Fun Drama Games and Activities
These fun drama games and activity ideas are sure to bring hours of fun and laughter to the drama team or department. These games can be used as warm-ups, team building games, or just activities to have fun.
What are drama games anyway
Before you, as most likely a teacher reading these lines and thinking that you have no idea how to make your students play drama games, you’re a match teacher! Let us tell you that you don’t need to be a drama teacher to get your kids to move and enjoy.
Anyone can play these games and make the most of them. While usually played in a theatre, you can certainly use these games to evolve kids and get their unique skills shine.
If you wonder why games are important for kids, here are just a few of the benefits that drama games, yes drama, can help your students:
- Builds confidence
- Let’s them a chance to show off their voice
- Team work
- Thinking on their feet and many more.
It’s obvious, having creative games in the classroom is essential to get your students engage and learn.
General drama and theater games for kids
1. RIBBON OF SOUND
Sit in a circle. One person starts a sound. The next person picks it up and it travels around the circle so it becomes a ribbon of sound. Each person should pick it up and pass it on as quickly as possible. Transform it into another sound-with the person next to the one who started the first sound.
2. COOPERATIVE STAND-UP
Choose partners. Sit back to back on the floor, legs straight out in front. Interlock arms. Try to stand up together as a unit by pushing against each others’ backs.
3. LED BY THE NOSE: DRAMA GAME
Children imagine that strings are attached to various parts of their bodies.
They move about the room led by that part. Example: right thumb, nose, knees. Eyelashes etc.
4. STRIKE A POSE
1. Form a circle. Each person chooses one other person in the circle to secretly watch.
2. Everyone closes their eyes and strikes a pose.
3. On “GO” — everyone opens their eyes and begins to copy the person they chose to watch. (In posture, pose, stance, etc.)
Watch as the whole team morphs into the same pose!
5. BEAN BAG ‘VOICE PROJECTION’
This exercise demonstrate to children how important it is to project their voices.
Place three bean bags in front of a row of children. One about 10 feet away from them – the second about 20 feet away, the third about 35-40 feet away (this can obviously be changed to suit the physical environment of the class).
1. Ask each child to look directly at the first bean bag, say their name and the name of their favorite animal.
2. Instruct them to say the exact same things to the second bean bag.
3. Would they speak with the same volume? Of course not – the “person” is further away.
4. When asked to address the third bean bag, they obviously should be projecting their voices as loud as they can.
5. After the entire group has addressed the bean bags, let them know they were really acting in a play just then – reaching the first three rows, the middle rows, and the back rows of the theater
6. HOLD A FASHION SHOW! THREE DIFFERENT IDEAS…
Good for Day Camp, in stages for an event …and those full days of programming
Props: spotlights; a backdrop; if possible, a raised platform/ stage or catwalk; music and sound system…
First session: Putting on a fashion show can be fun for all players, especially if everyone gets to choose the role they will play. In the planning stages, have participants decide on a theme for the show (such as fall fashions or holiday outfits); plan music and which roles children will play. Both male and female models would be nice; you’ll also need designers, emcees, a journalist or two, and photographer.
Help the players plan the set up; where youth will enter and exit—as well as where the audience will sit. Make a list of special clothing to wear during the show and any other props you may need. If you have the “#3-WACKY” version below—you’ll also have to make the outfits…
Second session: Give members time to set up the show and get organized. Get the audience seated a let the show begin!
IDEA #2: Rehearse a show in which EVERYTHING GOES WRONG! (On purpose) It’s fun but not easy to do. Example: The emcee trips over the microphone cord, or models wear things that don’t fit—and don’t go together. Think of all the silliness you can!
