Tuesday, March 28, 2017

TV That Can Inspire Young Minds

I remember the first time my son took the stage. He was playing the part of a clown in the summer program theater camp at a local middle school and he didn't seem that happy about his role. In fact, he was the saddest clown I ever saw. Despite that, he delivered his lines perfectly and his timing along with his physical comedy really sold the audience; so much so that I heard guffaws from the crowd. 

From then on, he was hooked on theater. His creative side resides in performance. Even growing up, we would spend hours upon hours of playtime dressing into different costumes and coming up with characters. He especially loved it when Daddy became Lobster Man who could only be thwarted by a fake stick of butter and a play lemon that would bring me back to my senses.  

Most kids love to play pretend, but my son really showed his true creative side when he wrote and performed an original play which sometimes didn't make all that much sense to most of the adults in the room but we applauded loudly anyway when the final curtain fell. 

In this play his lines were hilarious. His gags were innovative. And with a little help from dad his costumes were on point. I could see a look on his face that said "I'm meant to do this" That's when our star was born. 

Since then, he's taken part in plays at our local YMCA, taken after school acting and singing workshops and even starred in a major role as Judas in Godspell Jr. I had a moment of clarity when I heard this amazing voice singing the opening song called "Prepare Thee (The Way of the Lord)". It was my son. I never heard him sing it before and I was floored. Then he sang the most amazing rendition of "All For the Best" and I couldn't help but smile. He was meant for this. 

I'd like to say that I got him here but I'm just not the scheduler. The reason he was there in the first place is due to his mom. Always on the lookout for the best experiences there are for young actors, she has consistently found him ways to express himself creatively through acting, music, and song. Parents, the arts are such an integral part to a child's development and can really help them flourish.

Shows like Julie’s Greenroom on Netflix are a prime example of what learning about creativity can mean to a child. In this show, Julie Andrews interacts with a cast of children, who are puppets, that learn everything it takes to be involved in the theater from lighting terms, to tech support, orchestra music and production. 

Kids will learn exactly what William Shakespeare has contributed to the English language and what kind of ghosts lurk around a ghost light on stage at night.Julie's Greenroom is the perfect way to show your kids that the performing arts are not only fun, but they can build character too. 

My favorite feature is to hear from current stars like Idina Menzel, Alec Baldwin, and Chris Colfer about what the performing arts meant to them as children.  With brief bios on their own lives and just how young they started acting and performing, it has become an inspiration to my own children who were amazed to see what Elsa really looks like in flesh and blood. 

My kids are learning all about what it takes to write, perform, and act out a performance with the help of this show. So, we took inspiration from shows that promote music, art, and theater like The Beat Bugs, Ask The Story Bots and Julie’s Greenroom to create our own characters of Kip, Peri, and Walter as sock puppets. The resulting process is a performance we like to call, The Kangaroo and the Slug, written, performed, and produced by my three talented kids. 

Want to get your kids involved in the performing arts? Use the prompts below from Common Sense Media to get started with your kids and get creative together. 

This post was written on behalf of Netflix as a part of their #StreamTeam program. All opinions expressed are solely my own. 

1 comment:

  1. Great post Chris! I can totally image you as a lobster being revived with some lemon. And from one art guy to another, thank you for passing on the love to your kids. No doubt as the grow into (tall) adults, they will bring fresh ideas and inspiration to others in your footsteps! Cheers. -Joshua H.