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5 Tips for Taking Kids to the Theater

Seeing a theater show, where real people tell a story live on stage (and may even sing and dance!) can be a thrilling experience for the whole family. But taking kids to the theater can be an expensive outing, so it's worth taking the time to make it the best you can. These 5 tips can help!

Taking Kids to the Theater | MoneywiseMomsChoose the right show

Consider show length, content and your child's disposition before spending a lot on theater tickets. For many years, my girls couldn't sit through a 90-minute movie.

They couldn't stand the loud volume or being in the dark, so seeing a live theater show went on the backburner for a long while.

In many major cities, theater companies specifically stage shows for children as young as 3, so look online for recommendations for local theaters and productions.

You may also find shows that run less than an hour, which is a great way to get younger kids started on live theater.

Tips for taking kids to the theater - live show - musical

Prep for the story

Depending on the age of your kids, you may want them to know the story ahead of time so that they can follow along with the fast-pace on stage.

Read the book or watch the movie and talk about the characters, plot and resolution.

You could also listen to a cast recording of the music from an upcoming show to get the kids excited about what they'll be seeing.


Talk about theater etiquette

With any theater visit, talk about what will happen before, during and after the show. When do we need to sit still, and when can we walk around?

What should we do during the quiet parts of the show? When do we clap? 

My kids have a hard time sitting through the previews before a movie, so having to arrive early at a theater, find parking, find our seats and wait for the show is tough.

Many theaters will let you get up and walk down to the orchestra pit before the show, to peek in and even talk to the performers.


Tips for taking kids to the theater

Make the kids comfortable

To get through the wait time before the show, consider bringing some quiet activities to keep busy. Be careful about bringing iPads and other electronics, since many theaters won't allow cameras inside.

Some theaters offer booster seats, so ask when you arrive. For your sake, make sure your kids are well-rested and well-fed. I made this mistake once with my son and it won't happen again!


Follow up

After the show, talk about what they enjoyed about the performance, costumes, sets and other details. Discuss how the story was interpreted compared to whatever source you shared beforehand.

My son is always fascinated with the lighting, props coming from the ceiling, and any aerial effects, so we always have a lot to talk about.


Tips for Taking Kids to the Theater - live show musical play

Disney's Beauty and the Beast on Tour

The fabulous show Disney's Beauty and the Beast is returning to Washington DC this January 6-11th at the Warner Theatre. Tickets are on sale now! 

The show is currently on the West Coast and is traveling across the country over the next few months. Find tickets for your city.

Beauty and the Beast | Taking Kids to the Theather | MoneywiseMoms

Giveaway Time!

Whether you're a DC-area local or would like to travel in for the show, one lucky MoneywiseMoms reader will win 4 tickets to see Beauty and the Beast at the Warner Theatre for the opening night performance on Tuesday, January 6th. If you're reading this in an email or RSS feed, you'll need to click over to the blog to enter on the Rafflecopter widget.

This giveaway is open to the US and ends at 12:00 midnight ET on November 14, 2014. I'll email the winner, who will have 48 hours to repond and accept their prize. The winner will pick up the show tickets at the Will Call window.


Disclosure: Warner Theatre is providing the tickets for this giveaway, and my family is receiving tickets to see the show.
Original photo by Mickey Thurman on Flickr.

courtney gibson

Thursday 13th of November 2014

This would be my first time and my sons first time at the theater.

Stephanie Maldonado

Friday 7th of November 2014

Oh how my kids would love this!! So awesome of you to have such a great prize!

Stacey brumbaugh

Thursday 6th of November 2014

This would be my girls first trip to the theater!


Thursday 6th of November 2014

This would be the first time, but I think the girls would love it!

Geraldine Erikson

Thursday 6th of November 2014

Would love to take my daughter to a show.