Your children are artists, of course. And what’s the one thing an artist craves most? Recognition. Well, that and a lucrative sponsorship. Whether they’re manning the camera, crafting the special effects, or doing Bruno Mars choreography, there’s a tiny part of your little one that is thinking about the crowd’s reaction to their brilliant perspective.
And these little creatives deserve a nod from the Academy. The Academy of parents, that is. If you are stuck inside during months of unsavory weather, or you want a creative way to celebrate the birthday of your biggest ham, then the perfect way to pass the time or celebrate is to organize your own family music video awards show to showcase your little Spike Jonze’s multimedia achievements.
Parents strive to treat their families to amazing experiences. Catapult, in partnership with Intel, is the field guide for the modern mom, offering tech-based at-home activities that will build lasting memories.
To get started, use the kid who most likes to sketch to whip up an invite using Paperless Post’s free option. It has a straightforward interface and lovely design elements. Plus, you can use the app to track your guest list and upcoming parties. You can also use the text invite app Hobnob or Invitd, which will consolidate the process a bit on your smartphone.
Once the RSVPs start rolling in, it’s time to think about how you’ll set up the house. Since your kids are likely aware of award shows and every perk of the entertainment world (kids these days!), you’ll probably want to loosely model your family’s awards around them and offer them all the luxuries of stardom. For instance, set up a Green Room with goodie bags and craft services. You can give them cool crap from the dollar store, superstar shades, Pop Rocks, and Rock Candy. You know, to stick with the musical theme and get them amped on sugar to perform.
Put a dress-up box in you backstage area with thrift store items that have sequins, old scarves, and retired Halloween wigs. A bowl of fake tattoos can be fun for the little Beliebers. Anything that can go on over their own clothing and that screams “I rock!” works. That way, your kids can be entertained as you set up the family room to look like a proper theater.
Set up pillows on the floor for the audience for an MTV Unplugged vibe (they’re bringing it back!) and a few chairs for the crowd members who won’t be able to get back up after sitting on the floor. Use Windows Movie maker and splice videos of your kids’ crazy music-based antics from throughout the year into a highlights reel you can upload to YouTube. You can use Youtube’s privacy settings to keep the video in the family. Send the password to relatives who live remotely, so they can watch it too. If they want live coverage of the event, use YouTube Live or Facebook Live.
Set up a projector to showcase your highlights reel. If you want to go big and have a bit of a budget, grab a BenQ TH670 or if you want to go smaller, pick up an AAXA P300. Keep it low key, with a Luckies of London Smartphone Projector that’s made of cardboard and costs about $30. Your kids can help you set these up if you lack the skills. Projectors aren’t easy!
Designate your most comedic child, or the one kid who craves the most attention as emcee. That way the bossy kid can herd the others on stage as needed. Instead of pitting them against each other, you can have the awards be superlatives. Give “awards” for funniest moments, most daring performance, or most challenging scene, so every kid is a winner no matter what. If you want to go full VMAs, use a 3D printer to make awards to commemorate their big wins.
You or your oldest kid can act as the stagehand, so the younger kids can enjoy the show. Run out with a guitar and stool when it’s time for your tiny T. Swift to strum away. Clear it out when your Usher-alike saunters out with the slick dance moves. They can use an Amicool Wireless Microphone Karaoke to show off their Ed Sheeran vocal skills. Let them take their time with the Gaga poses. What now seems annoying can one day payoff with a lucrative career in the performing arts. Or at least good pictures for Instagram.
Get your socially conscious preteen to write an inspirational talk just like P!nk’s. Let each kid give a meandering and adorable acceptance speech and make sure to catch it on a Panasonic HC-V770 HD Camcorder or just your phone. They’ll appreciate it later.
No award show is complete without an after-party! Turn on your party stage light, slap Calvin Harris on Google Play, or Pandora, and get ready to hear “Despacito” on repeat. The kids will never forget the night their family recreated an awards show at home. They’ll enjoy all the gadgets you bought to make it special. And a good dance party will wear them out properly for bed. But the real award will be rewarding time spent together.
Liz Tracy is a Miami-bred, Boston-based freelance writer, editor, and mother.
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