Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Little Culture for a Little Money

Part of parenting (and dog owning for that matter - the stories we could tell about Hogan's puppy adventures) is exposing your children to new situations and experiences so that they can grow socially and culturally. We live in a big little town. It's not New York or Chicago and it's easy to bemoan the lack of cultural opportunities in our little neck of the woods. But, kids don't need Broadway to appreciate the arts. And, while Ella loved seeing the Wiggles Live when she was about 3, you don't have to feel limited to expensive pop-cultural shows that come through town. They are a fun treat, but I'd rather take the kids to the dollar movies than fork out money to see Dora on Ice (where after buying tickets, you are bombarded with souvenir & food purchases).
Ella has loved live performances since she was a toddler and we try to find opportunies for her to experience something beyond Sponge-Bob (her current favorite TV show) because frankly, the crabby-patty jokes are getting a little old.
Most symphonies have child or family friendly shows that are perfect for learning concert etiquette. But, you can find "cultural" events on a smaller (cheaper) scale too. We've purchased tickets to high school performances which are just long enough for Ella to sit through. Nick & I have sat through some truly awful shows, but Ella has loved them all. I think each of these experiences have helped her learn how to behave and appreciate how special each performance is.
I've been meaning to take Ella to the children's theatre in town for years. Last Friday, we had a girls night out with two other mothers/daughters from her class. We bought tickets to the Children's Theatre performance of the Jungle Book. The girls dressed up & had a fabulous time. Their friend's father was Shere Kahn in the show which made the night that much more exciting.
Ella was a little shy talking to the actors afterward, but did manage to get Shere Kahn's autograph (this reminds me of the time my mother made me ask our neighbor's girlfriend for her autograph - she was one of the princesses in the Indy 500 Court that year). The girls were all excited seeing the 2009-10 season line-up. Sleeping Beauty & Ramona are two definite must-sees. They are also performing the Secret Garden, so Ella agreed that we should read the book before we see the play. I think she'll really enjoy the performances where all the actors are younger than 18.

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