Clowns with Tool and Toys

Every year for Fire Prevention Week, my friends from Alvarado Fire and Safety Educators and I visit local elementary schools and have fun teaching the students about Fire and Life Safety.  We like to tailor our annual program to focus on issues that impact our community.  We use input from local 9-1-1 operators, the NFPA, and local Fire Departmants to determine what subjects to cover in our demonstrations.    This year we decided to include Tools and Toys in our program because we haven’t covered it in a few years – and it’s a lot of fun.   I like the Tools and Toys skit because it uses kids from the audiance, and we get to engage with them while we perform.

Here’s a rough idea of how the skit works:

  1. The clowns have made a mess on the stage – tools and toys are scattered everwhere with two empty boxes.
  2. the clowns decide it’s time to clean up – but they need help.
  3. They call 2 audiance members up to help with the cleanup.
  4. Clowns direct helpers to pick items from the mess and hold them up for the audiance to see – everyone decides if items are Tools or Toys
  5. Tools and Toys are sorted into appropriate boxes. While sorting, the clowns remind students that tools are for grownups, and they should have grownup supervision when using tools.

Large toys work best such a beach ball, big dump truck, or giant carnival stuffed animals.  We also put fun comic items into the pile such as rubber chickens, fake banannas, or giant boxer shorts.  We play with toys and kids, passing the teddy bear around for a hug, pushing the big dumptruck around, or throwing the beachball into the box for points. In addition, we put a giant match and lighter into mix which we give to adults in the audiance because we’re not supposed to play with those.

In our early days, we used real tools for the skit.  But as we developed our skit, we decided we needed something safer, and easier to see to represent the tools.  We then upgraded our tools to representations made from glued together layers of upolstery foam painted with magic marker and  acrylic paint.  We quickly discovered that upolstery foam props loose their stiffness, the paint wears off or fades, and they begin to look ratty after a couple of years.  Fortunately, after I discovered Spoonflower, we were able to sew stuffed versions from patterns I created. We’ve been using these cut and sew versions for 4 years now, and they still look great (except for the match – we used a pool noodle in the stem, and you can see from the photo it’s looking bent out of shape).  Here is a pic of the Tools for Safety Education and the Fire Prevention Match & Lighter designs for sale on Spoonflower.

I’m working on anther cut and sew pattern featuring power tools. I hope to have those uploaded to Spoonflower soon.  If your interested in more Fire and Life Safety designs, check my Spoonflower Collection here –>> Fire and Life Safety.  There’s a Giant Rubber Chicken there and a Cartoon Smoke Detector cut and sew project.  I’m always working on new designs for my gang of clowns, so check back often.

Look, Listen, Learn.      Have a Safe and Happy Fire Prevention Month!

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