Rainbowtown: A Play That Teaches

Taking kids to the theater expands their cultural and intellectual horizons. Read how MomSpeaker Marissa Kiepert Truong used the Two Ducks Theatre Company's play Rainbowtown as learning experience for her preschooler.

My 4-year-old and I recently had the pleasure of learning together in a unique way, thanks to Two Ducks Theatre Company's original play titled Rainbowtown.

The plot of Rainbowtown focuses around Queen Annie, who lives in  "graytown" where everything is "fine." But she wants life to be a little more than just fine, so she sets off in search of a new place to call home. As she travels from town to town looking for her new residence, children are taken on a colorful, interactive journey that includes music, audience participation and lots of laughs.

What's the real value of Rainbowntown?

At the heart of the play is a lesson for children on emotions and perseverance — two important topics in early childhood.

Talking about feelings with children is important to their social and emotional development. By doing so, children can better understand and interpret their own feelings and the feelings of others. Children with emotional competence also tend to have strong social skills, which are necessary for successfully interacting with adults and peers. Rainbowtown provides a unique opportunity for families to initiate a discussion about feelings which can strengthen skills in children that are not only necessary for learning new information but for succeeding in life.

Rainbowtown also teaches children skills regarding how to react in the face of adversity. Despite becoming discouraged after visiting a few towns that do not suit her liking, Queen Annie never gives up until she finds the place that is best for her to build her castle. Children may identify with her situation and reflect on how she copes and perseveres. By helping children learn how to react in difficult situations, parents can foster emotional skills, namely resilience.

Learning tips and activity extensions for Rainbowtown

It's always fun to discuss a movie or a play after you view it. Here are some conversation starters and activities based on Rainbowtown for promoting emotional development in young children.

  • How did Queen Annie feel at the beginning of the play?
  • How did Queen Annie feel at the end of the play, and why?
  • Can you describe a time when you felt like Queen Annie?
  • Which characters in the story did you like or dislike, and why?
  • Have you ever given up on something you've tried to do? Why? How did it make you feel?
  • Identify all of the colors and feelings in the play. Why do you think a particular color was paired with a certain feeling? Would you add any colors or feelings to the story?
  • Draw a picture of a time when you showed determination and perseverance like Queen Annie.
  • Queen Annie was upset in parts of the play. What would you have said to her to help her feel  better?
  • Identify and discuss what traits Queen Annie possessed that allowed her to persevere.
  • Read a book with your child about feelings such as My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss or The Way I Feel by Janan Cain.

I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy Rainbowtown with your child. Take advantage of this play as not only pure entertainment but also a cool learning experience, too!

You can catch the final performance of Rainbowntown at Radnor United Methodist Church in Bryn Mawr: Sat., Sept. 20, 11am.

Marissa Kiepert Truong, PhD, is a Chester County, PA mom and early education consultant. This post is adapted from her blog, Land of Once Upon a Time.

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