Puppets with a Purpose

Educating elementary students how to stay safe from abuse, neglect, and bullying.

Too often, children who are being maltreated don’t realize that what they’re going through is not normal and is never their fault. Our Kids on the Block educational puppets go to elementary schools all over Hillsborough County to teach kids how to safely recognize, report, and get help when they or someone they know is suffering from abuse, neglect, bullying, cyberbullying, or other unsafe situations.

Available Performances

This program teaches a primarily third grade audience how to safely recognize, report, and get help when they or someone they know is experiencing child abuse or neglect. By listening to the puppet characters’ age-appropriate stories and asking questions, students learn that abuse is never their fault and to use the “NO, GO and TELL” safety message.

This program teaches a primarily fourth grade audience about bullying, cyberbullying, and stereotyping, including how to “Recognize, Refuse, and Report” when they experience it or see it happening to others. The show addresses respect for physical, developmental, and cultural differences, and promotes empathy and understanding for victims. The puppets also address how to be good “digital citizens” by being aware of a positive digital footprint, and the importance of becoming an “upstander” when witnessing bullying behavior.

Booking a Show

  • Our shows can be booked by any Public or Private Elementary School in Hillsborough County. On a case-by-case basis, performances can be booked in other neighboring counties or in non-school-based venues.
  • Shows can be performed between the hours of 7:30am-12:30pm.
  • There can be two shows per day for one venue, with a 15-minute break in between.

*Special Note: We have a whole new family a puppets for the 2022-2023 school year! We can’t wait to meet you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Any public or private elementary school in Hillsborough County can request a Kids on the Block performance for their students at no cost. On a case-by-case basis, performances can be booked in other neighboring counties or in non-school based venues.
Kids on the Block performances can only be booked directly by schools (or other venues). If you’re not sure whether your child’s school has booked a Kids on the Block show this year, reach out to your school’s guidance counselor and make a request!

You’ve never seen more data-driven puppets than these! Kids on the Block utilizes several different metrics to analyze its effectiveness including: pre/post show knowledge quizzes tracked via a kid-friendly app; pre/post show worksheet activities; post-show letters from the kids to the puppets that are analyzed by local sociology students; and feedback surveys from guidance counselors and school staff. Check out our annual Kids on the Block report for more details.

Kids on the Block is a highly effective, proven program. In a typical year, approximately 24,000 children witness one of our performances and afterwards more than 80% demonstrate an understanding of the shows’ core messages. Each year, hundreds of students are empowered to reveal previously undisclosed “concerns,” including several dozen instances of abuse or neglect for which they are subsequently able to get life-saving help.
Kids on the Block is generously funded by the Hillsborough County Public School District and several private foundations, including: Altrusa International of Tampa/Wilma B. Hogan Foundation, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, the Saunders Foundation, the Mabel & Ellsworth Simmons Charitable Foundation, and the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation.