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Tips for taking kids to the theater

5 Tips for Taking Kids to the Theater

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Seeing a live show can be a magical and memorable experience. Whether you are visiting Broadway in NYC, the West End of London, or going to a show in your hometown, here are some tips for taking kids to the theater.

1. Think About a Show That is Familiar

Even with kid-friendly musicals, it can be hard to follow the plot sometimes. It will help if kids have a general idea of the story line. This can mean watching the movie version before seeing a show like The Lion King or reading the book before a show like Matilda.

2. Consider Time of Day

As you think about taking your kids to a show, keep in mind the timing options for shows. An 8 pm evening performance could mean a young child falling asleep during the production! Many shows offer matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays around 2 pm which may be a better option. Some family-friendly shows like Aladdin also start at 7 pm on select evenings so check the schedule of the show that interests you.

3. Think About Length of Show

Another aspect to consider when choosing a show is how long your kids can realistically sit and watch a live performance. The seasonal Christmas Spectacular with the Radio City Rockettes in New York City is only 90 minutes without intermission which works well for almost all ages, including younger kids. For most other musicals, plan on 2 1/2 hours with one intermission.

4. Choose Your Seats Carefully

Keep in mind that it will be harder for the youngest and shortest audience members to see the stage. When you purchase tickets, you can choose your individual seats, so think about your view as you purchase. One website that offers advice on specific Broadway theaters and seats is Broadway Link where you can get details on any show running in NYC.

Many kid-friendly productions offer booster seats as well, so I recommend arriving a few minutes early to make sure you get one.

5. Make a Plan for Snacks and Souvenirs

Once you are at the show, there will be an overwhelming selection of programs, t-shirts, CDs and snacks. We have found that the concession area has major appeal for our kids and that it helps to discuss in advance whether or not we are buying anything.

Watching a live show is an exciting outing and hopefully these tips on taking kids to the theater will help you make the most of your experience.

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Broadway photo by Kevin Poh / CC BY 2.0

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Susan is an enthusiastic traveler and mom to a 11 year-old boy and eight year-old girl. Originally from North Carolina, Susan is a Southerner at heart, although…

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