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Posts tagged ‘Easter’

How I became a Flairy : Or childhood dreams fulfilled.

Today was a good day.

Weather wise it couldn’t have been nicer. The sun was out and the temperature was unseasonably warm for the time of year. I woke up fresh and early , put on my work clothes , ribbons and all, packed my suitcase full of my handmade puppets and set off for a morning gig at a lovely Nursery , Puddleducks in Putney , South West London.

Kids entertainer and puppeteer Diane of Diane's Puppets

My work hairdo, jolly huh?

I trundled off down the road heading for the train station, dragging my pink suitcase full of my puppets behind me. The sun beat down and the birds sang. ‘Life is good’ , I thought.

I managed to catch the train without having to wait , a minor miracle in itself, and I settled down for an uneventful journey.

I hadn’t bargained on the very charming very old man who sat down next to me. Granted he was a little grubby, and worse for wear, it looked like he struggled to maintain a certain standard of dress but he was very old , so who was I to judge? I was certainly dressed in a rather unusual fashion with my ribbons and my gold sequined top and purple skirt festooned with butterflies, dragons and flowers. Most commuters gave me a wide berth on public transport usually, to be frank. Difference is often viewed with scepticism  in London ( there are so many nutters unusual characters about, it is just a part of London life and London caution and reserve).

This lovely man embarked on a question and answer session that would have made Michael Parkinson proud. He interviewed me thoroughly, grilling me ( in the nicest possible way) about my job as a children’s entertainer and puppeteer. Most people dismiss my job quickly as I don’t fit the usual model of adult in the workplace. It was highly unusual that this old gentleman kept saying how serious my job was and how difficult it must be to work with such young children. It was wonderful to have such validation from such a sage man, here was someone who naturally understood my #Respectthesilly campaign. As the train pulled into the station, we both got up to leave and this gentleman started to thank me for speaking to him, over and over again.

Maybe because of the way he was turned out, most people shunned him and wouldn’t talk to him? Maybe he was very lonely? To me he seemed like a wonderful old soul who was there to reassure me that I was on the right path in my life’s journey. Call me silly if you want.

So, after this most unusual start, I got to the nursery and began my first session with the under two’s. It was too sweet to see those little ones playing Sleeping Bunnies with my bunny puppet

s,ee

See the little bunnies sleeping

Diane and her puppets

Me and Bobby Bunny and Tabitha cat

I even had these tiniest of clients telling me the animals names in Old Macdonald’s Farm. They were clever little children. Clearly the Nursery is doing a very good job.

Of course there were cuddles all around from my ‘Easter’ bunny Bobby and my baby monkey Twinkle.

After that sweet session with the under 2’s I moved across the playground to the older children. As I crossed the playground, one of the mummies was dropping off her little boy. She stopped in her tracks when she saw me. ” I know you” she said. “I’ve seen you at a party before”. I  agreed that that possibility was most likely , after all I have been puppeting for over 18 years now. That same mummy turned to the Head of Nursery and said, “That’s Diane, she’s famous!”

I smiled. One aim ticked off my bucket list: to be famous for a talent.

I’m probably famous amongst the Under 5’s in London, well sort of.

What other sort of fame could I possibly want?

Well, we had a ball! Hopping with Bobby the Easter Bunny, laughing and quacking with Mummy Duck and her babies.

And all of her five little ducks came back!

It was when I was preparing the children to meet my puppet Fairy Fifi

Fairy puppet Fifi

Fifi eating her wand

and showing the children the fairy toadstools on my skirt

Magical toadstools where fairies live.

when the children came alive with their own stories of fairy sightings. One young boy’s voice rang out above the other excited enthusiastic contributers and he said: ” I saw a flairy ( sic) in my garden today and she looked like you!”

So that was my childhood dream and ambition fulfilled right there in that moment. I had always wanted to grow up to be a fairy but at a hardly delicate UK size 16 , I had all but given up on that ambition. This young lad had just confirmed that I had reached my goal.

