We went on one of the best field trips of the year today. It was an all-school trip to Detroit’s PuppetART. Our work included of touring the fascinating museum, showing puppets from all over the world. We got several mini history and social studies lessons! Igor, our host, also taught us that there are many, many different designs of puppets, but they can be thought of in terms of 4 basic types: rod puppet (operated from below), string puppet (operated from above), shadow puppet and hand puppets (which actually include masks, costumes, etc.) We also learned that if you make something to play with, say, out of a sock or a stick – it doesn’t become a puppet until you use it to tell a story to someone else. A doll can be played with as a doll, but if you use that same doll to talk to your audience, then that doll becomes a puppet.
Then we saw an amazing performance of The Fire Bird. My kids were so excited to hear this, as this was their favorite Wild Swan play earlier this year. Many children told me later that it was very different in many ways, but both versions were wonderful.
Igor then took us to the studio where we made the lovely rod puppets your child came home with. He also taught the children how to manipulate the puppets to tell a story.