Even the simplest theater games for kids can build a child’s confidence and skills. Theater activities utilize two of children’s biggest assets, imagination and energy, to build on their ability to focus, creatively problem solve, and cooperate.
Before today, I had worked with teenagers and children as young as eight, but since I have a 3 year-old, I decided to try some theater games with her playgroup and modify them for preschoolers.
My general format for these theater games was:
- Introductions: We said, “Hello, my name is…and I like…” filling in our own names and something alliterative that we like. Older kids can turn this into memory game in which you repeat everyone who has gone before you and then add your own. For a younger or more shy group, you can choose a “hello song” in which the whole group sings hello to each child in turn.
- Warm Up: There are so many great theater warm-ups. We played pass the energy ball. Shay Shay Coolay, Zip Zap Boing, anything that gets the group up and moving is good.
- Imagination Game: We used a tunnel and when kids emerged from the tunnel, they pretended that everything was really heavy, or silly, or that they had turned into something with wings. With older kids, you could introduce simple scenes here.
- Dancing/Movement: After all that hard work, we get up and moving. With younger kids, I recommend either dancing to a song that calls out the moves (Alligator Jump, alligator slide, all the alligators like to move from side to side…) or giving the kids instruments and leading them in a parade around the room.
- Cooperation Game: At this point I would bring everyone back into the circle to re-focus their energy. You could play a game like passing energy through a gently squeezed hand around the room, keeping up a balloon, or trying to count to ten without anyone calling out the number at the same time.
- Cool Down: Put on some quiet music and lead the children through a guided imagery exercise (Imagine you are in your favorite place, alone or with your favorite person or pet, then picture your favorite color gently filling the top of your head, making it feel warm and a little tingly. It is relaxing and the color spreads to your eyes. You feel your eyelids relax as you enjoy the feeling of being in this special place. Then your cheeks relax and your lips…etc.). This is a great feeling for kids to remember when they find themselves getting frustrated.
Theater games help children activate the creative portions of their minds, role play difficult emotions, learn to trust and cooperate with one another, and to better understand themselves. It is also a lot of fun and a great chance to work out some physical energy in a positive way.
Photo Credit: edenpictures