Tiny Tots at the Puppet Co. Theatre is the perfect way to introduce very young children to the magic of live theatre. With tickets a very affordable $5.00, it is a low-risk way to give your child their first experience seeing a live performance or an inexpensive way to enrich your child’s day.
Geared towards children under five, Tiny Tots makes the experience as enjoyable as possible for the very young. The shows are short, plot lines are simple, doors are left open, lights are left on, and kids moving around a bit is the norm.
Tiny Tots is performed by the legendary Bob Brown and his cadre of puppets. Although most parents won’t recognize his name, Brown has worked on shows integral to our generation including Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and the Muppets. I love knowing that my children are being entertained by someone who brought me so much joy as a child.
Brown connects with the children in the audience by speaking directly to them and introducing each puppet. He remains on stage during the entire performance and is a key actor in the show rather than hiding behind a curtain to control the puppets. Tiny Tots shows revolve around a theme such as Old MacDonald’s Farm or Bunny Business.
Rather than telling only one story which may not hold young ones’ attention for the entire 30 minute show, stories are told in a series of very short vignettes with new puppets constantly appearing on stage with something new to offer. Some “stories” are nothing more than a demonstration of trick, such as a puppet balancing a ball or my personal favorite, a puppet blowing up a balloon. Young children with short attention spans react well to this format and are often mesmerized by the puppets.
In the recent performance of Bunny Business my two year old and I saw, Brown used his many colorful puppets to give short lessons on colors, body parts, and distinguishing left from right. When I asked my daughter which was her favorite puppet she had a hard time settling on just one.
Tiny Tots shows are held on select Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the year. All shows start at 10am and last approximately 30 minutes — the perfect length for little ones. If you go, tickets are available in advance online though the Puppet Co. Theatre’s website with no fees. $5.00 tickets are required for everyone — newborns through grandmas. It is highly recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance as Tiny Tots shows frequently sell out.
Seating is general admission. Children and their caregivers can sit on the floor together or on the benches around the perimeter as long as children sit on grown-ups laps. If sitting close to the stage is important to your child you should plan on arriving early.
However, the theater is not very large and there are no bad seats on the house so arriving just on time shouldn’t be a problem. At the most recent show we saw, my two year old and I sat in the very back and could see everything happening on the stage with no problem.
With so many little children in attendance, the atmosphere inside the theatre can be a little chaotic. Doors open before show time and if you think your little one might need some time to warm-up it is recommended that you arrive a little early to allow your child to become comfortable in the theatre before the show begins.
There is plenty of free parking available, but plan on a 5 to 10 minute walk from the parking lot to the theater depending on the speed of your little walker. The entire walk is flat and stroller-friendly. There is stroller parking available in front of the theatre.
Some degree of children moving around and talking is to be expected in a show whose target age is under five, but if your little one becomes upset or too noisy you can stand in the theatre’s lobby for a few minutes and then go back in. There is a closed circuit TV in the lobby so you don’t have to miss any of the performance.
The Puppet Co. is located in Glen Echo Park. On nice days, take advantage of the park’s playground before or after the show. Glen Echo also has a carousel that runs during limited hours May through September. If the carousel is running, a ride makes a nice addition to a puppet show.
Enjoy the show!