Smiling child wearing a homemade theater costume peeks through lavender stage curtains.

Let’s put on a show!

Creating a theater play at home might seem like an impossible task, especially for the uninitiated stage parent. But rest assured that you absolutely can help guide your child through making their own play, regardless of your experience.

Our 5-step guide shows you how to harness the power of pretend play for a magical all-day theater activity your imaginative kiddo will love! Lights up!

kids setting up play
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First, you’ll need to help your kids choose a place for their stage. This space can be indoors or outdoors – it’s really up to you! Backyards, playrooms, garages, family rooms, and basements all work equally well for putting on a play at home. Whichever location you choose, it doesn’t have to be fancy. You just need an area that’s okay to decorate (see Step 2!) and has enough room to accommodate the performers and perhaps a small audience. Have the kiddos decide where the audience should sit and where the actors should perform. If the space allows, consider hanging some bed-sheet curtains on a tension rod and adding string lights to highlight the stage area. Et voila! You have a stage for your theater play!

Theatre Play
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The next step lets you create two crucial theatrical elements simultaneously: the story and the set. We have free audio plays available through Spotify that include a complete adventure with narration, defined characters, and movement instructions. You and your kiddos may want to use one of those for your theater play, or you may choose to create a wholly original story. Other sources of inspiration could be your kids’ favorite books, songs, movies, or their raw imagination.

As you discuss and make decisions about the story, children can decorate the set. Set decorations might include drawings of story locations, craft projects, stuffed animals, house plants, or other items that help set the scene. If you’re using one of our audio plays or another source of inspiration, listen to it while decorating the set. That will help your kids get familiar with the story, spark some creative set decoration ideas, and encourage them to choose which character they’d like to portray.

Theatre Play
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Now it’s time to really ramp up the creativity for your theater play! Once each kiddo has chosen their character, they get to decide every detail about that character. Their name and personality, what they look like, how they dress, speak, and move. Kids can use household objects and art supplies to create props for the play, like magic wands and swords. Dip into the dress-up trunk or the back of the closet for interesting costume pieces. Anything goes in the theater!

Theatre Play
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The stage, set, story, characters, and costumes are complete. Now it’s time to bring the whole theater play together at rehearsal! Run through the story from the top several times to ensure everyone is comfortable with their roles. Stop and start again if you need to. Will someone welcome the audience to the theater before the play begins? Will the performers take a bow after the show? Is someone turning any lights on or moving any set pieces during the performance? Rehearse those moments, too!

Theatre Play
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Even a theater play at home needs an audience, so you’d better invite one! Guests might be friends, family, neighbors, or your child’s favorite stuffies. They might attend in person or virtually – whatever works best for you. Decide when your performance will take place. Have kids make tickets to the play and reach out to those they want in the audience. Before you know it, it’s time for the show. Get ready for the applause!

You’ll repeat this activity time and time again, and the outcome will never be the same. Your child’s imagination will grow, and their confidence will develop with each play; as a parent, so will yours! And, check out our Theater in a Box kits if you’re ready to plan your next at-home play. We’ll send helpful theatrical advice and creative tools right to your door. Happy theater-making!