Children's Theater Expedition
- a snack, if permitted
- Find a theater. For state-by-state children's theater listings, check Northwestern's Children's Theatre listings. Find Dora and other favorite Nickelodeon Live Shows at nicklivetour.com.
- Consider your child's attention span. Choose shows appropriate for your child's age. Most young kids will have trouble sitting for more than 60-90 minutes.
- Check the theater's website. There you'll find tickets, schedules, recommended ages, interviews, photo galleries, and other info about upcoming performances. There might be a synopsis of the story and background information about the play from the playwright or the artistic director. Discuss the plot of the story with your child to help him know what to expect. Also check youtube.com for previews.
- Choose your seats. Select seats with good visibility, but that aren't too close to the stage. (Young children can be frightened of characters in costume.)
- First stop? When you arrive at the theater, head straight for the bathrooms and water fountains to avoid mid-show fussing and fidgeting.
- Go on a scavenger hunt. While you wait for the curtain to go up, look around the theater. Build your child's vocabulary as you hunt for: a program, the stage, the spotlights, the curtain, the set, a scrim, a prop, the actors, the audience, the orchestra.
- Check out the program. If there's a program, read it to your child and preview what is going to happen on stage. Children's theater programs often offer games and activities kids can complete to pass the time before the play begins.
- Use intermission. Take this time to stand up, walk around, get a snack, and shake the sillies out.
- Get in the act. At intermission or after the play, talk about how the actors portrayed characters through costumes, accents, and gestures. Ask your child to pick a character and act it out. What would he do to convey a bunny? A space ranger? A king?
- Peek in the orchestra pit. If you're lucky enough to have an orchestra, don't pass up the opportunity to peek inside and identify the musical instruments.
- Investigate. After the play, ask your child open-ended questions to encourage both literacy and verbal skills:
- Who was the main character?
- Was the play set in a real place? Or was it make-believe?
- What was the problem in the play?
- How did they try to solve it?
- What was the mood of the play? Was it funny, scary, sad?
- What happened in the end?
- Did you like the play? Why or why not?
- Read all about it. Check out Bat Jamboree by Kathi Appelt, Fancy Nancy: The Show Must Go On by Jane O'Connor, Teatro Olivia by Ian Falconer (a paper theater with sets, costumes and plays to act out), Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osborne.
For more exploring, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for your child at DoraTheExplorer.com.
Thanks to Susan Hood
BACK: Dora's Word Hunt Expedition / NEXT: Dora's Flea Market Expedition