Introducing Musicals to Children

Last summer, in an effort for my husband and I to relive our own childhood, we introduced our five children to the 1992 film, Newsies.

We do things like that often… Buying the them ‘retro’ remake of toys we had when we were kids, blaring songs from our high school years that we had ‘burned’ on cds and having family movie nights of all the classics from our 90’s childhoods.

Few things have reached our kids the way the Newsies did.

I have to be honest and say that I actually wasn’t expecting the reaction that they had, but I also have to say that when my kids appreciate something that has any sort of nostalgic feeling, I’m all in.

Introducting Musicals to Children

It is simple really, introduce them and see where it takes you.

Introducing the Musical

We watched the movie as a family and as Carrying the Banner came on, I couldn’t help sing along. I wouldn’t believe anyone who says they can make it through the entire movie without humming along at least once.

When the movie ended, I knew we made a good choice because our eight year old was dancing around and mumbling the words as he brushed his teeth for bedtime.

The next morning we blared the soundtrack while making breakfast. And while doing chores. And driving to taekwondo. And pretty much every other waking moment.

Follow Your Children's Lead

Not long after they were claiming characters.

“I’m Jack.”
“I want to be Cruchie.”
“Allie, you can be Les because you’re the youngest.”
“Ohhhh! Can I be Brooklyn? Never fear, Brooklyn is here.”
“Parker should be David.”


They were changing clothes and requesting newsboy caps. I mean, they were this committed, who was I to withhold some priceless additions to our costume bin? Thank you, Amazon Prime!

When the caps arrived, they realized they couldn’t be a band of Newsies without having papers to sell. So they went to work to create ‘Kelley Times’ and filled it stories of heroics, catchy headlines and a cartoon section. After one was created, they commissioned me to create copies using my printer so they could get to selling their ‘papes.’

Introducing Musicals to Children

With all their hard work, the stage was set. It was a beautiful day, and by this point they had all their favorite songs memorized. So we did what was best, we cranked the speaker out the schoolroom window and they put on a performance on the deck.

Dancing, cartwheels, singing and simply… Over the top theatrics.

 Introducing Musicals to Children

I would say that was the finale to our Newsies lesson, but that was nine months ago and they still wear their caps (one child almost daily), request the songs and randomly throw out quotes from the movie.


When it was announced that  Newsies would be featured during an upcoming SQUILT LIVE! lesson, it renewed the passion and we added some literature that Miss Mary suggested for our read aloud time.

By also having the Listening Calendar, it has helped introduce our family to additional musicals that we would like to experience (The Sound of Music quickly became another family favorite and there is few things more adorable than hearing your children singing Do Re Mi while washing the dishes and folding laundry).

Instead of listening to just one song a day, we just turn on the playlist and listen to it entirely on random days throughout the month while we are playing or completing household chores.

For our family, appreciation for the arts is important. We have been members of SQUILT LIVE! for almost a year now and I still remember one of our first live lessons, where my husband got so enthralled that he couldn’t keep himself from listen along with the kids.


SQUILT LIVE! - Music Appreciation Made Easy

Sometimes a little exposure is all it takes for that foundation to be established, and I cannot think of a more simple way than inviting SQUILT into your home.

Currently there are six musicals in the SQUILT LIVE! archives. Members have access to these lessons, as well as all past listening calendars.

  • Hello, Dolly!
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • CATS
  • Mary Poppins
  • The Sound of Music
  • Newsies

About the author:
Betsy is a homeschool mom of five children and wife to Ben. She is in her sixth year of homeschooling and takes a relaxed, eclectic approach to educating her children. Aside from being outdoors, her homeschool days consist of lots of subscription letters, tea times, family read alouds, nature studies, and kitchen dance parties. She resides in rural northwest Wisconsin.



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1 comment

  • Great post! Inspiring story of fun, lived learning.

    I’m curious about something in your About the Author: what are subscription letters?

    Frances L

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