Dr. Silly ®

Dr. Silly Buster Boxes

The Dr. Silly Buster-Boxes, were designed to bust boredom! They are a play tool constructed of ordinary cardboard and created to integrate several types of puppets into the theater format.

The two-story puppet booth makes it possible to use stick and glove puppets as well as small figures and objects. The Buster-Boxes can be linked to create a series of theaters or separated to present small scenarios.

The negligible cost of the theaters means that several Buster-Boxes can be given to a classroom. The teacher can arrange groups of students according to educational parameters and each group can present the plays they create.

The scenic material can be simply cut from newspapers, magazines, calendars or similar material. The puppets can be created from paper cut-outs, figures on sticks, traditional cloth, small promotional toys-practically anything that children think is suitable for their performance.

The short duration of plays, usually about 5-8 minutes, allows students to view several plays during the sessions. For example, if the students are creating plays about handicapping conditions and tolerance, they can crowd around the small theaters and watch as many as 8 plays in sequence. This repeated viewing capacity helps expand the teaching goals and improve recall of the facts and issues presented in the plays.

Dr. Silly's Buster-Box puppet theaters are an inexpensive and effective way to involve students in creative activities that stimulate their imagination and promote awareness of any social issue.


Umbrella Stages

Umbrella Stages were developed by Dr. Palumbo to help solve two problems : educational motivation and communication skill development. In the Special Education classrooms pictured, the preschool children were given the opportunity to watch and participate in an impromptu puppet show.

The curtain was cut into several panels and was translucent; the kids could see through it and not feel anxious about the enclosed space. The curtain material was loosely woven and children could see in and out of the stage easily. This design helped eliminate the shoving that often is associated with preschool kids confined in a small dark space.

The expressive language produced was exciting; there was no script or story line, only an opportunity to interact with aides who further prompted language expression with questions to puppets and commentary.

The Umbrella Stage is a useful puppet play design for all young children and particularly for children who require prompting and behavior management to participate in small group activities.

Notice how the classroom aides placed themselves near children who needed intermittent behavior management intervention. They both helped the children orient themselves toward the activity and manage their disruptive behavior.

The flexible stage design allowed several children to participate, some were seated in one of the chairs that supported the opened umbrella stage, others crowded into the area by kneeling or standing around.

Play Care International


Service Goals:

  1. Improve the emotional health of children receiving care.
  2. Train caregivers of special needs children in play therapy techniques.
  3. Supply educational, play, and athletic equipment to low-resource schools, children's hospitals and community centers.

Service Plan: Collect, ship and distribute donated supplies to identified locations Referred by childcare personnel and allied professionals.

Provide staff training through a volunteer program at recipient's site and at the Play-Care center, USA.

Service History: play materials and educational supplies have been sent to Nigeria, Israel, Hungary, Australia, Romania, Armenia, Russia, Brazil and American locations. Training programs have been conducted in Romania and Australia.

Who can help? Manufacturers, distributors and child care personnel who want To donate stock seconds, overruns and dated play material or Promotional supplies. Office supplies, art material, toys, athletic equipment…items that will help children learn, develop and recover from illness or trauma are needed.

Service Method: Play-Care materials are organized and packaged in three ways:                   

A Children’s Toy Chest A Teacher's Treasure Chest A Playground in a Box:

  • Small play items 
  • Learning material 
  • Throw/catch supplies
  • Art, drawing supplies  
  • School supplies 
  • Nets, balls, games
  • Printed Material, Teaching Tools, Sports Promotions







The Heifer Project   

The Puppet Therapy Institute (NP) was created to provide community support for efforts to improve neighborhood and international relations. This project helped raise funds for Heifer International, an organization that donates live-stock to selected countries in need of agricultural assistance.

The children created a story, PTI provided all needed staging and puppets as well as technical help with the production. The event attracted local news coverage and had lasting effects on the kids who helped with the program.
This is another example of how puppetry arts can be used in a human service program to facilitate attainment of goals and create community unity.


 Romanian Service Initiative

For the past five years, Dr. Silly has brought training and supplies to a group of dedicated teachers, counselors and psychologist. These professionals have organized themselves into an organization called, Proeducationne. Their aim is to gather educational material, provide training, disseminate resources, support parents, and develop community initatives in the area of special education.

Dr. Silly presented a two-week training and support program that was organized by the area Education Center,where the training took place. this years educational topic was "Inclusion" or more concretely, "how to give each child an equal chance." The twenty participants learned about how various American schools were developing this concept in their pre=school programs. Lectures and videos of actual schools and teachers were used as part of the learning material provided. 

Dr. Silly table top education tools also were part of the training program; they supplied their own materials and developed teaching episodes for their classes. Some of the developed topics were; health information, family relationships, adjusting to an adoptive home, almost any useful topic was appropriate for this simple, theatrically based instructional technique.