Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mahalo Review and Giveaway

Today on ABC & 123, we're starting a new giveaway! Here is the review I also posted there.This week we're excited to introduce you to Mahalo and feature their wonderful handmade felt puppets!

Puppets are fun to play with. Kids are quickly engaged by their colors, textures, and movement. This can lead to greater involvement in a lesson and more comprehensive learning. They facilitate conversation and can be used to elicit interaction from a child who might otherwise have a hard time talking with an adult. They are often helpful in therapeutic situations. Kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learners respond especially well to lessons incorporating puppetry and all students will gain from increased emotional, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal development.

One of the most common methods of using puppets for education is as visual aides for storytelling and retelling by students. They are also helpful for the first step toward creative writing, making up imaginative and inventive oral stories. All of these practices will enhance a language program and development.
We received a Mermaid Hand Puppet and Sea Horse Friends Set from Alisha to review, only ours only ours was personalized with ER’s hair and eye color. Skin color can also be chosen for the people puppets; I think that’s a nice touch. It’s one of the many benefits of supporting small businesses like Mahalo that I like.

Our daughter’s enjoyment of her mermaid puppet and the accompanying orange fish and blue sea horse finger puppets began the second we opened the package. She immediately put the mermaid on her hand and started making her swim around the office.
I really liked the details added with fabric paint, which give the puppets an additional layer of texture. The mermaid’s fin is outlined with scales and she is modestly dressed in a sea shell bathing suit top. The little tropical flower in her hair is the perfect finish to her look. Overall it’s a very attractive puppet.

She is approximately 15 inches from the top of her hair to the longest point on her tail and is about 8.5 inches at her widest part. Her little friends are equally detailed with paint and I have to say that the tiny blue seahorse is utterly adorable. You can request specific colors for the seahorses.
That set along with Mahalo’s Neptune Hand Puppets would a great addition to an Ocean thematic unit. While mermaids are imaginary they are a fun concept for children to think about. My daughter and I had a lengthy conversation about what we would do if we lived underwater. It was a concept that was confusing for her at first; one that prior to getting the set I didn’t know she did not understand.
We liked our review set so much that we ordered a customized Polar Bear Hand Puppet set for Grandma Norma to give ER for her third birthday next month. With the new addition to her very limited puppet collection, she wants to play with Brad a lot more. He soon realized he needed more to work with or his stories were going to get limited very quickly.

We already have a lion puppet from a previous trip to the zoo and a kitty puppet my mom knitted for her. We didn’t really need the lion and leopard puppets in the set. What we did need was a little girl puppet, made to look like our ER of course, and puppy one because her fascination with dogs continues to be unending. Alisha was responded promptly to my inquiry and we were able to make the substitutions. I was very happy with Mahalo's level of customer service!
Alisha truly enjoys the challenge of making new designs for puppets. One of her latest creations was inspired by the classic tale, Three Billy Goats Gruff at the request from a Mahalo customer whose children really like that story. She’s especially proud of the troll design. If you have a special request she is happy to work with you make the perfect set for you!

When you browse through Mahalo's puppets, you will notice many sets that are perfect for the classroom or for using with small groups. Teacher customer favorites include the various bear series, such as the Brown Bear Set and Panda Bear Hand Puppet Set. Smaller finger puppet versions of of both are also available.
There are also numerous other sets perfect for storytelling and that coordinate with popluar children's books. There are also multiple sets that would enhance thematic teaching including the People in Your Neighborhood that would go great with a community unit. The Dragon, Knight, Princess Puppets would fit in with fairytales and the Circus Friends Puppet Set is perfect for lessons about under the big top. The Reciprocal Teaching Set is another teacher favorite. Sunday school teachers and religious educators will find the Armor of God Puppet and the Noah's Ark Set of particular interest.

As you can see Mahalo has many wonder puppets to offer for home or school based learning and play! However, Alisha is only half of the team of talented sisters who own Mahalo. They have a lot more than puppets to offer!
Her sister Beth makes delightful tutus, my daughter is in awe of the prima ballerina one. Tutus are also available in sets with a customized initial cape that look just darling. By far though, my favorite item by Beth is her fun complete super hero set that comes with an initial cape, mask, and wristlets. What a great dress up kit that’s suitable for boys and girls that can also double as a personalized Halloween costume! Most of the components of the sets can also be purchased separately and have customizable choices.
Interested in Mahalo? Purchase a puppet or another of their fun creations that enhance imaginative play at their Etsy shop! When you purchase from Mahalo, you are also supporting an organization that is near and dear to the sisters, Wing Haven. This non-profit organization assists women and children who are trying to escape from a life of domestic abuse, and a percentage of their profits go to benefit this organization. Learn more at www.winghaven.org .
Mahalo has generously donated a Circus Friends Puppet Set to giveaway to one of ABC & 123’s readers! You'll have to go over to my other blog ABC & 123 to find out how you can enter. DO NOT leave your entry here, unless you really want to tell me how fabulous I am! Entries will only count on the ABC & 123's Mahalo Review and Giveaway post, good luck! Hurry up and go enter, this giveaway is only open until June 29 midnight ETS.

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