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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York’s theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we’re passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

Create a furniture-rocket, discover a new planet and make a new friend in this Family Activity!  For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past Family Activities on our blog and at Pinterest.com/NewVictory.

Furniture Rocket

In The Way Back Home, The Boy flies all the way to outer space using his bed as an airplane. In this activity, invent your own furniture-mobile and fly all the way to the moon!

Materials: Paper, crayons/markers, a flashlight

Step One: Choose a piece of furniture in your house that you would use to fly to the moon (maybe your bed? Your chair? Your pillow?) and name your spacecraft. 

Step Two: After you choose your spacecraft, turn off the lights as outer space is very dark. Grab your flashlight, a grown-up and get ready to fly to the moon on your furniture-rocket! 

Step Three: Pretend you're flying and imagine all the sounds you may hear. Try to use only sound effects (no talking!) on your way there. Use your flashlight to find your way. Shine it on different things in the room and pretend they're flying through space.
  • What sound does your spacecraft make as it blasts off? Is it a loud motor? Does it make a whistling noise?
  • As you leave Earth and enter outer space, what does it sound like? Is it quiet? Is it loud?
  • Woah! A shooting star just whizzed past you—what did that sound like?
  • You're making a turn around the Sun to get a full view of our solar system—can you hear noises from faraway planets?
Step Four: You finally made it to the Moon! Explore the ground.
  • What does it feel like when you walk on the Moon? Can you float? Can you jump?
  • What colors do you see in this new place?
  • Imagine what you see when you look at the sky from the Moon. Can you see the Earth?
The Best Place in Space

Did you know that outer space is so big, we don't even know how big it is? In this activity, be your own space explorer and discover a brand new planet in outer space. 

Materials: Downloadable template, crayons/markers

Step One: Use these questions to start a conversation about planets:
  • What is a planet?
  • Are all planets the same? What makes them different?
  • Which planet do humans live on?
  • Are there other creatures that live on other planets?
If you don't know the answers, do the research together to figure it out. Go on the internet and look up pictures of space and planets! 

Step Two: Download and print this worksheet. 

Planet Discover

Step Three: Take your furniture-rocket (from the previous activity) and travel to your new planet! 

Alien Puppet

If you were traveling on a big trip to outer space, you wouldn't want to do it alone! Make a creature that you think would live on the planet you just discovered. 

Materials: Two paper plates, clear tape, scissors, stapler, clear plastic cup, paper, crayons/markers

Materials
Step One: Trace your plastic cup on the piece of paper to get a sense of how big you should make your alien. Draw an alien inside of the shape and cut it out. 

Step One
Step Two:  Design and decorate your alien. Make sure to do both sides! 

Step Two
Step Three: Now it's time to make your spaceship. Put two paper plates on top of each other with their edges touching and staple them together. Using scissors, cut a slit in the top of your spaceship.
 
Step 3
Step Four: Slip your alien into the slit and secure it with tape. Then, decorate your ship!
 
Step Four
Step Five: Put four small pieces of clear tape on the bottom of the plastic cup. Secure the plastic cup to the top of the spaceship on top of the alien.

Step Five
Step Six: Take your spaceship on a flight! Where can it land?

Step Six

 
Family Activities

We invite you to share a giggle, try some new moves and deepen your understanding of the performing arts with our Public Engagement Activites, Arts Express and Talk-Backs! 
 
Twitter   What piece of furniture did you turn into a rocket?
Share a photo of it with us on Instagram or Twitter, #NewVic.
Facebook   How did your alien and planet turn out?
Like us on Facebook and share with us!
Posted by Beth Henderson
 

 

The Way Back Home Puppets A still from The Way Back Home, Photo: Teater Refleksion
As the Arts Enrichment Coordinator at LearningSpring School, a school for students on the autism spectrum, I make it a priority to create opportunities for my students to experience the New York City cultural community. 

Our Magnolia class (kindergarten), will see The Way Back Home at the end of March. Early experiences of theater can shape students’ understanding of the world and the New Vic provides theatrical experiences that challenge what theater is and can be. If young children are presented early on with varied and imaginative examples of theater, they're more likely to explore varied possibilities and experiences in the future. Bringing young students to the theater is also critical for the development of their imagination. Theater is imagination come to life, and if children experience it in this way at a young age, they are opened up to possibilities before their worldview begins to form. The possibilities are endless! 

Developing and stretching students' imaginations through theatrical experience allows work in the classroom to be equally exciting, creative and inventive. As a teacher, I try to meet this challenge by building the show into our curriculum and our work in the classroom. For my young students, this not only prepares them to see the show, it allows them to fully experience the show by enacting artistic elements, diving into the story and connecting the experience of the show to their everyday adventures. In preparing to see The Way Back Home, we engaged in many adventures in the classroom:
 
Experimenting with the form:
When I start to teach a show, I usually begin with the element of the show that is the most foreign to my young students. In the case of The Way Back Home, we began with sounds. In watching the trailer, I noticed the unique soundscape created by the puppeteers as they told the story. We started by listening to sound effects and making movements to go with what we think the sound effects may be (riding an airplane, walking on the Moon, meeting a martian).  

 


The Way Back Home Puppets Aliza Greenberg's puppet making activity
Experiencing the story:
Small objects and puppets are used to tell the story in the play. We created small, puppet versions of ourselves, using pipe cleaners, tape and paint. We then went on a journey with our puppet-selves! This activity challenged us to use our imagination to see objects in a new light. We used dollhouse furniture to model what happens in the show, thinking of all the things the furniture could be and using sound and movement to bring the action to life. 

Stepping into the world:
The Way Back Home includes a trip to the Moon, so we physicalized our own walk on the Moon in our classroom! We used pantomime to fly to the Moon and explore, practicing spacewalks and soil experiments.  Students shared what they might see on the Moon and who they might meet. Sitting and watching theater can be hard for the very young, but given the opportunity to act it out ahead of time, the action on stage can be better understood and more interesting to watch. 

Preparing to see the show:
The book on which the play is based also provided an excellent way to explore and prepare for the show. We read the story several times, sometimes physicalizing different moments. For every show we go to at LearningSpring School, I create a social story, a story about what to expect on our trip. We read the story to help us prepare to go to the theater. After reading about the trip and learning about the show, the students can't wait for their theatrical experience!

Last year, I took my youngest students to Handa’s Surprise. They still sing the music from the show. Seeing a show at The New Victory Theater was a very memorable moment for them and I have no doubt seeing The Way Back Home will have a big impact on this new class of students.  
 
 
Aliza Greenberg Aliza Greenberg is the Arts Enrichment Coordinator at the LearningSpring School, a school for students on the autism spectrum, where she teaches the arts and coordinates cultural partnerships. Aliza is also the Project Leader for Supporting Transitions with the Museum Access Consortium and a consultant with Trusty Sidekick Theater, CO/LAB Theater, and other arts organizations. B.A., Bryn Mawr College; Ed.M., Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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