Kids these days - they absolutely love ANY element of a surprise. If you have any desire to question this I ask you one thing - have you ever given a child under five the freedom to choose what they want to watch on YouTube? I can confidently say if they weren't watching their favourite show they would be more than likely watching a pair of hands on a plain white table with a colourful backdrop opening a plastic shaped egg or a pre-packaged toy and stay thoroughly engaged because they love the….SUPRISE!
SO that's why in my home I implemented The Dinosaur Box! The idea is that each week we pick a theme from The Dinosaur Box and we have a focus, an outing somewhere in Perth or it's surroundings and some simple, cost effective activities.
The Dinosaur Box - MUSIC theme
I like to pre plan the theme by popping everything in the box the night before and at least it’s a surprise to the kids, which is all that matters, right? I have a 3.5 year old child with a very interesting imagination, so I like to let him be part of the planning once we know the theme. For some, this may prove challenging but to just give them some say in the planning will empower and engage them. This concept suits all parents and families and can aid those that need structure or to subtly introduce structure in a light and fun way.
So the theme of this week is MUSIC! Music is amazing and there is NOTHING bad about it. Mummy finger, mummy finger where are you?... here I am, here I am... Ok, I'll stop.
Actually, there is one not-so inviting thing that comes with music - the cost of music and dance lessons, which not everyone is in a position to commit to whether it be time poor or budget conscious. Some kids, like mine, are often just too overwhelmed and some don't respond well with so much structure and the last thing we want to do is scare them off such an important subject in child expression so early in life.
So if your little one loves music or you’re not quite sure if its "their thing", check out Jump and Jive. At only $5 per family, it's a relaxed, affordable introduction to music. It is run by a couple of ladies who use a range of fun songs and colourful props (some you may even have in your home) to engage the children. Not only is this a great little class BUT it also includes a VERY decent morning tea not only for your children but for YOU too! This is a fantastic opportunity for your child and yourself to socialise.
Jump and Jive
Now let’s talk outings and activities. There was a whole bunch of activities I could have done with music like make your own instruments out of cardboard and elastic bands, but we decided to MAKE OUR OWN CONCERT!
After seeing the Play School concert, we discussed what would be needed, to which my 3.5 year old answered with "a stage, some lights, instruments, something nice behind us and some different stuff, dress ups and teddies and some stories." You can make a check list if your child needs it, otherwise help them gather some things, help with some of the set up if they need it and let them go for it!
Once this concert was set up it gave me soooo much free time and hours of giggly entertainment from my two-favourite people so ensure you have your camera handy. I left it set up for a week for them to play with.
They did all the work. All I had to do was…
Tape some wrapping paper of River's choice to a small portable clothes rack
Tape some screwed up tin foil to a toilet roll
Tape some cellophane to some plastic lids for lights
Write a sign on a piece of paper
Cut out some cardboard tress for his forest that I left River to paint
Oversee the bubble machine
As for taking them on a musical outing, I was lucky that I had the time and money to take them to Play School that week. Luckily, we are moving into summer, which usually means free family concert events in local Perth parks. You can also check out your local community markets and events because they often have children's entertainment. You may even be lucky enough to see my Perth based children's interactive stage show The Dinosaur Box. We often perform at Lindsey's Community Events along with other Perth entertainment.
The Dinosaur Box LIVE
As for the Play School concert this was perfect for us! It was so relaxed, authentic and comfortable. Play School really stayed true their style without going over the top.
Play School concert
Kids just love a surprise and for the few that don't, The Dinosaur Box is a great way to subtly introduce different themes and concepts, because we all know too well that life is full of......well...SURPRISES!
What's in The Dinosaur Box next week ?....I'm thinking....treasure!
This production of The Jungle Book relies strongly on physical theatre, from a young ensemble, and will incorporate puppetry, poetry, and animation, creating an eclectic style of theatre true to itself.