Theater and drama classes are great places for students to express themselves and learn new skills. There are several fun drama activities for kids to help students understand the importance of theater and become more comfortable with acting. Whether kids are learning in-person or online, many of these activities are great ways to instill the love of theater and drama in children while helping them develop skills in new ways.
Here is a list of 10 theater and drama activities for kids:
1. Tongue Twisters
Whether you’re speaking dialogue or singing, enunciating and pronouncing words is a significant part of theater and drama. Sometimes, the sounds and letters you speak end up more twisted than expected. Tongue twisters are a series of words or sentences that are hard to pronounce correctly because of their succession of similar sounds. Practicing tongue twisters is a fun way to work on pronunciation and enunciation when you have students of all ages getting ready for a play, musical, or another speaking engagement.
Learning tongue twisters helps students pay attention to the individual sounds words contain. When students understand the precise sounds of each word they are saying, they can pronounce and enunciate the words clearly. They can also improve their diction, which helps the audience understand the dialogue.
The activity works great as a warm-up to prepare students’ voices before singing or speaking. Students can begin the activity by saying tongue twisters slowly, then speed up as their enunciation improves. Here are some popular tongue twisters you could use as warm-ups:
- “Red letter, yellow leather.”
- “She sells seashells by the seashore.”
- “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?”
Another significant part of theater and drama is creativity, imagination, and improvisation. Students can use their imagination and creativity to improvise when participating in activities with little direction, such as improv games for kids. An excellent way to encourage students to improvise and use their imagination and creativity is to play a game of Gibberish.
In pairs or groups, encourage your students to communicate with each other by using a made-up language. Kids can use as many strange, random sounds as they like. Playing Gibberish helps students feel more comfortable with spontaneity and embracing randomness as they lean into using their creative ideas more. You could use this exercise as a warm-up to get students comfortable at the beginning of class or during a small break to help them get energy out and refocus.
3. Mirror Mirror
To help students practice imitating expressions and movements, they could play a mirroring game. In pairs, there is a leader and a follower. The leader will make movements and expressions that the follower must mimic simultaneously. The two students will stand a few feet apart, facing each other while beginning their mirror game.
The goal of the activity is to make it look like one person is standing in front of a mirror. For instance, the leader could move their right hand to the side, and the follower would move their left hand in the same motion. Mirror games are great to play indoors or outdoors.
4. Acting to Music
Students could act to music when they learn about and build emotional intelligence and awareness. Acting to music involves letting students listen to a song, and then they perform in response to how the song makes them feel. By having your students act to music, you’re teaching them how to express emotions without using words. They also learn how to distinguish emotions based on the song playing.
Some types of music you could play to elicit specific emotions include:
5. Let’s Pretend
To help children get more comfortable with acting, you could create an activity that gives each child a chance to act. The activity could include performing a scene in silence and then having students guess what the scene was about. Kids can split into multiple groups, then work together to create and act out a silent scene. The teams that aren’t currently acting could also work together to determine the scene.
Let’s Pretend is a great improv game for kids because they learn to practice cooperation and teamwork — two of the most important skills to harness while acting or performing. Unless you are putting on a one-person show, acting and performing both involve working as a team to produce a quality show, whether on stage or behind the scenes. Teamwork and cooperation ensure a show goes smoothly with everyone involved working together.
6. Write a Play Day
Schedule a day to have your kids write a play. Students interested in theater and drama can create a play by making up the characters, setting the background, imagining the different scenarios, and creating the dialogue for their script.
Fostering children’s imagination can help them develop problem-solving, creative thinking, and self-reflection skills. Children can also gain more confidence by creating their work and acting it out. They’ll feel proud of themselves for the work they could produce, which can encourage them to make more plays in the future.
7. The Expert
Making presentations is nerve-wracking, even for adults. To help children get more comfortable presenting in front of an audience, you can play a game to have each person act as an “expert” in different subjects and present the topic to an audience. You can have each kid present for a minute before moving on to the next person. By having students first act as experts, they can become familiar with standing in the front of a room and speaking for an extended time by themselves. Practicing these skills will help kids become more comfortable with presentations.
While The Expert is an excellent activity for students in school, it can also extend to family time. As parents, you can help your kids continue practicing their presentation skills by playing the game at home, in the car while traveling, on vacation, or anywhere else you think is best.
8. Dance Act
Dancing is a fun way for kids to express themselves and get their energy out while exercising. You could play upbeat songs and let children have a dance party, allowing them to express themselves or show off new moves. Another way to get kids dancing is by teaching them a popular group dance like the Cha Cha Slide or the Hokey Pokey.
To jazz up the dance activity, you could encourage the kids to sing along to the songs playing or add props to see how they would incorporate them into their dances. Dance helps children stay active while artistically expressing themselves through movement. Parents can also encourage their children to dance by looking for fun online dance tutorials, putting music on, and letting a dance party commence. Dancing can become a fun online drama game for kids when you stream videos to show dances and make games out of them.
9. Continuing Emotions Game
When you’re trying to teach children how to express and identify emotions, playing a continuing emotions game could help. For a continuing emotions game, two players act out a scene, with each character having a specific emotion to portray. The setting can be neutral, such as a doctor’s office with the doctor and patient present. One player would be the doctor, while the other is the patient. The doctor and patient will have to act out an emotion during the scene while still engaging in the typical appointment setting.
For instance, although a doctor is generally confident in the work they complete, the player portraying a doctor could act anxious. On the other hand, the player acting as a patient could act excited, making the communication between patient and doctor more interesting as the scene plays out.
Engaging in activities that involve emotional acting will help students improve their drama skills. Practicing emotional acting helps students distinguish between real life and the fictional one their characters live in. With enough practice, kids will begin to understand the ability to portray real emotions their characters would experience.
10. Fashion Show
Costumes are a major part of theater and drama. They help people become the characters they are portraying. Even when people aren’t acting, they typically enjoy dressing up, kids especially. Hosting a fashion show can be a fun way to have kids practice moving in their costumes. A fashion show can also help kids increase their confidence and become more comfortable being on stage in front of an audience.
A fashion show game at home can be a great way to have kids express themselves and practice walking confidently or in character. Parents could let their kids pick out fun outfits to wear, then have the kids walk down a hallway as if it was a stage. Having fashion shows at home helps kids practice their drama skills and build their confidence for wearing different clothing styles.
Discover the Drama and Art Opportunities Available to Students at CCA
Theater and drama games are excellent avenues with which to teach students acting, dancing, playwriting, and more. Through different activities, improv games, and exercises, children can develop their drama skills to find their passions or become stars.
At Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA), we have excellent drama activities for our online school. We offer a broadcast and theater arts club to help kids learn about playwriting, set design, choreography, print and broadcast media, and more. We value letting learners branch out to discover different subjects and participate in new activities. Our other art opportunities include music, movie, and art clubs, so kids have more ways to socialize and find their preferred creative outlets.
Learn more about CCA to see if we’re the right fit for your family when you fill out our request information form.