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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Exposing Children to the Theatre{Real Life Homeschooling}

A derivative of "Theater" by Alan Cleaver, used by CCBY

My love affair with the theatre began when I was a small child.  Every year the church that I attended put on a Christmas play.  These were your average nativity plays, but actual Christmas themed productions.  I looked forward to them every year and when I was five (or maybe six) years old, I got the lead role in Little Christmas Lamb. Oh, how I enjoyed playing that part!  After that, I was hooked. 

We were not a family of means, so I was forced  by transportation and finance limitations to keep my performing to church events until I reached middle school.  At that time, I began taking drama classes and my love for the art grew and grew.  Performance became a central part of my world all the way to college, where I was a theatre major. My last involvement in the theatre was when I was pregnant with my first child. After her birth, I became consumed with motherhood and being a wife, so theatre shifted down my list of priorities.

While I haven't performed on stage in ages, I still love to go sit in the audience and watch others.  I've always known that I wanted my children to have a deep appreciation for this art form, so as soon as they were big enough to be able to sit and enjoy a show, I began to take them to plays. Field trip, anyone?

Recently, my oldest has expressed an interest in auditioning for some shows at one of the local theatres.  I look forward to seeing how she enjoys it when the time comes.

Benefits of Theatre Exposure at a Young Age

Me as a belly dancing lightning bug in high school
  • It boosts literacy.  Plays bring the written word to life in a way that is exciting.  Seeing a live production just may encourage a child to pick up a book and explore its pages. Many plays also use more complicated language (Shakespeare, anyone?)
  • Performing in plays helps qualm fears about public speaking.  I hate to give a speech or to address a crowd of people, but when I am on stage as a character, my fears are assuaged.  It isn't me they are watching, but the person I am portraying! 
  • Theatre sparks creativity.  Whether you are in the audience or on the stage, it takes imagination to really enjoy the story. Looking at the varying aspects of characters, interpreting the script in fresh new ways, and making unique choices all foster that creative spark.
  • Performing builds self confidence.  Acting requires that you really look into yourself and draw out your own strengths. 
  • Acting can be an outlet for pent up emotions.  Expression of real feelings leads to some of the best moments on stage. 
  • Exposure to different cultures.  You never know what time period or setting a play will take you to witness. 
  • Whether on stage or off, involvement in theatre will give children an appreciation for the arts as whole. 

How to Expose Children to the Theatre

  • Start small. If you have never taken your child to a play, then I suggest finding a local theatre that has shows specifically for young children.  These will not be as lengthy as other shows and the performers will be used to an audience that may be fidgety or not so quiet. Interactive shows are a bonus. 
  • Find plays that fit their interests.  Do they have a fairy tale that they love?  Are you studying a specific time period? Do they love to sing and dance?  All of these things can help you narrow down the shows that will captivate your child. 
  • Build up slowly.  After your child is used to sitting through plays designed for them, try out something new.  Test out a show that is a little longer with a slightly more difficult plot. 

The stage set up for Seussical

Theatre can provide a lifelong hobby (or even career).  You can't get too old for it, you don't have to be only a certain size or shape, and you get to have fun.

I believe exposing children to the arts to be very important in raising a well rounded, educated child.  Why not give theatre a try?

What is the last play that you took your child to see?

Make sure to link up your own posts about how you homeschool in real life, not just from textbooks and read the posts from the other hosts of this new monthly blog hop!

To learn more about this blog hop and my fellow cohosts, click here.

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  1. Our kids love attending plays! We have been fortunate to live in towns with wonderful local theaters that offer performances for children. The first show my children saw was Bunnicula - the loved it and wanted to get the book from the library on the way home. We have seen many local productions, traveling Broadway shows and have even saved up to see shows in NYC. Thanks for sharing!

    1. That is fantastic! It is one of my biggest desires to go to NYC and see a show on Broadway!



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