Puppet Shows: Part 1



The first thing you need to know about writing a puppet show for pre-K kids is you’re gonna need more animals.

That’s right: more animals.

Two animals are not enough. Three animals are not enough.

Minimum number of animals: five.

“But wait!” you say, “this is a puppet show! Isn’t one fuzzy puppet with a big mouth enough? Kids, right?”

Nope. And here’s why: dialogue. Your creatures must converse with one another to bring the story to life.

I learned this truth from Stephanie, one of the naturalists at the metro park where I volunteer. I’d agreed to write the script for the upcoming free puppet show, in which I would also perform.

I wrote an OK script based on a picture book, The Legend of Beaver’s Tail. My first draft was five pages. But it turns out that a five-page script for a puppet show is not long enough.

Picture books are great: not knocking them. After all, we got the plot and the moral, Aesop-fable style, from the book. But for the purposes of puppet shows for kids under the age of five at my park, we needed at least nine pages. And unless you have unlimited budget for special effects to make the thing last longer, then what you have is the story, conveyed in words and actions for your audience, along with a few simple props.
So Stephanie had to work on my script. She added two more animals: a toad and an opossum.

And it was great! The show was long enough and varied enough. We had three performances that day and some audiences were wigglier than others, but that’s OK.

And due to puppet availability, there had to be some changes to the cast: a bear instead of a deer, and the blue jay from the book was replaced with a crow.

Next time, I’ll save the naturalist some work. Five animals: minimum.


For nonprofits

So little time, so much to do!

Whether you’re established or are just getting started, whether your membership is local or far-flung, you need to stay connected to your donors and members. How do those folks learn about your latest successes and goals? And do they know that they make the difference?




If your members, donors, and supporters vanish in the mist… if you worry about maintaining your organization’s mission … if another quarter goes by without your newsletter or magazine or blog … then this message is just for you.

Keeping your people engaged with up-to-date news and information is critical. Because there’s a cost to not dealing with this.

I get it: it’s hard to stay on top of everything because not-for-profit employees wear many hats. If your communications have fallen by the wayside and you want to ramp up again, you might do the following:

  • Assign the communications task to an already over-worked staffer.
  • Hand the publication over to an intern. Who leaves.
  • Task a board member with the job, which is a distraction from the job of being a board member.

And, last but not least:

  • Do nothing.

But what if:

  • You had your publication ready to go for the next board meeting?
  • You had weekly blog posts?
  • You had something current for your donors and an informative “back list”?
  • You met your communications goals and kept everyone in the loop?

I can help.

I’ve spent my career in government, higher education, social justice, and the arts. I’ve managed publications and written blog posts, helped with tag lines, interviewed the people who benefit the most from an organization’s work, and kept the process moving forward.

Contact me if you want a writer who can help you deliver on your promise.