Posted in Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Voice Production

Voice Production Activities

Vocal Production

The following three core elements of vocal production need to be understood for anyone wishing to become an effective speaker:

  • Volume – to be heard.
  • Clarity –  to be understood.
  • Variety –  to add interest.

Volume:

This is not a question of treating the voice like the volume control on the TV remote.  Some people have naturally soft voices and physically cannot bellow.  Additionally, if the voice is raised too much, tonal quality is lost.  Instead of raising the voice it should be ‘projected out‘.  Support the voice with lots of breath – the further you want to project the voice out, the more breath you need.

When talking to a group or meeting, it is important to never aim your talk to the front row or just to the people nearest you, but to consciously project what you have to say to those furthest away.  By developing a strong voice, as opposed to a loud voice, you will be seen as someone positive.

Clarity:

Some people tend to speak through clenched teeth and with little movement of their lips.  It is this inability to open mouths and failure to make speech sounds with precision that is the root cause of inaudibility.  The sound is locked into the mouth and not let out.  To have good articulation it is important to unclench the jaw, open the mouth and give full benefit to each sound you make, paying attention to the ends of words.  This will also help your audience as a certain amount of lip-reading will be possible.

Variety:

To make speech effective and interesting, certain techniques can be applied.  However, it is important not to sound false or as if you are giving a performance.  Whilst words convey meaning, how they are said reflects feelings and emotions.  Vocal variety can be achieved by variations in:

  • Pace: This is the speed at which you talk.  If speech is too fast, then the listeners will not have time to assimilate what is being said.  Nevertheless, it is a clever idea to vary the pace – quickening up at times and then slowing down – this will help to maintain interest.
  • Volume:  By raising or lowering volume occasionally, you can create emphasis.  If you drop your voice to almost a whisper (if it is projected) for a sentence or two, it will make your audience suddenly alert, be careful not to overuse this technique.
  • Pitch – Inflection – Emphasis:  When speaking in public, try to convey the information with as much vocal energy and enthusiasm as possible.  This does not mean your voice has to swoop and dive all over the place in an uncontrolled manner.  Try to make the talk interesting and remember that when you are nervous or even excited, vocal chords tense and shorten causing the voice to get higher.  Emphasize certain words and phrases within the talk to convey their importance and help to add variety.
  • Pause: Pauses are powerful.  They can be used for effect to highlight the preceding statement or to gain attention before an important message.  Pauses mean silence for a few seconds.  Listeners interpret meaning during pauses so have the courage to stay silent for up to five seconds – dramatic pauses like this convey authority and confidence.

The following activities will help to improve the children’s fluency with language. They also help to improve clarity of speech sounds and assist with vocal projection.

Game: Voice coach

Difficulty rating: **

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Clear space, index cards with emotions written on them

Instructions: Choose a simple sentence, e.g. “I want a can of Coke.” Write one of the feelings listed below on each index card. Have one child choose a card and then say the simple sentence in the emotion written on it. The rest of the class must guess which emotion the child is trying to portray.

Examples of emotions which can be used:

Calm

Happy

Sad

Stubborn

Surprised

Excited

Angry

Worried

Brave

Lonely

At the end, have the children repeat the sentence together, as they all use the emotion they have chosen from the card.

Game: Tongue-twisters

Difficulty rating: * to *****

Minimum number of participants: 1

Resources needed: Handouts with tongue twisters on them

Instructions: The children must start slowly and articulate each word clearly. They can go faster and faster as they feel more confident with the tongue twisters. If you have a large class, divide them into groups of four or five.

Some sample tongue-twisters to help you get started:

A skunk sat on a stump. The stump thought the skunk stunk. The skunk thought the stump stunk. What stunk? The skunk or the stump?

A tutor who tooted the flute, tried to tutor two tooters to toot; said the two tooters to the tutor: “Is it harder to toot or to tutor two tooters to toot?”

If Freaky Fred found fifty feet of fruit and fed forty feet to his friend Frank, how many feet of fruit did Freaky Fred find?

Pepperoni pizza on a pink-patterned plate with parsley on the side to your pleasure.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers; where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Red Leather Yellow Leather Red Leather Yellow Leather Red Leather Yellow Leather…

She shut the shop shutters, so the shopping shoppers can’t shop.

Unique New York; Unique New York; Unique New York …

Which wristwatch is a Swiss wristwatch?

I like New York, unique New York, I like unique New York.

Peggy Babcock loves Tubby Gig whip.

Two toads totally tired, tried to trot to Tewkesbury.

She stood upon the balcony, inimitably mimicking him hiccupping and amicably welcoming him in.

The sixth sick Sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.

Betty Botter bought some butter

But she said, “This butter’s bitter.

