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A Long Line of Sub-par Theatrical Productions

Yes, that’s my children’s legacy! As my cousin once said, this is one in “a long line of sub-par theatrical productions”. We did plays, my mother’s family did in-home musical concerts, and I’m sure way back, there were theatrical productions by the pioneer players!

Just like the March girls putting on productions in Little Women my children seem to put on plays when they’re with their cousins. It’s wonderful!

Here are some shots at my in-law’s house of their last play –

 

The players at the magic wishing well

 

At the curtain call

 

What do you need to get all of this fun in your life?

  • Dress-ups (old prom dresses, go to thrift stores for costumes, old Halloween costumes, old dance costumes – just keep a box handy and throw in any old outfits)
  • Props(again, just use what you have – toys, old games, boxes, etc. Let the kids be creative, you’ll be impressed what they do!)
  • Space(Any where – garage, carport, backyard, living room, any place can be a stage!)
  • Imagination – (quite honestly, the key here is to have belief in your children. Tell them that they can do it. Maybe they’ll need a story prompt to begin with, but my experience has been to just encourage them to put on a play (a dance, or a show, or a concert) and they will do it. No further prompting needed. Watch them go!)
  • Be an audience – (it is quite critical that you and the grandparents and the aunts and uncles watch the show when it’s ready. Film it, set up chairs, have them make tickets and programs, whatever! Just be there. Now, it’s okay to say to them in the middle of the performance, “one more scene” or “one more minute”, because sometimes these things can go on rather long, but MAKE sure to give lots of clapping during curtain call and positive reinforcement (“wow, who knew that you were so creative!?!”, or “I loved the part when …”, or  “What happened after …”,  the more you talk with your children about what they did, the more they will do.) 

Finally, my favorite part is to see all of the cute creative touches. Check out my favorite one from this last performance –

2015-05-03 19.43.29

This is a microphone that they made out of paper clips and tape. Cute huh!!

What’s the point of all of this?

  • Helps your children become creative problem solvers
  • Helps exercise their imaginations
  • Great childhood memories
  • Builds social skills
  • Helps them practice performing
  • They become creators, not just consumers

and at the very least –

  • Gives you time away from hearing, “I’m bored!” 😉

What shows do your kids do? Let me know in the comments.

 

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Summer Creativity – Cardboard

Summer Creativity  Cardboard

A while ago, I wrote a post on a book that had captured my imagination when I was a kid about a girl with a cardboard box and all of the things that she did with it. I imagined all of the things that I could do with a cardboard box – if only my mom would get one large enough for me!  Through the years, I used boxes for dollhouses and furniture and sets for carport plays.

Recently, I found this video about a little boy’s imagination, and I was ASTOUNDED!!

(I know, I know, I am late on the trend, but after showing the videos to my girls, they ran out to make something. What a great change from the “I’m bored” I’m already getting this summer!)

What a kid! What a great dad to allow him to build it all!  I also want to shout out to the filmmaker for seeing such amazing potential in the creativity!

If your kids are bored this summer, what could they do with some cardboard, tape, and a little imagination?

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Waiting and Travel Games for Kids

Road-trip from Colorado to Utah

A quiet moment on a long car trip

MSN had an article on waiting games for children – restaurant, plane, long lines and cars.   The full article can be found here.  The author is Barbara Rowley and her bio from the site is “[her] most recent book is Baby Days: Activities, Ideas and Games for Enjoying Daily Life With a Child Under Three.”  Sounds like a wonderful book.

The article was full of fun ideas, but one really caught my attention.  This is from a Nancy Kay of Nashville:

[P]uppets or stuffed animals to go along with a story on tape. The kids can act out the plot while listening to the story — and keep the baby entertained at the same time. 

I adore books on tape (or rather CD or Digital books).  My daughters (ages 6 & 3) are loving listening to Mary Pope Osborn’s Magic Tree House Series on tape, read by the author.  She has a sweet voice and my kids really get into the stories.  I will periodically stop the CD and ask questions to see if I need to clarify anything, or to check their understanding of the story line.

I also think that it is a good way to teach and practice the reading skill of foreshadowing.  (What just happened?  What do you think is going to happen? etc.)

A friend of mine said that she just buys a bag of pipe cleaners and lets the kids go wild.  She said that the things that they create are amazing.  I think that it’s a great idea for stretching the imagination!

I also give each of my daughters a cookie sheet and I have a bag packed full of activities – coloring books, toys, books, car-friendly crafts, etc.

The cookie sheet is a perfect table for anything car-activity imaginable and also doubles for a snack-tray when needed.

If all else fails, then I bring out the movies.  I try to work out all other possible options first though – including music appreciation, scenery watching, and car games.

Our favorite car game is a modified “I spy”.  Modified, because my girls are on the younger side, so instead of saying “something that begins with the letter…,” we say “something that is …” and list a color.

What kinds of things do you do?