Last week we got to go on one of our favorite kinds of field trips—a play! This time we saw a play of Hank the Cowdog and Monkey Business, and in the past we have seen versions of Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, Click, Clack, Moo, and Ferdinand.
Why do we enjoy plays so much? They’re fun! It’s one thing to read a story and another thing to see a movie version of it, but it’s completely different to see people acting it out right in front of you. Plays geared toward children usually have at least a little humor in them, and the actors know how to get a reaction from the audience. Kids seem to laugh a little harder when the joke has been made in the same room!
Plays are also great for literature studies. Most of the time when we go to a play based on a book, we’ve already read the story. Sometimes, the discussion starts before we even see the play. We weren’t sure how they were going to make Click, Clack, Moo into a play, and we decided before we even saw it that they were going to have to add some things in order to make it last longer than ten minutes! After we saw Ferdinand, we had some great discussions on how sometimes the message of the play may be completely different from the message of the book. Seeing a play is a great opportunity to do some comparing and contrasting, whether you do it orally or assign something written.
Plays geared toward children are also a great opportunity for kids to practice appropriate audience behavior. When we go to the movies or watch TV, we usually whisper or talk to others around us about what we’re seeing, but watching a play is different. If you’re loud, you might disturb the actors as well as those around you! Sitting still and being quiet is something that has to be practiced, and these plays usually are interesting enough to kids to keep their attention and sometimes even require their participation for sound effects, as we experienced last week!
Where can you find these plays? Oklahoma Children’s Theatre has a great season scheduled this year! (Plus you can receive a free child's ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket with MetroFamily's Kids Pass!) You can find something to interest any child, and if your kids are interested in being in plays themselves, they can take some classes! Also, keep an eye out for local high school productions. Though sometimes they may cover topics that your younger kids may not be interested in, their productions can be a lot of fun, especially if they are doing a well-known play or musical.
If you think the theater isn’t your thing, don’t worry! A play with your kids is a great way to spend an afternoon!