Today's post is written by Kristin Marks, a.k.a. cBus Mom . She writes a blog by the same name , which she created to offer suggestions and reviews of kid-friendly activities in Central Ohio. She also writes for Ohio Moms Blog and is a monthly contributor to Columbus Underground .

Here, she shares her experience at the Columbus Children's Theatre , the award winning professional theater that has been entertaining families for over 40 years.

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Columbus Children's Theatre: Engaging, fun and affordable By Kristin Marks, cBus Mom

I recently went with a friend and three little girls to see Rapunzel at Columbus Children's Theatre . We got the girls gussied up in their finest princess frocks and spent the afternoon enjoying the theater.

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous because the girls were not quite 4 years old (theater gives that as a suggested viewing age) and I worried that their attention spans would get lost in the middle, but that was not the case. Aside from a short game of musical laps, the girls did great at their first theatrical performance.

I think the elements the actors used to command audience participation helped keep the attention of little ones. The play was engaging and fun for the children because not only were the characters entertaining, but the children got to participate.

At the start of the show the audience was prompted to make certain noises or hand gestures when the witch came on stage. Each time the witch came out we all said in a scary voice "ooooohhh," and immediately there was giggling from kids - they loved being part of the production. Also, many times throughout the play there were chase scenes where an actor would run into the audience and sit in an empty seat.

Children were also asked to volunteer to be part of the show. Four adorable little ones acted as if they were a wall, and one little girl volunteered to be the prince's assistant. It was impressive to see how well the kids on a stage surrounded by people staring at them, and entertaining to see how they responded to the situation. I think my girl enjoyed seeing the possibility of getting on stage herself one day.

After the show the cast sat down and allowed children to come up for pictures and autographs. Kids were handing actors their playbills and ticket stubs, and parents were busy snapping photos.

It was quite fun, and quite affordable. My tickets were $13/adult and $10/child. Shows were offered during the afternoon and early evening.

Upcoming plays:

The Boxcar Children : February 4 - February 21 The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood : March 11 - March 28 Seussical The Musical : April 15 - April 25 Jack and the Beanstalk : May 6 - May 16

Tips for your trip to the theater:

  • Call a week in advance for tickets. I played a wicked game of phone tag with the box office. You can leave a message and they will call you back - usually the same day.
  • Shows are about 45 minutes in length.
  • It is a thrust type stage - meaning the stage is surround by the audience on three sides. Creates a very intimate atmosphere for the kids.
  • Eat beforehand so the kids can concentrate on the performance and not their empty bellies.
  • Read books that complement the play you are taking them to see. It will make it more fun if the kids can make connections and feel familiar with the story.
  • Don't make your child meet the actors. My daughter would not come out from her chair to save her life to meet the actors. She was scared. I asked the actors to wave at her, and they were kind enough to wave and smile at her. I gave them her playbill to sign for her memory box.
  • Bring a camera. The actors will take a picture with your child after the show.
  • Parking - be prepared to park at a meter, so have coinage. Or be prepared with cash to pay to park in a lot. There is plenty of street parking and lots within walking distance.