Two Part Rule:
Have a place to keep your props before you’re ready to present it. You want to create an element of surprise – this can happen if no props or objects are seen before they are presented or displayed. This will help curious hands from disturbing your props.
Have a place to put your items after the lesson is over with. Behind the puppet stage or under a covered table or perhaps it’s something you can give away after you’ve taught the lesson. Wherever it goes, just make sure that it’s out of the way for the rest of the lesson so it doesn’t become a distraction. You’re also not going to want children getting their hands on things that you need to keep nice.
There are various kinds of places to keep your stuff before and after the lesson. Let’s examine a few.
The Show Basket or Bucket:
I got this idea from the guy in my last post, David Ginn. He has a large basket, box, bucket or some kind of container that he calls his “show basket”. Everything starts in the basket and then as it’s used in the performance – it goes back into the basket.
A buddy of mine actually has a place built into his stage backdrop in the children’s church room where a curtain opens and a table on casters, with the day’s prop(s) on display ready to be used. If you use a puppet stage you could have the items within reach, just behind the curtain as well.
Suitcase Or Box With A Lid:
This is essentially the same as the show basket idea with one exception: you can close the lid so the items are not as tempting to disturb as you are shaking hands with the kids at the door. My buddy and children’s pastor, Jeff Post, has developed and entire show around this box concept called: THE BIG BLUE BOX Sammy Smith has two nice show cases available (the professional prop case and the baby prop case). – it looks sharp and the kids will know that it’s the box where you keep all your cool stuff.
I was just talking about this with my good friend Ben Murray. It’s basically a large box on wheels with the back open and shelves for props inside. Mine is on wheels and can fold down into a suitcase sized box with a handle for easy transportation. It’s made by Joe Lefler and you can have your local magic shop order it for you.
Just Cover It:
Use some decorative material to cover the item if it’s too large to fit in a box or behind a curtain.
Here’s a little tip about displaying props or items to create anticipation: Don’t display it unless you know for sure you are going to use it. If you create the anticipation in the class and then never use the item – they will attack you! Or, they will just be really disappointed.