How to do YOUR
OWN Toybox Tales!
Kids and teachers all over the country are discovering this new, fun, and
highly entertaining method of teaching today's kids with stuff from their
world! As a result, we get a lot of questions, many are answered below,
yet some we are unable to provide answers to, due to the nature of the technique
and the variety of equipment that churches have available.
RE: Toybox Tales
Tech Support and Tech Questions
Keep in mind that "Toybox Tales" (
www.toyboxtales.com ) is a
FREE service done by church volunteers. It is not officially a part of
Kidology, though Kidology certainly links to it and promotes it as people like
to see what Karl is up to in his local church ministry. We may
not be able
to provide tech support or answer every technical question, but there is a
tech support box at the bottom of this page. Our 'techie' is a full time
student and his time is limited. If the question is answered on this
page, you may not get a reply, but we will answer what we can. This page
will be updated from time to time, but support is primarily limited to this
page. There is so much involved with
computers, cameras, cables, switch boxes, video cards, software, that we cannot explain it all in an e-mail, and most churches will probably have
different equipment and different ways of doing it. You are best off to get
someone in your church familiar with computers, video display, and video
editing software to help you. They should be able to see what we've done and
duplicate it. Remember, displaying it on a screen is a perk, and something I
did to be able to share with you. You can simply do it on a table in front of
your kids and they will still love it: no camera, no screen, no complicated
software or set up. Just play! (That's how I did it before Toybox Tales
went on the web!)
RE: Other Formats
Toybox Tales are offered in Windows Media files, and some in Quicktime format.
DVD versions are available as well.
Click here to view the
RE: Is It Easy?
As for whether it is easy or not -- that's a tough
question to answer. For me it is easy, as I have been playing with toys
for years, and have done a lot of adlib puppetry for over ten years. Plus I am
a professional children's performer, so I can ad lib jokes and voices and
rapid back and forth with some ease. (My wife says I have never grown
up!) :) So on one hand, it is easy.
However, there is a tricky side as well, as there
is a lot going on at once, so some people record in advance. I have
tried recording in advance, but I end up taking over an hour to film a five
minute thing because I keep starting over! My standard is too high when
pre-recording. When you do it live you are forced to 'move on' no matter
what happens! (I did have one week that was soooo bad I didn't put it
online! It was a disaster in my opinion, even though the kids loved it.)
There is a lot to do though, when you are doing it live. You have to
monitor the screen and watch your placement of figures and props, do camera
angles/panning/zooming etc. You are trying to keep the figures standing
(you'll see them fall on me, but the kids find it funny so its no big deal)
and deal with the smaller objects as well. Plus keep voices straight and
get through your story as quickly as possible. I try to stay under 10
minutes, but I have gone over (having too much fun at times) There is a
lot you are doing all at the same time, plus trying to be funny. It is
quite a feat to be concentrating on so much technically while at the same time
focusing creatively on the story you are telling.
Having said all that, the secret to why this is so
effective is the simple fact that you are PLAYING as kids play. So
mistakes are not only OK, they enhance it! Falling figures, goofed up
lines, and other 'mistakes' is what it looks like when kids play. Mine
have to be a little better because I have the added pressure of knowing they
will go online and be showed at churches now literally all over the world --
how's that for pressure?!? But you don't have to be pressured. If you
are simply having fun and playing with a purpose in front of the kids, they
will love it and will love you more because they will see that you understand
So is it easy? Yes and no -- best to try one
and see how ya do. You are welcome to copy my stories if you want, or make up
your own based on the toys you have. I have been using toys for years in
my teaching. It is just that today's technology has allowed me to do it in a
way cooler way by making it viewable to a larger audience on a large screen.
It's a refreshing alternative to viewing a professional video production.
Tales is not about the
techno-side (though I enjoy it). It is about making a connection with
kids in their world -- the world of playing. The best feedback I have
gotten is from moms who have said that my Toybox Tales has changed the way
their kids play -- they now make up little stories about the Bible and
Christian life, and that is just too cool!