How To Put on a Show: Top Ten {Tuesday}

top ten list

Today I took my kids and my niece {<—tomorrow’s post. stay tuned!} to a puppet show at the library. Every summer our library has tons of cool stuff lined up: from knitting classes to movies to jugglers. And of course, I love me some puppets. So, instead of letting 3 kids run around my house like wild hyenas, we headed to the library.

When we walked in, I didn’t see a puppet stage. I saw a table. And some hula hoops. And a bag of playground balls. Still, I’m an obedient, supportive person so we sat right down and waited for the show to begin. I tried to hold off on judgement until the show got underway. I tried to be excited and a good participant when it was 20 minutes in. Alas, I tweeted this instead:

puppet show

So, here it is. My Top Ten {Tuesday} post scribbled on the back of a postcard I fished out of my purse…


1. Consider Your Appearance

I mean, I get it. You’re doing a puppet show with kids. You need to be comfy. But seriously? Holes in your shoes? Too big grungy t-shirt? And do you have to look like a ped*phile, too?

2. Puppetry Skills

Puppetry really is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. It’s not just something just anyone can do. Putting a puppet on your hand does not make you Elmo. And if you are doing a puppet show with a giant broccoli puppet at a library? Well, try using a stage. And maybe even a different voice from your own. I don’t expect you to be a ventriloquist, but man, it would be nice.

3. Be Heard!

I learned this while interning in the children’s ministry at a church: The loudest WINS. If you can be louder than 100 preschoolers and their parents in a room, then don’t worry about a mic. But for all you mere mortals–GET A MICROPHONE.

4. Consider Your Audience & Size

When planning your program, consider the size of your crowd and the age of your audience. For example, PLAYING PROTEIN SCATTERGORIES WITH 100 PRESCHOOLERS DIVIDED INTO FOUR TEAMS ALL OF WHOM CANNOT READ OR WRITE is not a great idea. And yes, it was “protein” scattergories because we were writing down as many different foods that had protein in them. Because preschoolers totally know what protein is.

5. Give Good Information

People come to the library to learn new things. To be informed. Educated. If you are doing an educational show about, I don’t know, the food groups and you play, oh, I don’t know, a game where you have to choose between REAL fruit and FAKE fruit, don’t make the two choices be a Little Debbie Strawberry Shortcake Roll and a Strawberry Nutrigrain Bar. (In case you were wondering, they said Nutrigrain Bars were REAL fruit.) It might be a good idea to show REAL FRUIT.

6. Prizes!

Kids love prizes. A good prize can be anything from a sticker to a t-shirt. But a playground ball for a prize? IN THE LIBRARY? Not very well thought out…

7. Time Limit

The rule of thumb is that kids have a minute of attention span for every year of age. So, a 5 year old can easily pay attention for 5 minutes. The average age of the kids watching the puppet show today was about 3. And in a 45 minute show, they did exactly 3 segments. That means FIFTEEN MINUTES of games like Protein Scattergories and FAKE FRUIT Challenge. The kids were literally reading library books instead of playing the games.

8. Advertise Correctly

I’ll admit, this puppet show was just a fill-in for the real puppet show that was supposed to be at the library today. But, they were a “troupe” that does educational puppet shows for a very large insurance company. And the large broccoli puppet was the only puppet in the show. Asa kept asking, “Where are the puppets? Are there going to be 2 puppets? Or 3 puppets? Are they sleeping?” So, if you’re gonna be a puppet show. Be a puppet show. If you’re going to do strange games, advertise that. {Don’t you know everyone would come to, BORING AND AGE-INAPPROPRIATE GAME SHOW FOR KIDS!}

9. {I’m gonna skip this one because wow, I’ve already been pretty critical…}

10. Hire me.

Seriously. Wouldn’t it have been more fun if Vicki had been at the show?

:: :: ::

Link up your Top Ten list and join in the Top Ten {Tuesday} fun! All you have to do is WRITE a top ten list, PASTE it  below, LINK back to me in your post & then start LOVIN’ on the rest of the participants with facebook likes, stumbles, comments and tweets (#toptentues) ! For better and more succinct guidelines see my Top Ten {Tuesday} page!