So there you have it ladies and gentleman. I am now officially a f(l)airy, a rather substantial,a little older and a feminist fairy , but a fairy nevertheless.

An old man and a young boy made my dreams come true today.

This feminist fairy is very happy and grateful.

 

 

 

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Make your own Easter Bunny Puppet

A photo tutorial

Easter bunny puppet

Make this cute Easter Bunny puppet with her pocket for eggs.

You will need:

Bunny puppet pattern

A bunny template , feel free to copy this.

Materials to make puppet

Safety eyes, scraps of white and pink felt, scrap of material for pocket and two pieces of white fabric or felt for body

White knitting yarn, some pillow stuffing.

Scissors, glue and something to sew with, in my case a sewing machine. You can of course hand sew if you wish.

Step 1: Trace out the pattern and use it to lay on top of your two pieces of white fabric.

Pin it down.

Step 2:

Cut around the pattern.

Step 3:

Cut out these shapes from the felt. Set aside.

Step 4:

Mark the position of the eyes on one piece.

Step 5:

Push the eyes through a white felt circle

Step 6:

Step 7:

Do the same on the other side so you have two eyes fixed on the front of the puppet.

 

Eyes snapped in position.

Step 7:

Now finish the face using the felt shapes cut out earlier.Glue down.

 

Step 8:

Now sew the pink shapes onto the ears.

Ears and face all done.

Step 9:

Seam all around the pocket piece edges to neaten.

Pin and sew the pocket in position.

Step 10:

Now pin right sides together and sew around the edges leaving the bottom free

Sewing the puppet together

Step 11:

Clip the curves to ease movement.

Turn inside out.

Step 12:

Draw an oval the size of the head on two scrap pieces, sew around leaving an opening for stuffing.

Now stuff with pillow stuffing and sew up the hole.

Step 13:

Stuff the ears lightly with pillow stuffing and push up the head pillow into the head space.

Step 14: Almost done! Making the pompom for the tail.

Wind some white yarn around two fingers

Tie tightly in the middle

Trim pompom to shape and sew to bunny's bottom.

The finished tail.

You are now all done! Enjoy your Easter Bunny Puppet!

A perfect gift for someone special. Remember to fill that pocket with Chocolate Eggs!

 

 

Easter Bunny Games

In my time as a  London Children’s puppet party entertainer I’ve played many a game. The sort of games I prefer, that fit with my non-competitive party ethos ( surely everyone wants to have fun at a party?It’s no fun to be a loser….)are usually singing and circle games. Many can be adapted to fit a theme.

Here are a few Bunny games:

Sleeping Bunnies

( All children lie on the floor. Make sure everyone has plenty of space around them and remind the children to think of their friends around them and be careful not to bump or kick each other. Be aware of any feet near faces !)

See the little Bunnies sleeping till it’s nearly noon

Shall we wake them with a little tune?

Oh how still …

Are they ill?

Wake up…

NOW! ( Everyone jumps up and hops)

Hop Little Bunnies , Hop hop hop.

Hop Little Bunnies , Hop hop hop

Hop Little Bunnies , Hop hop hop

Hop Little Bunnies, Hop hop  hop!

(Repeat until the Bunnies are puffed out.)

Bunny Bunny EGG!

This game is a variant on the popular game, Duck Duck Goose.

Everyone sits in a circle ( start with ring a ring a roses for a quick circle making song)

One child is “IT’ and leaves their circle space and walks around the outside of the circle, tapping everyone on the head and naming them Bunny. At some point the child who is “IT” will name someone EGG and when they do , that child will chase “IT” until they reach the space that was left at the beginning. If the person who is “IT’ reaches that space first, the EGG person takes over  and becomes “IT’, starting the game over. If they get caught before the space is taken,  the person who is “IT” continues in the role until someone can’t catch them.

