With entertainment just a click away, it can be tempting to leave our kids – literally – to their own devices. Let’s be real. Most of us are guilty of using smartphones and tablets (the ultimate pacifiers) to entertain our little ones from time to time. But many parents have started to question, “How much is too much screen time?”
We all know it’s important to give our kids opportunities to engage not just in virtual entertainment, but also entertainment that is real and tangible. But how do we do it without spending a fortune?
In my family, whenever we can, we like to trade screen time for live entertainment. But family outings to the theater or a theme park can get pricey fast. So, I was really excited to discover that Florida Studio Theatre has a Children’s Theatre program…and I was even more excited when I saw their prices.
Speaking of things that are “real and tangible,” this year’s first show of the season is a story about a certain famous wooden puppet who dreams of becoming a “real boy.” You know the one. A brand new rendition of one of my personal favorites, FST’s Pinocchio starts October 12.
TIP: Even though single tickets for Pinocchio are only $10, you can save even more if you subscribe to the entire Children’s Theatre Series, which includes 3 more shows and only costs $20. That’s just $5 a ticket. (Hello, groceries and diaper money!)
In FST’s production of Pinocchio adapted by Greg Banks, six craftsmen are fixing up the theatre, and have to tell the story of Pinocchio at the drop of a hat. They have to improvise, and use the objects around them to tell the story of the wooden puppet and his dream of becoming a “real boy.”
At the Theatre
Your kids won’t just be watching Pinocchio on his adventures – they do a good job of being interactive in the show, letting the kids help point Pinocchio in the right direction on his journey. The performers will ask for your family’s help throughout the play, so be ready to offer support and keep the little puppet out of trouble.
I got to chat with the Director of the show, Jason Cannon, and here’s what he had to say: “Children are going to love this play because it is full of joy, silliness, and suspense. In addition to simply having a fun and exciting time, hopefully they will take away the truth that they are capable of more than they think, and that their imaginations are far more powerful than they realize.”
Be sure to get their early. Before the show, your children can explore real marionette puppets and try being puppeteers themselves. And don’t forget to stay after the show, because the actors will lead a talk with the audience so your children can ask all about the story, the set, their characters, the props – about almost anything they want.
TIP: After the show, the actors will come outside of the theatre for a meet and greet. Make sure to stick around to take photos of your children with the cast and get autographs.
Fun for All Ages
This isn’t just an experience for your kids – it’s a meaningful experience for you, too. There’s nothing like rediscovering an old tale in a new way, especially when your little ones are discovering it for the first time. Getting to share their excitement and watch them go on an emotional journey with a new twist on one of your childhood memories is really special.
“This show reminds me how necessary it is to take journeys one step at a time, to cherish wisdom as something hard-earned and gained rather than given,” added Cannon.
Will you and your family be able to convince Pinocchio to go to school instead of playing all the time? Do you have what it takes to persuade Pinocchio to stay out of trouble?