From the dress-up and role play our little ones love, it's a just small step to the stage. What stage, you ask? The one right in your living room, in the playroom, on the patio or wherever fancy strikes.
As their imaginative worlds become more complex and their understanding of story-telling evolves, many older preschoolers come to love putting on skits and puppet shows and other whimsical performances for any captive audience they can find (that would be you, most of the time!).
This new stage of pretend play is so much fun for parents too. We get to assist as costume and set designer, prop master as well as adoring fan. And what else can we do to encourage the theatrical magic? Here are a few ideas:
A parent contributor to our Savvy Activities suggests a wonderful way to promote children's living room plays.
In her book The Creative Family, Amanda Soule shows us how to set up an easy doorway theater so that a stage can materialize whenever the muse appears. A tension rod and curtains across a doorway creates a stage and backstage instantly (use a shower curtain rod for wider doorways). What a great way to give children that sense of drama they crave!
We love the idea of a puppet theater set up in a corner where shows can be imagined and practiced and performed at a moment's notice.
The kids will also need a cast of puppet characters. There are all sorts of wonderful choices, and making puppets is a great activity in and of itself. We are also quite taken with the line of finger puppets from Manhattan Toys. They come in all sorts of wonderful sets such as pirates, Cinderella story characters, the Three Little Pigs characters, and on and on. Adorable!
Children and theater. Theater and children. It's such a great combination. Any show featuring kids is bound to have a lot of charm, no matter its other strengths or weaknesses. Many kids love performing and aren't nearly as self-conscious about it ... read more