Dear Diary,

How many kids can say they went to the circus in their grandparent’s backyard? Well this country girl can! My grandparents lived in the outskirts of our small town, Alderson, West Virginia. Their house sat on a huge plot of land with even more vacant acreage behind them. While visiting one 4th of July, my brother scooped me up, put me on his back for a piggyback ride, and told me we were going to the circus. Out the backdoor we went.

I couldn’t believe what my eyes were observing–elephants, a ginormous circus tent, a cotton candy stand, clowns, you name it! Wow! I thought to myself. The greatest show on earth was unfolding right in my grandparents’ backyard! As I sit here nearly 30 years later, my five sense still have the ability to go back to that incredible day. What could have been an overwhelming, and even frightening experience, was a moment of pure joy. In my mind, I remember feeling safe and secure. Unfortunately, my toddler won’t be viewing the circus at her grandparents’ house, but she will have the pleasure of engaging in the family tradition of going to the big top next week when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Built To Amaze at the CONSOL Energy Center here in Pittsburgh November 5-9.

Built To Amaze! opens with an All-Access Pre-show where everyone can join the fun and meet the Built To Amaze! international cast of performers as they prepare for the show. Kids can participate in a tug-of- war, pick up some hip dance moves during the dance party, try on custom designed costumes, and learn circus skills like juggling from the famous Ringling Bros. Clown Alley.


I want my daughter’s first trip to be a moment that she’ll remember with fondness for the rest of her life. In order to accomplish that, I must make her feel the same security and joy I did all those years ago. Here are 5 ways we all can prepare our toddlers for the circus:

  1. Talk about it. I know this may seem like common sense, but it’s important that you simply prepare your child for the circus by talking about it ahead of time. Explain in an age-appropriate way that you are going to the circus in the days leading up to the big event. Tell your child what he or she can expect to see and hear at the circus.
  2. Watch circuses on You Tube. With today’s technology, it’s very easy to find home videos or even professional footage of circuses. This is an excellent way to prepare your child.
  3. Attend a pre-show. Many circuses provide an opportunity for families to visit with clowns and trainers before the big show. If you can, take your child to the pre-show so that he or she can get up close and personal with the clowns and trainers. Your toddler can even touch the clowns, and talk to them as a way to soothe their spirits and see that the clowns are not only harmless, but also a lot of fun.
  4. Protect your toddler’s ears. The circus can be extremely loud with the sounds of explosions, loud music, clapping and so much more so bring along earplugs or some headphones, so your toddler can truly enjoy the moment instead of holding his or her ears the entire time.
  5. Make sure you have everything. You want this to be a fun and exciting adventure for your toddler and one way to ensure that your child has a good time is to pack your child’s bag the night before. Make sure you include plenty of snacks, among the other things (such as training pants, extra sets of close, etc.).

Hey DFTM Fam–Have you taken your children to the circus? If so, how did you prepare them for the show?  I would love to hear your suggestions.  Plus, don’t forget to enter to win a family four pack of tickets for the Wednesday or Thursday evening show!

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About The Author

Denise LaRosa
Podcast Mom

Denise is a married mom raising a 2-year-old and 6-month-old daughter in Pittsburgh, PA. She writes about the joys and challenges that come along with motherhood and how to foster a love of learning within your child. She loves being a mom, because it is a job uniquely and divinely designed for you to provide your children with the foundation they need to be the best person they can be. When not writing for DFTM, Denise blogs and hosts her podcast at

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