Little Bunny Foo Foo

Everyone stands in a circle and one person is nominated to be Little Bunny Foo Foo. Everyone claps as the song is chanted  and Bunny hops around the circle, bopping people gently on their heads.( You could have a special soft ‘bopping pillow ‘ prepared beforehand) When bopped on the head, the child sits down on the floor.

It would be  fun to make some rabbit ears from paper and a headband for Foo Foo to wear and a have a fairy wand and wings ready for the person nominated to be the Good Fairy.

Little Bunny Foo Foo,
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin’ ’em on the head

Down came the good fairy and she said ( One child is chosen – perhaps by the birthday child- to be the good fairy and says:)

“Little Bunny Foo Foo,
I don’t want to see you
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin’ ’em on the head.
I’ll give you three chances,
And if you don’t behave
I’ll turn you into a goon!”

The next day:

Little Bunny Foo Foo,
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin’ ’em on the head

Down came the good fairy and she said

“Little Bunny Foo Foo,
I don’t want to see you
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin’ ’em on the head.
I’ll give you two more chances,
And if you don’t behave
I’ll turn you into a goon!”

The next day:

Little Bunny Foo Foo,
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin’ ’em on the head

Down came the good fairy and she said

“Little Bunny Foo Foo,
I don’t want to see you
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin’ ’em on the head.
I’ll give you one more chance,
And if you don’t behave
I’ll turn you into a goon!”

The next day:

Little Bunny Foo Foo,
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin’ ’em on the head

Down came the good fairy and she said

“Little Bunny Foo Foo,
I don’t want to see you
Scooping up the field mice
And boppin’ ’em on the head.
I gave you three chances
And you didn’t behave
Now you’re a goon! POOF!!” ( Bunny Foo Foo acts out their interpretation of a goon. Expect lots of monster type actions!)

The moral of the story is:
HARE TODAY, GOON TOMORROW

Pin the Tail on the Easter Bunny

This is an adapted version of the classic game , Pin the tail on the Donkey.

First get yourself a large sheet of paper ( lining paper is a good and cheap option) or white card and draw up this simple bunny shape. Get the children to decorate it at the beginning of the party with crayons or marker pens. Use your imagination, cover it with flowers, or Easter messages or patterns.

Next you will need some cotton wool balls and double sided tape. Cut small pieces of tape and stick onto each piece of cotton wool. ( One piece per child). Remove backing tape and arm the child with sticky tail. Blindfold the child, spin them round in front of the Bunny and let them stick on the cotton tail where they think fit. Write the child’s initials to identify the tail.

The child who gets the closest to the Bunny’s actual tail, wins.

An Easter Egg would make an appropriate prize.

Don’t forget the traditional Easter Egg hunt to end the party!

Happy Easter folks!

My Easter Bunny and the chocolate seeking dog.

The Easter Holidays are rapidly approaching. For most, the Easter Bunny visits bringing gifts of Chocolate Eggs. ( I’ve never quite got the connection between bunnies and eggs, well, apart from the fertility symbolism, but you know what I mean)

In our humble abode ( a two bedroom London flat with no garden) the Easter bunny was forced to be creative, finding places to squirrel away ( oops mixed metaphor) his eggs. Miniature eggs would be hidden on top of door frames, on ledges , behind picture frames but what was most important was that it had to be high up, away from our dog’s chocolate seeking super charged nose.

      

Tiny the dog is sadly with us no more, having had to be put to sleep two years ago around Easter time. He was severely epileptic, despite being on various strong medication, and after nine long fits in one night it was decided the time had come.

I had to really be professional that afternoon at a lovely child’s birthday party, putting on my happy face and hiding my tears. The show must go on.

We miss you Tiny dog.

But my Easter Bunny is still with me. He hops along all year through at children’s birthday parties, bringing year round joy and giggles to countless boys and girls ( and some grown ups too!)

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