IDEA #3: One activity that I facilitated while managing a summer camp was to have a “WACKY HAIR-DO AND FASHION SHOW”. The staff and kids “in fantasy fashion” back-combed, jelled and styled each others hair—while others designed, drew, cut-out and taped outfits using ROLL-PAPER. They also used paints/ markers, tape and accessories! Of course, there was also the fantasy make-up. It was great fun!!! (Barb Shelby)
7. READ AN EASY STORY THAT CAN BE DRAMATIZED.
Choose children to participate and have them recreate the story. They can make up the lines or you can reread or tell it as they act it out.
A variation is to divide the students into small groups. Have each group pick a story and provide time for them to read it, choose parts and practice acting it out. Then have each group perform their story for the rest of the class and/or for children in younger grades.
8. CHANGING BODY GAME
You may not at first see this as a drama game–but it is! (Pretending you are something/someone else using art!)
- Take a picture of each child and glue it to a piece of paper.
- Have children to go through magazines, newspapers, etc…Have them cut out pictures of animals, people, and characters.
- They then cut off the heads of all of these pictures; they can place them over their picture to see what they would look like in someone else’s body!
- Example: Cut the head off of Bozo the clown and place the rest of the body under the head of your picture — and you can see what it looks like!
9. ‘SENSORY’ DRAMA PLAY ACTIVITIES
Ask children to relax and explore their five senses by PRETENDING to:
• A hot stove
• Sharp tacks
• A sour lemon
• Their favorite candy
• A gentle wind
• Underwater sounds
• A whistle
• A car coming far away and towards you
• A giant
• An ant
• A big black spider
• Freshly baked bread
• A skunk
10. MYSTERY BAG
Blindfold children and have them use their senses to identify objects.
- TOUCH: feather, balloon, shell, sandpaper, fur, money.
- SMELL: coffee, perfume, onion.
- TASTE: raisins, cornflakes, coconut, crackers, marshmallows, chocolate
11. IMAGING TASTE (Older Youth)
This activity is about making other people’s mouths water.
- Have each player in turn describe something to eat; encourage members to use as much detail a possible and wildly exaggerate the smells, tastes and textures of the food.
- Next, have the group talk about the actual eating of the food. Example:Talk about how ice-cream melts on your tongue or how peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth before swallowing it.
- Variation: Describe a single aspect of food, for example, the juice of a peach at its peak of ripeness.
12. I CAN’T STAND_____! (Older Youth)
Have each player in turn describe a food that they cannot stand to eat. Encourage as much detail as possible so that the other group members are disgusted by the food, too.
13. BOTTLE OF WHAT (Young children)
Before the meeting, gather several empty plastic bottles with caps. Fill each bottle with a different material-such as dried peas, pebbles, marbles, sand, and birdseed. Put the caps back on and cover the bottles with construction paper so the materials inside are hidden. Ask group members to listen to the sound each bottle makes and guess what is inside it.
Drama Game Activities
• A simple phrase– Said 3 or 4 different ways. Example: “Open the door.” Or “Hello” and a name.
• Carry on a “conversation” with another person using only that person’s name. See the range of meaning you can communicate through voice inflection, facial expression and gestures.
• Trust Walk/Blindfold Walk.
• In a pair or group-shake hands quickly, slowly, gently, angrily, sadly, tenderly.
• Make your hands take on different characteristics: nervous, greedy, flabby, magic, fierce, gentle, strong, frightened, etc.
• Masks: Make or purchase; wear in a skit, scene or play.
• Puppets/Puppet show: Make or purchase puppets; write, produce, practice, perform.
• Perform a one act scene from: Section of chapter book, a well known story book, poems such as those by Shel Silverstein and Bruce Lansky; other club members become audience for rehearsals.
• Pantomime Games (Individual, pairs or a group)
• Pantomime/Acting out a song— such as the Song Sisters’ Alligator song.
• Group Improv: Give a simple idea to act out…Setting up a camp in the woods.
• Form two lines facing each other. The first two people in each line begin a conversation. At any point, the person next to a speaker- can tap him/her on the shoulder. That speaker then goes to the end of the line and the conversation continues between the new speakers at exactly the point it was interrupted.
