Here is a question I hear a lot: “Is The Blue Man Group kid-friendly?”
My answer is a resounding YES! I started taking my son when he was 5 years old, tentatively wondering if it was a good idea or a total disaster. There is a LOT of stimulation throughout the show- from strobe lights to giant balls bouncing from the ceiling- and I didn’t know if it would be too overwhelming for him. To my absolute delight, giant belly laughs exploded from his tiny frame and the smile didn’t leave his face until bedtime. I came up with a few kid-friendly Blue Man Group activities that will get them excited for the performance OR continue the silly, creative nature of the show past the 90 minutes of nonstop entertainment.
Blue Man Group recently debuted a Centennial Wheel package– two Chicago icons for the price of one! If you purchase a full price Blue Man Group ticket, you receive a pass to Centennial Wheel free. Use code WHEEL when purchasing Blue Man Group tickets to receive an equal number of Centennial Wheel passes, which will be waiting for you at the Briar Street Theatre before the show.
Here are 5 ways to keep the magic going:
I don’t want to spoil any of the show surprises, but Twinkies are a big part of the Blue Man Group experience. As I watched, I started craving those delicious, sweet spongy cakes that I used to hoard when I was little. The thing about these nuggets of goodness is that they are filled with artificial ingredients. 39 of them to be exact. And if you remember the urban legend that a Twinkie could last forever, it might spoil your appetite. So why not make your own? (PS- if you want to use a box mix instead of making the cake from scratch, I fully support your actions. May I recommend Pillsbury Purely Simple Cake Mixes or one from Simple Mills? This also makes the baking of this Blue Man Group treat a little more kid-friendly for younger ones, but I find measuring out ingredients to make the cake from scratch helps my older child with math.
2 5×9″ loaf pans, buttered and floured
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 cups flour
1 T baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 T vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
1 cup buttermilk (or use 1 cup regular milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar)
1 7.5 oz jar marshmallow creme
8 T unsalted butter, softened
1 t vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 325°F. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
2. Beat butter and vanilla on medium speed until creamy.
3. Add sugar and mix for a minute, then add oil slowly and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
4. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition.
5. Reduce mixer speed to low, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk. Continue mixing on low until batter is smooth.
6. Distribute batter evenly between two pans.
7. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until toothpick comes out clean.
7. Let cakes cool completely on wire rack.
For the filling:
1. Beat marshmallow creme, vanilla, and butter until smooth. Put into piping bag.
2. After cakes have completely cooled, dig a small channel on the bottom of one cake and the top of the other.
3. Pipe filling onto the top channel along the cake, making sure it is high enough to fill the channel on the bottom of the other cake.
4. Add cake on top.
Recipe adapted from leitesculinaria.com
Musical Wine Glasses
The Blue Men are notorious for making instruments out of everyday objects, and your kids will love making a mini band from items they find around the house. This kid-friendly Blue Man Group-inspired instruments can provide hours of fun if you change up the amount of water in each glass and try to play your favorite childhood tunes like Twinkle Twinkle.
What you need:
8 wine glasses
Ok, don’t use your Tiffany wedding toasting flutes for this one, but if you have those generic catering wine glasses they should be sturdy enough to withstand a little tap.
*Please provide parental supervision for this, and if you think your kids can’t understand the term “tap gently” opt for another activity.*
Line up 8 wine glasses and put graduating amounts of water in each. Varying by 1/8 cup of water can provide enough of a change in pitch to create notes. Use the spoon to gently tap each glass and try to create a song.
I remember when I was little, there was a store that let you make your own splatter art t-shirts with puffy paint. The shirt was on a spinning wheel, and you dribbled paint as it spun, watching the colors run to the side due to centrifugal force (yay, physics!).
If you have seen the Blue Man Group, you will know what this is in reference to (hint- it involves paintballs and a blue mouth). There is a pretty easy way to create your own spiral art at home with a salad spinner, a paper plate, and paint (I recommend acrylic or tempera- something washable unless you want your salad to turn colors). Place the plate in the spinner, add top and spin. Remove top and drizzle paint- watch as it creates splatters and spirals!
Catch a Marshmallow
Although the Blue Men have mastered the skill of catching marshmallows in their mouth, it can be a little dangerous for kiddos. My version involves a Solo cup and your head! One person launches the marshmallow and the other tries to catch it in the cup that is pressed to their forehead or top of the head. The person with the most catches out of 10 is the winner!
Since there is no talking on stage at Blue Man Group, a lot of information is conveyed through facial expressions, hand gestures, and acting. Charades is a time-tested game and can be played at all ages. Even my four year old understands the concept, and we use pictures instead of words for her. There are some fun apps that make Charades more portable than lugging a box of cards around with you. Sometimes we do this while in line for an activity while waiting for meals at a restaurant or as a Friday Night Pizza & Games activity. Heads Up and Charades! Pictures are two apps that we have used- the person guessing holds the phone to their forehead and their teammates try to describe the item on it. Reverse charades, but still a great way to get everyone involved! If you want to go the traditional route, PlayCharades.net has a word generator and scoring system.
I hope you are able to take your children to this kid-friendly Blue Man Group experience!
Cheers to finding an activity that you AND your kids enjoy!
Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to the Blue Man Group and Centennial Wheel for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own as always.