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By Step2 on January 23rd, 2012 | Posted in Hints and Tips
Puppets have been entertaining adults and children alike for centuries. While we’re probably most familiar with popular culture figures like Howdy Doody and Kermit the Frog, puppets have been telling stories to all ages for years. Puppet theater of 1500s and 1600s Europe are probably the most historically famous, including the well-known Marionette puppet theater. While the history of puppets reaches back centuries, the use of puppets for entertainment is still very current.
A puppet is a representation of an animal, person or other entity that is manipulated either by hand, string or by stick. There are over thirty types of puppets, the most famous including:
Ancient History to Modern Popular Culture
Puppet theater traces its history back to the very early origins of civilized man. While puppetry has been used for everything from rituals and ceremonies to creative expression, puppets are often thought of currently as providers of children’s entertainment.
Puppets base their origination in ancient India, where they told beloved stories to the people. They found their way to Asia with the Bunraku puppets of Japan. From there, they made their way to Europe, developing into the well-known puppets on a string – the marionettes. The history of puppetry continued right up to today, where it is still both an esteemed art form and form of children’s entertainment.
And while we love to look back at favorites like the puppets featured in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, or on Jim Henson’s Muppet Show, children are keeping the art of puppetry alive and well in their own homes.
Requiring little more than puppets, a puppet theater and a little imagination, children are keeping the spirit of puppetry alive. Don’t have any puppets on hand? Make some! Allow your child’s creativity and imagination to soar by creating puppets out of paper, fabric and other supplies. The only limitation is their own creativity.
By Step2 on November 17th, 2011 | Posted in Hints and Tips
You know that look: Glazed eyes, droopy posture. The whine comes next. “Mom, I’m bored.” Or worse, silence – meaning something gets tied to the dog’s tail, again.
Engaging art projects can help foster and guide your child’s natural sense of wonder and creativity, and using recycled, free and cheap materials for kids art desks makes it affordable. Set up art tables kids can use freely; a scold-free zone in case water cups tip or ink blotches appear in all the wrong places. Old flat-panel doors set securely on concrete blocks make great low, expansive kids’ activity art desks that your small Picassos can kneel at, propped up on a cushion, while letting their imaginations run riot.
Make an impromptu easel on the activity table using an old cutting board angled up with a sturdy brick or two, and use tacks to secure brown packing paper that enjoys a second life as canvas for a masterpiece. Sponges, potato halves, leaves cleaned of oils with vinegar and corrugated cardboard all provide great textural stamps that your children can dip in ink and then press onto paper. Spent toothbrushes make effective ink airbrushes for a pointillist effect, and using them is half the fun. Sculptors or future designers crave three-dimensional projects; old plastic milk jugs transform into animal bodies, and old cardboard boxes, perhaps the stage of a soon-to-be-written play.
By Step2 on November 4th, 2011 | Posted in Contest
We want to know how your kids use their imaginations! Now through November 20, 2011 we invite you to enter the Step2 Big Imaginations Are Cooking Contest by submitting an essay of 150 words or less that tells a story about your kids playing in an imaginative, unstructured way.
On November 23, ten finalists will be chosen to receive a new Step2 play kitchen and a video camera to create a video of their kid’s imagination running wild with their new kitchen. We’ll then post the videos on our Facebook page. It’ll be up to our Facebook fans to vote for their favorite video between December 12 and January 8 to determine the winner, who will receive the $5,000 grand prize.
To demonstrate and inspire contestants, we partnered with mommy bloggers Anne McGowan of Deal Wise Mommy, Dee Owens of Two Of A Kind, Working On A Full House, Crystal Rapinchuk of Surviving a Teacher’s Salary, and Xenia Sundell of Thanks, Mail Carrier to showcase their belief in the importance of imaginative and creative play for their own children. Check out their favorite Step2 play kitchens at www.bigimaginationscontest.com.
To prepare for preschool (can you believe it’s already that time!?), take an additional 15% off all art desks and easels now though Sunday, August 21 when you enter S2CP11 at checkout. No art desk or easel is excluded! That means you can take 15% off our two new art desks for fall – the Build & Store Block & Activity Table and the Art Desk Easel.