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Teaching or directing tips Performing Shakespeare for kids

Drama Warm-Ups

So, just like in sports, you have to get your body ready to go into the game – or, in this case, on the stage… sometimes warmup games are just to get your nervous energy out. Many times it’s to get your acting tools sharpened before you are about to perform. Now, for kids – it’s mostly about fun. But, learning the basic skills, are important. So, here are a few things that I’ve seen and done that I like. And, if you know of one you want to add to the list, let me know!

One of my personal favorite warm-ups is the Tiki Tiki call and repeat. I think it’s so great because it’s a fabulous ice-breaker for a new group, it’s a real warm-up as it exercises your voice and body, and it’s great for getting out that nervous energy right before show! Here’s Kaleb Womack showing his skills with this great video.

Other great warm-ups are:

  • TONGUE TWISTERS – personal favorites are Toy Boat and Red Leather, Yellow Leather (say either one 10-times fast) – but, kids can really get into trying to nail these and any others you you (or they!) can think of! (Seuss’ Fox and Socks is one of my favorites to read from as well!)
  • You can never go wrong with a few drama games and kids!
  • BUILD A STORY – Everyone sits in a circle and you say one word, and the next person continues the story with a word, and so on. It’s best that the teacher start the story off. Something like, “Once upon a time…” Then the first kid begins with a word.
  • BUILD A STORY – VARIATION – instead of a word at a time, it’s a sentence at a time. The story starts with, “Once…” then the next person says a sentence, JUST ONE sentence. Then the next continues the story, and so on.
  • 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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