Are you practicing for the annual Christmas play yet? We just started full blown practice last night (though we have been doing read-throughs for a few weeks) and it was certainly a whirlwind of activity! Every year we think…. “This is never going to work!”, but every year, by the grace of God, the kids really pull through and do an amazing job! Of course, practicing is an essential part to the success of the play — particularly the dress rehearsal. So how do you motivate kids to attend the dress rehearsal? I’m so glad you asked.
Three Ineffective Ways to Motivate Kids to Attend Dress Rehearsal
1) Threaten to kick them out of the play if they miss practice (sad kids, mad parents, enough said)
2) Drive around in a big van to everyone’s house and promise them candy if they hop in and attend dress rehearsal (now that’s just creepy)
3) Tell them they have to come and hope for the best (doesn’t sound real promising)
One Effective Way to Motivate Kids to Attend Dress Rehearsal
Throw a party. Everyone loves a party, even if it’s just a few slices of pizza and some games. Throw some balloons around, call it a party, and kids won’t want to miss it. Of course, the party happens AFTER dress rehearsal, and only the kids who ATTEND dress rehearsal will be able to attend the party. Make sure to really hype up the fun factor (and deliver!) and make sure to let parents know about the plan. Also, be sure to take a picture of the full cast, in costume, right at the beginning of dress rehearsal. Let the kids know that you’re going to make it into a GIGANTIC poster and it will be on display at the church, but they only way they can get in picture is to be ON TIME to dress rehearsal.
When I first heard of this method (I think it was on one of Karl Bastian’s podcasts), I was a little skeptical at its effectiveness, but it worked great for our crew.
Here’s some of the fun we had AT Dress Rehearsal.
(We held our dress rehearsal on a Saturday morning from 9 – noon).
Here’s some of the fun we had AFTER Dress Rehearsal (PARTY!)
Pin the Nose on the Snowman
Everyone loves a blind fold!
Pin the Ornament on the Christmas Tree (as you can see, each ornament is a different point; gives a different twist to a traditional game)
Pin that ornament!
Shake the Box
This game is modeled after a Minute to Win it Game. I picked up a bunch of little decorative boxes at the Dollar Tree and put a different number of MnM candy in each one. The kids had to put the boxes in order, from the least amount of MnM’s (1) to the most (10). As you can see, they had to shake the boxes to determine how many MnM’s were inside.
Put them in order, guys!
In case you can’t see it, there are index cards at the front of the table, numbered 1-10 to help keep things in order.
I had this picture blown up to a huge poster at Walgreens (I think it costs around $27) and it hung proudly in the church’s gym for about a month.
Don’t Forget to Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
This is a busy time for EVERYONE, and it’s easy for a parent to forget about dress rehearsal if you only tell them one time. Put it in the newsletter, hand out flyers, tell the kids, put it on the bulletin board, make a poster — whatever it takes — get it down. You cannot communicate too much when it comes to stuff like this.
What About You?
What do you do to motivate kids to attend dress rehearsal (or play practice in general)? I’d love to hear about it!