Wednesday, 5 March 2014

First Experiences...........at the cinema!


                       We made our little girls day by taking her to the cinema

We have recently been going to the cinema a fair bit with our friends, and our daughter naturally wanted to know what all the fuss was about. Being 3, she loves to know just what Mummy and Daddy are going to do when we pop out with our friends for an evening (leaving her supervised, of course!) and although we had told her we were seeing a film at the Cinema, she had no idea what a cinema was!

She has already had the theatre experience on a couple of occasions, which she took to very well. The cinema seems the next obvious step, but I was still concerned that she was a little young and would not like the experience. Most cinemas and Internet sites recommend that 4 is the youngest at which a child should start going to the cinema, as this is when they can begin to understand more complex story lines and have the patience to sit for a longer period of time. Of course, it is down to the child themselves though. We had been watching some films at home as a family to gauge how she would sit through a film, and the trip to the theatre had been an excellent indication of her abilities to concentrate for a long period of time.

Here are my tips for taking your child to the cinema for the first time:

1. Make sure your child is capable of sitting for a long period of time

2. Choose a film which is appropriate for your child. We chose Tinkerbell and the pirate fairy as there were unlikely to be too many "scary" moments in the film.

3. Make sure you explain to your child what it is like in a cinema. We told our daughter that there was a really big, loud television in there and that they turn off the lights so that we can see the television better. This prepared her for what would happen and put her more at ease. I also let her choose who she sat with and told her that she could hold our hand if she wanted.

4. Choose an aisle seat if you can, this allows you to go out if your child needs the toilet, or does not enjoy the film, without disturbing others too much!

5. Check your child is enjoying the film at various times whilst you are there. If they are not enjoying it, then ask them if they want to leave. They have to feel comfortable!

The other fantastic thing about the whole cinema experience is that it leads to some fantastic learning opportunities outside the cinema! My daughter's pre school have recently noted that many children have been going to the cinema in the half term holidays, and have created their own play cinema in the setting. My daughter told me they had popcorn too! It is great for imaginative play, as you can make tickets, film posters and create your own popcorn boxes as activities to add to the learning! You could even arrange a Hollywood day and get the children to dress as their favourite film stars!!

I have been involved in creating a cinema experience for some children in a setting too. We told the parents we were exploring this as a topic for the week and encouraged the children to collect tickets and show their friends to their seats! We even showed a film for a special treat and because we were close to a cinema, we even arranged a visit to see a film in a cinema, talking about the different things we saw.

The best thing about the experience with my daughters first trip was showing her the projector. I thought it was important to show her where the pictures were coming from. Some cinemas actually have windows into their projection areas to show people just how they are putting pictures on the big screen. This can be very interesting to a child who wants to know "How it works" (as my daughter has been asking about my new camera too!)

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