Bizzy Hands Puppet Company’s Innovative Approach to Social-Emotional Learning

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Bizzy Hands Puppet Company is making waves in the entertainment and education industry with its unique approach to puppet shows. Founded by Michelle Botha in 2012, the company has grown from a small dream to a full-fledged operation that offers not only traditional puppet shows but also shows that address social and emotional issues.

Botha’s love for puppets began when she worked for the production team of Takalani Sesame in 2011 as a script translator, voice-over artist, and puppeteer. She was fascinated by the challenge of acting with her hand and the impact it had on children. “Puppets are a wonderful tool to interact with kids,” Botha explains. “Kids engage with puppets because they don’t feel threatened or judged, so you can get to issues much easier and quicker.”

The Bizzy Hands Puppet Company currently offers 5 different puppet shows for entertainment for ages 3-10 years. They also offer puppet-making for children’s birthday parties and events. During the parties, the company supplies the puppets, and the children can paint on its face and decorate it. “This is a smash hit, the kids love it and they get to take their very own puppet home,” says Botha.

But the company’s mission doesn’t stop there. After the pandemic, Botha received many emails from schools sharing how teachers were noticing developmental issues with toddlers and social and behavioral problems with children. “I started doing research and came across the concept of social-emotional learning. In South Africa, it is a norm that if children can read, write, and do math, they are ok, but this is far from the truth. We also live in a society where violence against women and children is high. This is partly due to the lack of social, and emotional learning,” Botha explains.

With this in mind, Botha decided to add another element to the Bizzy Hands Puppet Company: a series of puppet theatre shows with a social-emotional learning theme. These shows address social-emotional issues that a child might encounter and guides them through the tools they can use to address their feelings surrounding the issue. “Theatre is a safe way to expose children to difficult situations and show them first-hand how to handle these situations. We also prefer using the puppets as they are less threatening,” says Botha.

The company will be presenting its first social-emotional show of 2023 at the end of January for all pre-primary schools. The company will also be showcasing a series of other shows, not specifically aimed at social-emotional issues but which are just as beneficial to children. “Theatre is also a great educational tool as it exposes children to new vocabulary and helps them communicate and express themselves,” adds Botha.

The Bizzy Hands Puppet Company encourages schools to book all shows, both social-emotional and general. To learn more about the company and its shows, visit their website at www.thepuppetshow.co.za, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. The company offers a variety of shows and services, including social-emotional shows, normal theatre shows, and puppet-making.

Bizzy Hands Puppet Company, founded by Michelle Botha, is an innovative company that has grown from a dream of one set of puppets to a full-fledged operation that offers not only traditional puppet shows but also shows that address social and emotional issues. The company aims to edutain (educate and entertain) and make a difference in children

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Shaun Zietsman https://www.thesomethingguy.co.za

Blogger and Content Creator from Johannesburg, South Africa.

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