Every spring when I feel the need to declutter, something really frustrating happens. When I’m going through the kids things, I realize there are several things they got for Christmas (just six months earlier) and they almost never play with them. Sure, they were pumped about those gifts for a month or so, but then the new wore off and those toys are now old news.
Of course, as the mama who shelled out good money for those gifts, I’m not too happy to see those things go into the “donate” pile or the yard sale pile so soon.
So I’m trying to replace some of those presents that are “things” with presents that are “experiences.” When you have a great experience, you have the memory of it for years.
Some of the best experiences I’ve had with my kids happened at Walton Arts Center. For example, the day before my daughter (who was 3 1/2 years old at the time) had to go into the hospital to have her tonsils removed, I took her to her very first stage show at the Walton Arts Center. It was Beauty and the Beast, which just happened to be one of Kate’s favorite Disney movies.
I will never forget the look on her little face when those big red curtains parted and the stage came to life with all those characters she loved so much. She was absolutely transfixed by it. I’m not sure she blinked once during the entire show. She didn’t want to miss a second of it. That’s a picture of us on the right, standing in front of the Walton Arts Center after the show — smiling from ear to ear. It was an awesome day, and those happy memories gave us something fun to think about during the not-so-fun recovery from the tonsillectomy.
One of my favorite memories with my two boys is the time my husband and I took them to see a show called Potted Potter at the Walton Arts Center. It’s been more than six months since the show, and they are STILL talking about it and retelling their favorite parts of the show. If they had a chance to go see it again, they’d be the first in line to get tickets.
I say all this to remind myself and you, too, that giving our kids the gift of an experience is one of the smartest things we can do. It’s something we can do as a family, and it creates some great memories. It might even inspire your kids to explore the arts, try out for the school play, make something beautiful, etc.
Here’s a list of show tickets that you could buy for your kids now and wrap up for Christmas. Just be sure to get your tickets early, as some of these shows will definitely be sell-outs.
Broadway on Ice: If you love figure skating and the theater, this is an obvious choice for a great night on the town. The show also features incredible singers and musicians. This show is January 17-19, 2014. Click here for more info.
Still Awake Still: This show is part concert and part music theater, and it’s a funny show about the daily challenge of getting kids to go to sleep. (Can you relate? We can.) The show is full of fun surprises, and kids are encouraged to attend in their pajamas! The show is January 31, 2014. Click here for more info.
Cirque Ziva: This show features the amazing Golden Dragon Acrobats of China. The music, costumes and the stunning acrobatic feats will have your kids on the edge of their seats. This show is February 23, 2014. Click here for more info.
The Wizard of Oz: Sure, you’ve seen the movie. But have you ever seen a stage turn into the land of Oz? It’s a whole new twist on one of the most classic films of all time. This show is scheduled for April 1-6, 2014. Click here for more info.
Fluff: This show will be especially good for young kids. (Recommended age range is 4 to 10.) The story is about a family that travels the world in search of lost or discarded toys. Your kids will meet each toy that’s found along the way and see each one tucked safely into bed. This show is April 13, 2014. Click here for info.