Creative Child

The Best Plays or Musicals for Your Kids by Age

by Adam Young

There are few experiences more exciting for a child than their first Broadway musical or play. The bright lights, dazzling colors and buzzing energy of a stage show will remain in their memory for years after. However, not all shows are written with little ones in mind. It’s important to know which performances are going to leave the best lasting impressions on your kids, and hopefully turn them into avid theatre-goers themselves.

Common knowledge tells us that New York City is the heartland of musical masterpieces, and the home of Broadway. However, theatres across the nation host many hit shows when they go on tour, so you can often find a performance close to home. Before you buy tickets, keep in mind that most shows recommend children to be at least 5 or 6 years old, and many venues do not allow children under 4 to attend. 

Shows for Ages 6+

The Lion King

The beauty about this show—besides the world-renowned costumes, family-friendly hits and lovable characters—is its worldwide accessibility. Wherever you are, however old you are, The Lion King is a heartwarming, dazzling show. Head to the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway in New York City to see this timeless performance, or catch a show on tour at a theatre like the Music Hall at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Musical

Charlie comes to Broadway in this new musical, featuring your favorite songs from the original film, and a new score by the songwriters of Hairspray. You can see this memorable performance at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in New York City.


This Disney adaptation is bound to delight your little ones with its charming story, colorful production and beloved songs like “A Whole New World” and “Friend Like Me.” It also features several new musical performances not seen in the Disney movie version. If you’re on the East Coast, see the show in NYC. On the West Coast, find tickets at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, or Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.

Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical for Everyone

Your favorite sea sponge has moved out of a pineapple and into The Big Apple—at The Palace Theatre in NYC, to be exact. The score features original songs by music legends like David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper and The Flaming Lips, just to name a few. Kids won’t be able to get enough of this soundtrack—and neither will you! 

Shows for Ages 9+

School of Rock: The Musical

Based on the hit movie, and with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, this new show is loved for its hilarity and child-friendly writing. It’s an energetic, feel-good musical about Dewey Finn, a newly hired teacher who creates a rock band with his musically talented students. You can see School of Rock at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City, or on tour across the nation.


This renowned performance is “the untold story of the witches of Oz,” a prequel to The Wizard of Oz that has been on Broadway for over 10 years. It’s a powerful tale addressing themes like friendship, coming of age and good versus evil. Wicked is known for drawing nightly crowds to the Gershwin Theater in New York City, but you can also catch a performance on tour at venues like the Oriental Theatre in Chicago or the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis.


The story of little orphan Annie is a classic, one that many adults today have grown up with in their own childhood. Now’s the time to pass on the torch. See it on tour at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, or other venues across the nation. 

Shows for Ages 14+

Come From Away

Based on true events, this show is about a small Canadian town that welcomed thousands of stranded passengers from airplanes diverted in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001. The story can touch on some emotional themes, so it’s recommended for children at least 10 and older. You can get tickets at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre in New York City. Come From Away will begin touring North America in 2018.

Puffs: Or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic

A playful ode to everyone’s favorite boy wizard, this off-Broadway Harry Potter-inspired comedy is the story of secondary characters: “Hufflepuffs” who can be heroes too. Themes revolve around coming-of-age, the underdog and friendship. The show is recommended for ages 13+ due to some adult language, though they offer a cleaned-up performance on Saturday and Sunday afternoons for “wizards” 8 years old and older. See it at the New World Stages Theatre in New York City.

Adam Young is the founder and CEO of Event Tickets Center. His own two children are now teenagers, but he has fond memories of introducing them to the world of theater from an early age.

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