The ventriloquist dummy is something that has a bad rap as of late due to it being a bit of a horror trope. You may think of Slappy from Goosebumps or another similar doll. Of course, this is the real world, and in the real world, a ventriloquist dummy is a great way for your kids to have fun and entertain themselves.
What Is A Ventriloquist Dummy?
A dummy is a bit different from a puppet. With a puppet, it’s usually operated by strings, or by a hand, and they come in many different shapes. Meanwhile, the dummy tends to be human-shaped, and usually sits in the operator’s lap. There is usually hand control involved.
With the dummy, operators tend to put on a voice and make it look like the voice is coming from the dummy, from the dummy’s mouth movements to the operator learning how to talk without moving their mouth all that much.
It can be a fun toy for kids, and here are a few reasons why.
First, the dummy is a toy that encourages quite a bit of imagination. A child will create their own person and character-centered around the dummy. Maybe they give the dummy a backstory and craft the relationship between ventriloquist and dummy.
A child can be imaginative with anything, but with a dummy, it’s a huge outlet for creativity that’s well worth trying.
With a ventriloquist dummy, your child is changing their voice. At first, the voice may just be a generic high pitched or low pitched voice, but with time, the voice will develop into its own character. Voice acting and changing your voice is always a valuable skill to have, and it’s great in that regard.
Of course, a dummy is more than voice acting; it’s also physical acting as well. A kid needs to pretend to react to what the dummy is saying, and they need to move around the dummy in order to give the illusion that they are sentient. A kid who is good at this act can put on a heck of a show, with the other kids demanding encores.
They Aren’t That Expensive
A decent dummy for kids will cost around $50, or around that range, and can last a good while. If your kid is serious about learning how to perform ventriloquism, it’s a small price to pay for lots of entertainment.
What To Look For In A Dummy
If you’re going to buy a ventriloquist dummy for your child, here are some things to look out for.
- Easy Operation
You want a dummy that easy for a beginner to operate. Many of these dummies will have a rod or strings to control the limbs and mouth, and it’s quite easy to pick up. A dummy that requires you to work to get movement isn’t that good for kids.
Some dummies allow you to change their clothes or other aspects of their appearance, which is quite awesome. For instance, the Tommy dummy we mention earlier wears any clothes meant for 18 month olds.
- High Quality
You want a dummy that is made from strong materials and is easy to wash. A cheap dummy will fall apart on you, making it much more annoying for both the parent and child. However, most dummies that are highly rated will have high quality materials and will last a good while.
You want a dummy that has character to it. Many will resemble characters, monsters, or other types of people, so buy a dummy that best suits your kid’s personality.
Some Dummies To Consider
With that said, which dummies are good for your kids? Let’s look at a few of them.
From Silly Puppets, Tommy resembles a boy, and he has a Muppet-y appearance to him. This dummy is quite cheap, at around $50, and comes with accessories to bring him to life, such as a rod to control the arms, and the ability to change his clothes. Any clothes meant for 18 month olds should fit him just fine. Being able to customize Tommy allows your kids to make their own character; you don’t need to make him Tommy.
Katie is pretty much the girl version of Tommy, from the same creators. Pretty much any description of Tommy applies to Katie, from the changeable clothes to the rod that controls her arm.
We mentioned Slappy in the beginning. He is from RL Stine’s Goosebumps series, which was quite popular in the 1990s and still has popularity to this day. You probably read Goosebumps when you were a kid, but if you didn’t, Slappy comes from Goosebumps’s Living Dummy series, and there are quite a few of them.
With most stories, Slappy is a killer dummy that the child encounters, yet no adult believes them until it’s too late. Think of him as Chucky, but for kids. However, Slappy is just as creepy. This dummy looks just like how Slappy does in the illustrations, with glow in the dark eyes, and control via a string. He’s easy to carry and operate, allowing your kid to make some spooky stories with him. Both kids and adults that grew up with Goosebumps will love it.
- Blue Monster
This is another from Silly Puppets, resembling a monster out of Sesame Street. It kind of looks like a more gender-neutral version of Rosita. Being from Silly Puppets, you can expect the same high-quality control and design, so try it out.
Ventriloquism can be fun for your children. It teaches them how to act and how to make a character out of a puppet. At worst, your child has a fun hobby they will love for a while. At best, your child may use the skills they’ve learned and grow up to be a performer or an actor. Either way, it’s a great thing to buy for your child.
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