance numbers!!

      • Lorne

        I salute you for subjecting yourself to Elmo’s World, my friend. I know it’s educational, but man, I just can’t stand the character. I need to stick with other educational bits featuring old-time favs (The Count will always be my own and Sienna thankfully gives a hearty, “Ah Ah Ah!” after counting a bit). I think I need to add Grover’s disco dance. Which Count clips do you have? She loves Bones, Bones, Bones and the video with Train and Elmo. Not found of the Batty-Bat. That’s really cool that you you’re doing your own shows! Any vid links for me to see?

        • Steve Online

          It’s one of those things where they have made so much content surrounding him, all the guest stars are on the Elmo videos, etc.. Bert & Ernie have some adventure DVDs that are good, one is a claymation of them which is different.

          I love Count von Count he is one of my all-time favorites hell from my own childhood! Batty-Bat causes chaos here.. She grabs her blanket and runs around in circles so of course I must join her!

          I have 0 kid-friendly videos. It’s all more gross humor with terrible voice acting. or youtube / rottenpuppets you can find all the old stuff.. i’ve been on hiatus for 2 years from that now.

          Here’s a link to the Grover clip: