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Teaching or directing tips Performing Shakespeare for kids

Drama Games

There are dozens and dozens of different drama games out there, and many variations of each. What I have listed below is a small sample of fun games my kids love that are easy to do and can work well for you and your kids. So, get out there and have some fun! No better way to break the ice, or just plain have fun! (psst! If you’re looking for some drama warm-up games – you can find those here!)

Museum Janitor – what do statues do when the museum closes down, they move around of course! Our night janitor is here to find those rascally statues! Your finger will work just fine, but a flashlight is fun to have. Everyone around the room is a statue, the night janitor walks around and whenever they see someone move they flash their lights on them. If the statue is caught moving, they are out!

Ships and Sailors – and this one is HILARIOUS! Slightly complicated at first, but once dialed in, it’s great fun! (for younger kids, I get rid of the elimination group choices, and just stick to the basic commands) Here’s a great video to demonstrate how to play.

Splat or Zap – Everyone circles up. There’s a main spaltter in the center. So, they “splat!” someone in the circle by pointing at them. That someone ducks! The 2 people directly to the left and right of the duckie then have to immediately “splat!” each other by saying “splat”. Fastest wins! – END OF GAME: When 2 are left – they stand back-to-back like a dual, then the main splatter creates a “magic word” – let’s say it’s: “Pizza!” The 2 take one step forward for each thing said until: “pizza!” is heard – then they turn and splat! – fastest wins! Another name for this game is: Zap! (Here’s a GREAT quick video to demonstrate)

Honey, I love you, won’t you give me a smile? – The group circles up. There is one person in the circle. That person picks someone in the circle and goes up to them and says, “Honey, I love you. Won’t to give me a smile?” And the responding person needs to say, “Honey, I love you, but I just can’t smile.” WITH A STRAIGHT FACE! Now, the trick is, we want to make that person smile or laugh. So, how you say your first line to elicit a smile or a laugh is critical. Once somebody smiles or laughs they go in the center of the circle.

Kitty Wants a Corner – it’s like totally random musical chairs. Main goal, find a spot and hop in it. Ok, everyone circles up. Kitty is in the center. Kitty approaches someone and asks, “Kitty wants a corner.” – responding person says, “Don’t ask me, ask my neighbor.” MEANWHILE… behind Kitty, people are trading spaces with each other. If Kitty notices, then they try to slip into an empty spot. Once they do, the odd person out is now the new Kitty, and the game resumes.

Poison Dart Frog – a slight variation of the murder mystery or wink assassin game. Group circles up, everyone closes their eyes, and the Director picks one person to be the “poison dart frog”. There’s one person in the middle, the “Detective”, who tries to guess who the poison dart frog is. Meanwhile, the poison dart frog sticks their tongue out at other members of the circle who conveniently die a melodramatic death!

Human Knot – always a fun one! Goal: untangle yourselves. I find it doesn’t go well on the first day of class. It’s a VERY close game, and when you don’t know the other people well, it’s a bit too close. But, end-of-week or class, it usually plays very well! Everyone circles up and faces each other and everyone holds different random hands in the circle until everyone is holding someone’s hand in a massive knot. Well, now, untie yourselves WITHOUT letting go. It’s like Twister with a twist! HINT: Start small – maybe 5 people – to get the hang of it. Once you feel you’re pretty good, move up in group size. Here’s a good video to get the idea (start at about 1:09 in the video!)

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By brendan kelso

Brendan is the main creative source and author behind Playing With Plays and the infamous Shakespeare for Kids series. You can typically find him inventing by day, playing with his family by night, and writing by very late night.

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