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What age do you start taking DC to the movies/play?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
To a children's movie and where they can actually last the entire time?

Or a play?

DH's cousin wants us to get together in April to see a play, her daughter will be 2, my DS will be 19 months then. The tickets are pricey so I want to kind of know that he'll get some enjoyment out of it. I'm thinking of taking him to a movie first to see how he acts.

I figure the movie is cheaper and can be a test run.
post #2 of 45
I went to the theatre for the first time at two and was fine. My sister was a bit older because she couldn't keep still or quiet for five minutes.

So I'd say it's kid dependant. Trying a movie first sounds like a good idea.
post #3 of 45
Definitely kid dependent. My 5.5 yo still can't go to a movie and sit through the whole thing silently. The only plays he did okay at were the ones my older two kids did after acting camp. The last day, they did a series of really short plays (like 5 - 10 min) and DS did fine. But then they were in Treasure Island and I was wishing I had left youngest DS home!

What is the play? The children's theater here lists appropriate ages on their plays. Like "most enjoyed by families with children age 5 and up" or whatever.
post #4 of 45
it depends on what is playing. that seems really young to get your moneys worth of entertainment out of it. its about more than just ebing able to sit through it. If they are not excited to go then why bother? I would honestly wait until my kids were old enough to ask to go. express interest first. if, however, it is a show like blues clues live or something where they may already be familiar with the characters, there would be active audience participation (singing and dancing) and you know they are not freaked out by charachters in costume they are probably old enough to enjoy it even if they weren't begging already.

the kidsin question seem really young to really enjoy it though. why not just find a small community (free) childrens theater fitst? get them used to it.

and theater is so much different than something on a screen. a 19 month old my enjoy watching dora every day but its likely not because she enjoys the characters or story lines. its more likely the music and flashing screen. theater does not have that same mezmerizing effect that a TV does but a movie might. although the sounds and lights and hiant people on a movie might seem scary to a baby.
post #5 of 45
Definately kid dependant. I would have taken my oldest child to a play or movie at 2.5, but I still cannot take my youngest to a movie and expect that she will sit through the entire thing and she just turned 5, as she is easily bored by movies.
post #6 of 45
My DD was 4 when she saw her first movie. I think she was closer to 5 when we started going to plays. We go to plays a lot, but they're always geared for kids so that keeps her interest.

being able to sit through it vs. getting enjoyment out of it are 2 different questions
post #7 of 45
I agree it is kid dependent. Live music and/or theater will always keep my kids attention better than a movie - so I don't know if I would use that as a measure. I don't think I would buy expensive tickets for kids under three. I have two four year olds and a six year old and its been my experience that once they hit three they could sit for a one hour production, but not much beyond that. Now that they are a bit older they can manage to sit a bit longer. My kids are very active so take this advice with a grain of salt. It would just be a bummer to spend a lot of money and have to walk out of a performance. Maybe try something on a smaller scale first.
post #8 of 45
I think younger than two is really a waste of money, and stressful on you. It also depends on what the movie/play is, and how long it is, and if you are willking to let the kid eat candy/popcorn to get through it.

My kids started with kid movies at the theater at three (well, dd3 was younger as her older sisters wanted to go).

Finding Nemo was easier for her to sit through than Cars - which honestly bored me to tears too so I was happy to take her to the pet store across the street halfway through.

Nutcracker? Forget about it! My super well-behaved 13, 9 and 6 year old girls (who all take dance and love it) complain or fall asleep during it.

Honestly, younger than three (unless it is specifically FOR toddlers) is just a waste. I'd wait.
post #9 of 45
DD2 is 3, likes movies but can't still through one yet. I remember DD1 being a little past 3.5 before she could sit there the whole time. We go to friend's plays often and I end up walking the halls with DD2, and the same thing if I take all of them to a movie.
post #10 of 45

Depends on the Kid

It totally depends on the kid. Our oldest was the kind of baby and toddler you could take anywhere. When she was two we took her to a two and a half hour production and she sat transfixed, with her eyes as big as saucers. At 2.5 she did fine at the nutcracker. Our only issue was that, although I had seen that particular production before, I'd forgotten how "scary" the rat king bit was.

On the other hand, older DS is 20 months and he only got through DD's Christmas concert because we so happened to have a box of candy canes with us. When we go to the puppet shows at the library, a lot of the kids under the age of 2.5 or 3 can barely handle sitting quietly on a carpet square for fifteen minutes.

I agree that little kids are usually more easily engaged by a live production than a movie.

Anyway, if you've got a toddler who would enjoy a play and who would be able to sit through it, you'll know it.

