3 Reasons to Encourage Your Kids to Love the Theater

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As a parent, you want to do everything you can to enrich your kids’ lives. From making sure they have access to a plethora of books and encouraging them to sign up for extracurricular classes to making sure they have plenty of ways to foster their creativity, your kids really do have a lot of great opportunities.

In addition to the great things you are already doing, getting your kids interested in the theater have many benefits as well. Here are three reasons to to swap the remote for a ticket to a live play or musical.

Live theater inspires imitation

While kids may pretend to be their favorite TV characters during playdates, chances are good they are not inspired to figure out how to write, produce and film the entire television program. Kids who see live theater , on the other hand, often leave the show ready to write a play filled with tons of plot twists, design their own costumes, paint props, rehearse scenes and perform the show to an appreciative audience made up of mom, dad and some stuffed animals. Live theater has a way of giving kids the inspiration and confidence they need to use their imaginations to bring their own production to life.

Learning to read facial expressions

When kids watch television programs, especially those that are animated, the characters’ faces are often drawn to clearly portray what the person — or animal, train or firetruck — is feeling. Live theater teaches kids how to recognize these emotions, even when they are not super clear. This works especially well when the actors on stage let the audience know what they are thinking and feeling. These intense scenes can be very effective at boosting a child’s ability to read the emotions that another person is experiencing, which is a valuable skill to have not only on the playground and classroom now, but in the workplace later.

Theatre inspires tolerance

Going to a play or musical may have a magical effect on a child’s ability to accept and tolerate people with different views. A group of researchers conducted a study to see if sending students on field trips to see live theater had this positive impact; the results showed that those who saw “A Christmas Carol” or “Hamlet” scored significantly higher on a tolerance measure than the control group who did not. Theater exposes kids to a variety of views, people and ideas, which in part can help them be more accepting of these differences. While TV shows may attempt to teach these same values and may show characters with different thoughts and beliefs, seeing live actors on stage and sitting in an audience filled with people from all walks of life may foster this positive viewpoint more than looking at a screen.

Finding kid-friendly theater experiences

If you are ready to start taking your kids to the theater , local children’s theater groups are a good place to pique their interests. Kids often love watching their peers on stage, and community theater tends to be great quality and budget friendly. If your kiddos are really getting into theater and you want to take it to the next level, you may want to schedule a family vacation to New York City and treat them to a Broadway show. Before you go, browse online for family-friendly plays and musicals and purchase tickets ahead of time to the shows you want to see. Who knows, your kiddos might put on a production in your hotel room before you return home.

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