Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published August 24th 2015
A Handful of Fun
What did you get up to round at Grandma's? For me, every weekend was different; on rainy days we stayed in and played board games or drew pictures, on sunny days we had treasure hunts in the garden or went out to the park. Sometimes we'd go to McDonald's to complete my collection of Happy Meal toys.
Whatever we did, it was full of fun and imagination. A lot of children don't get that these days because pushing buttons in front of a screen or swiping an iPad requires little creativity. All the thinking is done for you. Entertainment is largely encompassed by consoles, tablets, computers, and television. What does that mean for the kids? It means they miss out on one of the most important aspects of childhood: imaginative play. We used to create entire worlds in our head and project them onto the inanimate objects around us; the characters in our stories were our toys. These days the world is projected to them through inanimate objects, and the characters can't even be touched.
Time to send them back to Grandma's, I say. Grandma's Puppet Shop, that is; a place of playful and imaginative inspiration that even has the grown-ups joining in.
Grandma's Puppet Shop was conceived after the owners visited a lovely toy shop in Harrogate, searching for Christmas presents for their twenty-two grandchildren. The store's individuality made them want to build their own business, and so, Grandma's Puppet Shop was born.
Located in Blackhall Yard, Kendal, Grandma's Puppet Shop specialised in a wide variety of puppets from character favourites such as Sooty and Sweep to giant Marionettes. There were two designs that particularly stood out for me. The first were reversible puppets like the lamb that when turned inside out became a wolf. Next were hideaway puppets like a top hat that when you put your hand inside, a rabbit pops up.
The puppets that you could apply the most animation to, however, require both hands: one going into the puppet's mouth, and the other into its arm like a glove. These puppets were big, floppy, and can sit on your knee or hang around your neck. We discovered this for ourselves when the enthusiastic owner came along, gave us all a puppet, and encouraged us to play with them.
Grandma's Puppet Shop sells more than just puppets though. They also had a make-believe shop front so your kids can barter how much they are going to charge you for their piece of plastic fruit. You can find retro 1960s style wooden toys, clocks, and much more. All the colour and innocence of Grandma's Puppet Shop brightens up the street no end, and it should be visited by all those craving to let loose their imagination.