If you do decide to go, here's my tip. We've taken older DD to a lot of live shows, and when she was small she never sat in her own seat. Often she couldn't keep the folding theatre seat down, and she could never see over the person sitting in front of her. Since she was always in somebody's lap anyway, I started buying two single seats instead of looking for two seats together if that allowed us to get a better seat. We would both sit in the "good seat" and the other would be left empty.
post #11 of 45
my dd loves movies, she sat thru her first movie at abt 2....we didn't let her watch too much tv so she was all into the movie. took her to the ballet in feb though (she was 6) and she couldn't keep her eyes open, even though she was super excited to go.
post #12 of 45
We've never gone to the movies (dh and I don't either..ever) so no experience with that. However, my sone was 6 months old when I started taking to him to local concerts, 2 for his first child geared play (but a full on stage production play for elementary aged children), and 2 for the symphony's youth program (the sit down forum, not the move around type of concerts they have). He is the type of kid who did fine in all of these scenarios, but I do think there is a big difference between a movie on a screen and a live performance. It also depends on the subject matter. At 5 years old my ds now enjoys the adult symphony programs, plays and recently the ballet (Nutcracker). Try it and see how it goes!
post #13 of 45
5 or 6 for a movie, about 7 for a play. But then, my kids are hyper sensitive to sound and atmosphere, so they find a lot of things scary that other kids don't. Dd is 5 1/2 and we tried a play this fall and she didn't even make it past the dimming of the lights -- she was freaked out by the experience. We might try a movie when she turns 6. Ds saw his first (and only theater) movie at 5 1/2, and his first play at 8.
post #14 of 45
We took DDs to their first movie ever last week and they did really well. They're almost 5 and almost 3.
post #15 of 45
We started taking Tyr to the Drive-In as an infant. He always loved them....For a real movie theatre the first movie he fully sat through and enjoyed was this summer at G-Force he was about 2.5y.

I forgot to add....we took Tyr to the Wiggles at just under 2 and he loved it! That is quite interactive though
post #16 of 45
depends on the child and one what's playing.

What seems really odd about the OP is the comment that the play is pricey. The type of theatre my kids enjoyed when they were very young was inexpensive. Children's plays are usually shorter than feature films and more engaging, so I don't think a movie is a good test.

Even at a children's theatre, not all plays are suitable for all ages. Many theatres include suggested age ranges for each production, and I'm curious what they are for the play you are considering.
post #17 of 45
Like others said, probably depends on the child. But for my dds movies and plays are very different. They are easily frightened by the mildest drama in videos (we don't watch tv at all and the few times they've been exposed to videos they were uncomfortable as soon as there was any tension) but at 2.5 would sit through live productions easily, especially if there was music and dancing.
post #18 of 45

Know your kid

I don't think there's an "age." You have to know your kid. Mine has been to a couple of taiko drumming performances (up to 2 hours long) and been transfixed. She's very observant and follows cues of how other people are behaving. However, she has virtually ZERO interest in TV/movies, as she seems to prefer things that seem interactive/real, so I wouldn't try to take her to a movie yet.
post #19 of 45
How long is the play? Is there an intermission? How interactive is it - do the performers get the kids to sing and dance along, or do they have to sit quietly throughout? What is the venue like - a typical indoor theatre where they will have to sit still, or an outdoor concert where they can roam a little on the grass?

As others have noted, many productions will indicate the age range - and it's common to see "not suitable for children under age ____".

If you go, please be prepared to have to leave during the performance if your children are unhappy. It isn't fair to others in the audience if they are whining, crying, fussing and generally disturbing others' enjoyment. Everyone else has paid for pricey tickets too...they should get to enjoy the performance in peace.
post #20 of 45
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
depends on the child and one what's playing.

What seems really odd about the OP is the comment that the play is pricey. .
Well there are 2 shows that DH's cousin was discussing us possibly going to. One was something to do with Sesame & Elmo (no flames please), I do allow my DS to watch Sesame street, the only show I allow. The other show is with Dora/Diego & the Backyardigans which my DS has no clue who they are. So the tickets even for the matinee are @ $55.00 each. I think I may wait!

Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
How long is the play? Is there an intermission? How interactive is it - do the performers get the kids to sing and dance along, or do they have to sit quietly throughout? What is the venue like - a typical indoor theatre where they will have to sit still, or an outdoor concert where they can roam a little on the grass?


I'd have to guess on the length, I'm sure more than an hour and maybe less than 2? I'm sure it's interactive (see above characters). But I' m really doubting us going now. I actually think my DS would like the Sesame street one but we can also wait, there will be other shows.
DH also said last night that he thinks DS will not sit through a movie anytime soon so maybe will just put the whole idea on hold for at least another year.
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