26 May 2009

No Business Like Show Business

Got a talented kid? (Of course you do!) Producers are searching North Texas for little stars in the making, around ages 8-12, to appear in the Dallas Summer Musicals engagement of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang starting June 23 at Dallas' Music Hall at Fair Park. Auditions are set for 5-9pm this Thursday, May 28, at the Majestic Theatre in Dallas. Kids, with a parent or guardian in tow, must arrive by 5pm and be prepared to sing 16 bars a cappella of an upbeat song of their choice. They should also be prepared to learn and perform a bit of simple choreography at the audition. Head shots and professional experience are not required.

Six kids (plus two alternates) will be chosen to play orphans in act 2 of the show, which will run through July 5. Children chosen won't receive compensation for their roles, but they will get a whole lot of performance experience. Start practicing!

15 May 2009

Get Ready for a Father-Filled June Edition!

Can you guess the house? (Or, the kitchen table?)
Here's a preview of the upcoming June Nesting feature, which will highlight the home life of a very artistic Dallas family.

Enjoy the preview and be sure to snag a copy of the June edition. Check back for a link to the story on DallasChild.com and to read more behind-the-scenes details from the photo shoot with photographer Scott Williams (shown in above image behind the camera).


08 May 2009

Let's Play!

Every now and then, a toy comes along that is so cool, it seems criminally unfair that it wasn’t around when you were a kid. We discovered just such a toy when the Playmobil Egyptian Pyramid arrived at the office just begging to be played with.

My girls (ages 8 and 4) were in a state of bliss when they saw the pyramid, which isn’t set to hit stores until August. We immediately started putting it together. After about two hours of hard work (no one would ever confuse me with an engineer), it was ready to go, and I can honestly say, it was spectacular. With hidden chambers, trap doors and neat features like collapsible stairs, the lucky little Playmobil figures had tons of space for exploring. The pyramid came with a sarcophagus (with a glow-in-the-dark skeleton inside that 8-year-old Maddie inexplicably named “Eugenie”), a tiny Tut and Anubis and what could be either guards or robbers (either way, they’re fun). There were even little treasures like golden vases, ankhs and stones, which I feverishly — and futilely — tried to prevent from getting lost. My kids very rarely play well together, but this miraculous toy kept both of them entertained for more than two hours on a rainy Saturday, and that alone makes it work the purchase price of around $100.

The Playmobil folks had also sent the Church playset, which we put together the next day. My younger daughter, Finley, is very much the girly-girl, so this toy appealed to her big time. This one was a bit more difficult to put together; I would definitely recommend setting aside a couple hours to dedicate to following the directions exactly. Once assembled, the church was beautiful, with tiny stained-glass windows, flower-strewn wreaths hanging from the ceiling and cute flower pots by the front double doors. The set came with a bride (complete with a lace veil) and groom, a minister and itty-bitty wedding accessories. There were also human kid-sized rings to add a dressy flair to playtime. I had also received the Bridal Couple With Wedding Cake set, and the cake even had a truly minuscule bride and groom on top (I honestly don’t know how they made it so small). Finley couldn’t wait to stage her own mini-weddings, and soon the bridal couple had time-traveled to ancient Egypt to fight off an evil, kidnapping King Tut. The set is available now for around $75.

I should say that both sets had quite a few tiny parts, so parents with children under 3 years old should be cautious. But older kids — both boys and girls — are sure to love dusting off their imaginations and bringing these toys to life. And any mom who’s sick to death of TV, video games and summer boredom can appreciate that. —Claudia

Playmobil toys are available locally, among other locations, at:

Learning Express, Dallas

Designs for Children, Fort Worth

Amazing Toy Creations, Dallas


06 May 2009

Triathlete Kids Compete (and Have Fun!)

At the soggy break of dawn on Saturday, May 2, kids from across North Texas challenged their bodies to complete the Historical McKinney Kiwanis KIDS triathlon (a sporting event in which athletes swim, bike and run), sponsored by the Playtri triathlon training club.

During the event, kids ages 7-10 were required to swim 100 yards, bike 2.5 miles and then run .5 miles. Participants ages 11-14 were required to swim 200 yards, bike 5 miles and run 1 mile.

I joined the ranks of volunteers who aided athletes with directions and traffic control. And, as a triathlete, I was astounded at the friendly competitiveness of the young participants. The kids whizzed by me on the bike loop — some of the kiddos even rode top-notch bikes made especially for triathlons (I was struck with a bit of bike envy!).

My favorite participant of the younger age category was a girl who rode a pretty pink one-speed bike fitted with a white wicker basket (shown at left). She was out on the course cycling to her heart's content with her head down and arms bent as she cranked up a hill. I was so inspired by this little athlete's devotion to the sport!

Congratulations to the participants and finishers of Saturday's race! And, kudos to the parents who encourage exercise and healthy competition. *More photos of the event coming soon!

Interested in signing your child up for a race? The following events are perfect for first-timers:

Frisco Youth Triathlon, May 31
Click here to register, find race details and read about training clinics just for kids.

4th-Annual Kids Tri at the "J", June 7
Click here to register and for race details.

9th-Annual Town North YMCA Kids Triathlon, July 19
Click here to register and for race details.

Kids Playtri Triathlon at Stonebridge Ranch, September 26
Click here to register and for race details.

Lifetime Fitness Kids Triathlon (Flower Mound), October 10
Click here for more information. Registration coming soon.

Trick-or-Treat Kids Triathlon, October 25
Click here for more race details. Registration coming soon.