THEY can hold the attention of children better than most teachers.
Of course it helps that these characters have fun faces and brightly-coloured hair.
The puppets from Bradley-based charity Hand to Mouth tour schools all over Kirklees, entertaining and informing thousands of youngsters each year.
A small team work behind the scenes to create the colourful characters and come up with new shows and classroom projects.
The idea was born in 1997 after the group’s Margaret Redfearn took part in an arts workshop organised by her local church.
She loved the idea of working with puppets and following a performance in the church was asked to do an assembly for a school.
The work expanded from there and Margaret left her job with social services to run the charity full time.
There are now a team of four working with 25,000 children in 70 schools every term.
Much of the group’s work is based around Christian teaching and messages, but these are placed in a modern setting to make them more accessible.
The puppeteers devise shows around topics like bullying, self-worth, forgiveness, honesty, justice, mercy or simply being different.
The puppets are chosen from a stock of around 30, all with their own personalities.
Favourites with the children include Deep South accented Blue, Bones who always seems to be getting into bother, and Dusty who has hair made of striking pink feathers.
The puppets are all skilfully made by trustee Barbara Dixon, who ran her own crafts business.
Margaret said: “The puppets all have their own personalities and these kind of evolve as they are being made.
“They are not particularly based on TV puppets, we wanted them to have their own look.
“The children love them; they enjoy getting to know all the characters and remember them when we bring them back to their school.”
The youngsters also get to do lots of art work and the project ends with a performance for parents.
The charity continues to go from strength to strength and in 2007 were highly commended at the Christian Broadcasting awards for an educational DVD called Puppets ‘n’ Parables.
Margaret said: “I absolutely love what I do and making a little bit of a difference in the children’s lives.
“The stories are really relevant and the kinds of subjects we explore, like bullying, helps give them a voice.
“Children have so many negative things thrown at them through life, but hopefully we encourage them to feel positive about themselves.
“If I just stood up and talked they probably wouldn’t listen, but the puppets have a way of holding your attention – and they do this with adults as well as children.
“The puppets help us explain subjects to children in a way they understand – they seem to really identify with them.”
The charity relies on fundraisers and on June 17 is holding a Cliff Richard tribute act at Huddersfield Elim Pentecostal Church. For tickets call 01484 315600.