Whether it’s sports, music, art, or another activity, as parents, we want to support our children’s interests. Different hobbies offer children different benefits. The performing arts are a great way for young people to meet friends, build self-confidence, and learn about literature. In honour of World Theatre Day (March 27th), we pulled together six reasons why participating in theatre is great for kids.
1) It builds empathy & compassion
Theatre portrays many different types of people with many different types of lives. Observing the unique ways people experience life allows us to get a better understanding of what other people go through and helps to encourage empathy. Whether watching a play or jumping onto the stage and acting, when you watch or portray a character in a storyline, you learn to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”. Children are able to see what it’s like to be a firefighter, or to be in a band, or to live in the wild, wild west. Being a part of these kinds of experiences can help children view the complex world from new perspectives and frame new settings for experiencing empathy and compassion for others.
2) It teaches teamwork
When we hear the word “teamwork”, we think of organized sports. However, theatre offers similar team experiences. Working together to stage a play teaches many tenets of teamwork. As a team, you must listen, work hard, and move toward a unified vision. If you don’t have your lines memorized, you will let other actors down. If you’re not paying attention, you may lose the pace of the show. Taking part in drama classes or being involved in a community production helps young people learn to work as a team to attain goals, and as we all know, being able to work well in a team is an important skill in every-day life.
3) It provides exposure to literature and history
Many plays are based on famous books or moments from history. Watching a performance that focusses on history or literature is a great way to bring important events or ideas to life. Often, a child’s first experience with an adaptation of literature is through a secondary medium. Theatre can be a great way to introduce them to classic fairy tales, short stories, and even poetry.
4) Self-expression is improved
The arts are a tremendous way to express yourself and theatre is no exception. Children can learn a monologue that inspires them, or sing a song from a musical that makes them happy; both activities being valid ways for children to express themselves. Additionally, playing games, day dreaming, and artistic expression are all great stress relievers. Children (or adults for that matter) can employ these under-valued skills in drama and use them as a great way to stay emotionally healthy. Read this article for additional stress relievers.
5) It helps to combat the fear of public speaking
Let’s face it, getting up in front of a crowd and giving a speech can be pretty scary. Drama classes can help your children get to their feet and combat that fear of public speaking. By practicing various theatre games or acting, they can build the right kind of confidence to stand in front of a group and feel comfortable and “improv” teaches them to be free thinkers in front of a group. Even if your children don’t want to be Broadway stars, participating in theatre activities can help them in many other careers as they grow older, including law, politics, and education.
6) It fosters creativity and inspires fun!
Creating theatre and participating in drama classes can help young people activate the creative parts of the brain which, like a muscle, encourages that creativity to get stronger and stronger. Having a strong creative side helps with problem solving and encourages children to think broadly. Here at Kidoodle.TV, we use and encourage creativity each and every day. Creative thinkers and problem solvers are an important part of the Kidoodle.TV team.
If you are interested in your children benefiting from theatre, take some time to find local drama classes in your community or to find a theatre company that specializes in plays for kids. Many of these organizations are charities or non-profits that have a mandate to ensure that their programs are accessible for families of all types.
Find out more about how you can celebrate World Theatre Day!
Do you have a little actor or actress in your family? What are some ways your little ones show off their creative sides?
~ Alicia & Jeremy