Help your kids escape the four walls of your house by encouraging them to engage in imaginative play. Camp Showbiz virtual camps from the Magik Theatre offers an escape for kids ages 3–17. My kids participated in camps this summer. I want to tell you about their virtual camp experience and share ideas from the teaching artists for getting your kids’ imaginations fired up, too.
For more ideas about summer experiences you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Summer of Learning.
Theater as Imaginative Play
Before multiple channels and social media, I was that typical 80s kid riding high on my bike with my older brother. We played “Mother May I” and “Simon Says” with our cousins. We got dirty, pretending to make pizzas out of dirt and leaves, using trash can tops. We drank from the front yard manguera and cooled off when the sun came down. There was no hand sanitizer to speak of.
Now fast forward many years later, I have two kids of my own. With so much indoor options from Zoom to Netflix, I forgot what it was like to see my little ones have that same imagination.
Without our doing, our children tend to stay plugged in for a bit longer, and as a result of COVID-19, our options were limited to staying at home—which only increased our screen time.
If you are family like myself, choosing to stay at home, it feels like your options are limited. Through the help of the Magik Theatre’s digital Camp Showbiz, there is still so much you can do by creating small mini adventures. I haven’t seen this much imaginative play since I was a kid!
Imaginative Play for Children
Normally the Magik Theatre’s Camp Showbiz is a popular magical selection of themed items for kids to practice together on stage, with group and smaller break-out activities. As a result of COVID-19, spaces are understandably now more spread apart, and Magik is sharing their courses online. Students log in to classes and follow instructions from the teaching artists. They also get projects and challenges to work on at home before meeting with their teachers again.
My five-year old son took a one-week Paw Patrol online session, and the theme was heroes. I watched him play quick sand and drive around in a high speed “car” chase in our dining room. Super hero make believe games brought out so much imagination in him.
My 9-year-old daughter is entering her pre-teens, so it was a toss up to see if she would get involved in imaginative play. Sometimes she is “too hip for mom.” But behind closed doors, she took to the Disney Descendants two-week session like a charm I know this because I could hear her (from behind a closed door) dancing and prancing about, practicing her choreography for her upcoming “Chillin Like a Villain” performance.
Packages of craft supplies were kindly shipped to our door. I watched my son and daughter practice breathing and movement exercises and loved that they were sharing arts and crafts activities together during their “away” screen time. The session began on a Monday consisting of a daily one-hour Zoom session with a camp teacher and seeing other camp faces. The program ended on a Friday with happy tears of joy knowing my kiddos are walking away with something special.
Over this week, it was refreshing to see the Magik Theatre’s online Camp Showbiz take simple treasures like pretending to be a famous superhero or having a scavenger hunt extravaganza in your living room to spark the creativity and imagination of our little ones. Whether you can afford to sign up your kiddos to an online session or try out different things at home, my biggest advice is to help your kids open up their imagination. You don’t need a big budget to do that. You would be surprised to see the joy and wonder of pretend. And in this new space of uncertainty, it’s nice to know that this experience can create positive memories of pretending!
Charter Moms Chats
Watch Inga Cotton’s interview with Anthony Runfola, Artistic Director of the Magik Theatre, on Charter Moms Chats.