  1. First of all, seriously great writing. Secondly, I am so glad that I am not the only one who finds themselves in situations like this and starts getting a little jumpy. At least you were able to find the humor in it all.

  2. Make sure you give your library feedback on the event. I know our library works really hard to do things but they know that some things flop and really want to hear the input of the parents and kids. Great list!

  3. Sounds truly, truly painful. You’d think the children’s library staff would have known better. That protein scattergories really cracks me up. That puppet show would make an awesome TV sitcom.

  4. Ha! I love it! I am soooo glad I wasn’t there! LOL

  5. For goodness sake! I sometimes wonder how some people ever made it past grade school. Common sense? Not always common, as it turns out.

  6. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    It sounds like some of the puppets were sleeping. The game sounds like it was way to hard.

  7. What?! Nutrigrain bars aren’t REAL food?!!!! 🙂

    Be careful–realizing I could do something better than someone else is exactly how I became secretary of our homeowner’s association. 😉

    Cute list in the midst of a painful situation!

  8. We went to a preschooler’s puppet show last summer that was actually really scary. It had several kids clinging to their moms. Kinda sad.

  9. Glad I wasn’t there with you because I’m sure there would’ve been some laughter at some inappropriate times 🙂

  10. everything about that sounds ill-advised…

  11. So impressed with your skillz 🙂

  12. Your posts always crack me up! Not the greatest 45 minutes spent, i’m sure, but hey, at least you got a nice list out of the deal, lol!

  13. Hahaha, Love this post. So typical of something I would end up writing. Some people really just put ZERO effort into things. Because even if it’s for kids, that is not an excuse to just be LAME!
    You totally would have rocked that puppet show! 😉

  14. ok, so being a children’s pastor myself, I totally understand! we have for sure been in situations like that. so hard but kind of comical too. 🙂

  15. Hi Amanda!
    I wish I’d known these tips!
    Especially the prizes (bribe) one years ago…
    I won’t be able to sleep tonight, wondering what #9 should have been!!
    Thank you for the party!
    Always fun and edumakashunal.

  16. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! Protein scattegories!!! This makes the one I walked out of seem like disney world!

  17. I’m really loving this and a lot of the entries too. This is one of the best top ten tues yet (for me, I haven’t been following for that long). As always, thanks for hosting. And are you serious about the age and attention span thing? Scary!

  18. I apprieciate that you offered your expertise. My parents are youth leader and although they always teach great lessons, sometimes the parents complain. All I can think then is : well then why aren’t you a youth leader :P?

  19. I totally felt like I was right there with you for the “puppet” show. Thanks for sharing your pain. I’m literally feeling sick about them saying a Nutrigrain bar was the “real fruit.” Goodness gracious….

  20. I’m kind of sad there weren’t pictures. I know you have way more class than that, but I secretly wish you didn’t because that sounds hilarious in its badness.

  21. The visual in my head is of 3-year-olds with “Anna Karenina” in hand, rolling their eyes at the aforementioned puppeteer. Sorry you had to endure this, but boy, you gave me such a great laugh. Something tells me that if you lived in my neighborhood, I’d be inviting you over for coffee often. Love that sense of humor.

  22. I was completely cracking up while I pictured you in the library with your postcard. Looks like you’re going to have a new Tues morning gig…

    On a completely other note, I’m going to need to know what kind of goop or paste you use in your hair since I just got mine cut today and the stuff she put in mine feels like elmer’s glue…

    • LOL! I use (*whisper*) THREE different kinds: Rusk Wired when it’s wet. Then I dry it and style it w/Artec Texture Line Material. Then I spray it with Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play (I know. The name is odd.). Have fun!

  23. Hahaha I love this post! Thank goodness I’m not with because I’m sure there would’ve been some laughter and it will end up hilarious! hahaha

  24. Always glad to read amazing articles.. Will be back for more for sure! Thank you for sharing

    • Nice job! Great effects and funny red shirt intren jokes There seemed to be a color correction issue with the furry suit (it seemed yellower around 1:35 than at the beginning.) Also, I probably would have lowered the volume of Erna and the monster running in the background. The first time I watched, I hardly caught what Weena was saying.

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