• Choose a person to leave the room. The rest of the group stands in a circle. Choose a leader who begins and changes all movements. Everyone else should be aware of the leader but not look directly at him. Change movements when the leader does. Once everyone has the idea, call back the person who left the room. Ask him to stand in the middle and try to figure out who the leader is.
• Sit in a circle. Choose a music conductor. Everyone create a sound and rhythm using hands, feet, voice, etc. in time to the conductor’s leading.
• Without the participant’s knowledge, stage a sudden “happening”. Then have everyone describe exactly what happened in writing, giving as many details as possible. Compare the descriptions. Are they the same? Why not?
• PLAY ARTISTS AND BLOBS
Have children work in 2 or 3 person teams. Ask each team to pick an ‘A’ and a ‘B’. ‘A’s’ are the artists…and ‘B’s’ are the blobs. The artist (s) forms his/her partner into some kind of statue. The blob relaxes as much as possible until the statue is formed, then tries to hold that pose. (TIP: PLAY MUSIC while artists are forming blobs.) When art works are complete have artists walk about and admire each other’s creations!
• The Pretzel: Form a long chain holding hands. Designate a leader who goes in, around and under, taking everyone with him until a human knot is formed. Then, the leader retraces his steps and unties the knot.
• Object Creation: One person begins a mechanical movement. Another person attaches himself to it adding movement. Continue to add youth to the machine, using sounds and moving through space.
• One person goes to the front and begins a non-verbal activity. Others enter once they figure out what the first person is doing. Form a scene without words and let it play out.
• Use your bodies to build a house. Some people become the furniture, telephones, and tables. Others live in the house. Then huff and puff and blow the house down.
• Two partners share one pillow. Experiment with different ways of giving and taking the pillow. Make it something very valuable and precious. Make it something vile and distasteful. Make it very heavy. Make it light. Make it prickly. Pretend that it’s a ticking bomb, an injured cat, a hot plate.
• Pair up. Look carefully at each other. One person closes his eyes while the other changes something, such as untying a shoelace. His partner opens his eyes and tries to identify the change. Reverse.
• Pretend to fight in slow motion. Imagine that you are under water or in space. Imagine that you are wearing heavy armor. Use an imaginary long sword.
After we learned about the drama games for kids in the list above, let’s see a few good warm up activities to get things going.
Warm Ups Activities
We do warm ups before taking stage or just practicing because it helps us with verbal concentration and articulation muscles. Also, it’s really fun to do tongue twisters, here’s a few fun warm up ideas:
- Unique New York
- Three tree throws
- Red leather, yellow leather
- Say this shortly, say this sweetly, say this sharply, say this softly. ( Try and say this 16 times very quickly )
- Rubber baby buggy bumpers
Here are the rules: Stand as a group, and try and repeat each of these tongue twisters 5 times without making a mistake.
After you’re done, see who wishes to take the floor and do the same in front of everyone else.
Improv activities help drama students improve their random thinking and reaction time and thinking on their feet.
It’s a great skill to master as a drama actor and if your kid loves actings, here are a few great games to improve in improv:
- If you are in a group, divide to groups of 3 kids each, and stand on one side of the room/stage. The teacher or leader will throw in a story. Kids need to improv on the stop a storyline that gets from bad to worse. Every time a group comes up with an idea, they can move one step forward. The winner group is the one who gets to the other side of the room or stage. ( The story must make sense )
- The obstacle game – In this game you tell the kids an item, for example ” a door ” and they need to throw ideas that are possible obstacles to the item. It has to make sense. Example, a dog, a chair, a spilled water stain on the floor etc.
A good resource for Drama games: 101 Drama games for children: Fun and Learning with Acting and Make-believe. By Paul Rooyackers and illustrated by Cecilia Bowman. A Hunter House Smart Fun Book. Purchase at Amazon.com
Drama Menu Links
1.) The Different Types of Drama
If you’re interested check out our Costumes or Make Up Ideas.