But a bit of better butter’s

Better than the bitter butter,

That would make my batter better.”

So she bought some better butter

Better than the bitter butter

And it made her batter better.

So ’twas better Betty Botter,

Bought a bit of better butter.

 

In groups, write your own tongue twister.

Game: Broken telephone

Difficulty rating: **

Minimum number of participants: 5

Resources needed: Clear space, chairs/mats

Instructions: This is a classic game. With the class sitting in a circle, the leader whispers a simple message to one of the children. They must pass the message on to the child next to them, but they must follow a few rules. They must whisper but still speak clearly. They can say the message only once. When everyone in the circle has passed the message to the child next to them, the last child stands up and repeats the message they heard. The message has usually changed along the way, so the leader then tries to find out which children are ‘broken telephones’ as the ‘telephone’ may be broken in more than one place!

Tongues-twisters can be very effective messages to use here as they help children to be careful with their articulation.

Some examples to help you get started:

She sells sea shells at the seashore.

Four fat frogs fanning fainting flies.

Round the rock the ragged rascal ran.

 

Game: Stand back – the bridge is breaking

Difficulty rating: *

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Handouts of the poem

Instructions: The children each receive a copy of the poem below. They must read it out, making sure they recite it quietly when the writing is very small. Then they get louder and louder as the writing gets bigger and bigger, until finally they are projecting their voices as loudly as they can.

Pitter-patter, drops of rain

Tapping on the window pane

Now the rain is coming down

On all the houses in the town

Beating, battering shops and shutters

Hurling leavesf into the gutters.

Wildly lashing streets and fields,

Pelting rain and stormy seas

The river roars, the bridge is shaking,

Stand back, stand back, the bridge is BREAKING.

Game: Gibberish

Difficulty rating: ****

Minimum number of participants: 4

Resources needed: Clear space, index cards listing different situations

Instructions: Divide the group into pairs. Each pair chooses an index card that gives them a context for their conversation, see examples below. They then must act out the situation, but they can’t use actual words, instead they replace the words with letters of the alphabet. To get their situation across, they must focus on their tone, pitch, inflection, projection and pace to communicate their situation. The rest of the group must guess the context of the pair’s conversation and what is happening.

Some examples of different situations:

In a restaurant (waiter and customer) – customer complaining about the food.

At a hairdresser (hairdresser and customer) – customer trying to hide her disappointment about her haircut.

Under the moonlight (boyfriend and girlfriend) – he tells her he loves her.

Game: Sound spy

Difficulty rating: *

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Clear space

Instructions: This is based on the traditional game of ‘I Spy’ but in this version, the children must look for something that has a sound. For example: I sound spy with my little eye something that starts with the sound ‘D’. It could be several things like a desk, a door or a dress. To make things more difficult, the children could say I spy with my little eye something that finishes with the sound ‘S’. It could be a variety of things like keys, pens or windows.

 

Game: Big balloon

Difficulty rating: **

Minimum number of participants: 1 (and the Leader)

Resources needed: Clear space.

Instructions: Each child must imagine that they have a balloon. They must blow it up and hold it at the end. Tell them that every time they breathe, they are pushing the balloon farther and farther away, until finally it glides into the sky.

Game: Secret voices

Difficulty rating: ***

Minimum number of participants: 4

Resources needed: Clear space, blindfold

Instructions: One of the children volunteers to be blindfolded. Everyone else is given 15 seconds to find a place in the room where they must all stand still. The leader points to one of the children, who are all standing still, and that child disguises his/her voice by changing pitch and tone and asks: “Do you know who I am?” If the blindfolded volunteer guesses correctly, s/he gets to choose the next child to be blindfolded. If s/he guesses incorrectly, the leader keeps picking children until the blindfolded child guesses correctly.

 

Game: Vocal projection

Difficulty rating: ****

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Clear space

Instructions: Divide the group into pairs. One child in the pair talks about a topic such as holidays, sports, TV, school, and so on; the other child listens and after a few seconds says “louder.” Eventually the child talking will be shouting. After three or four times of saying “louder,” the listener can start saying “softer”. The listener can also go back and forth between “louder” and “softer” as s/he wants. This fun game leads to lots of laughs.

 

Divide the class into pairs. Divide the pairs into A and B. A read “The Hare and the Tortoise” B reads “The Three Little Pigs”. You must try to read the story with clarity, volume and expression.

 

The Hare and the Tortoise

Student A: Once upon a time there was a very boastful hare that lived in the woods with lots of other animals. He was always boasting about how fast he could run. He boasted, “I’m the fastest animal in the woods. No one can run as fast as me.” The other animals were tired of listening to him. One day the tortoise said to the hare,Hare you are so boastful. I challenge you to a race.” Hare laughed and said, “Tortoise, you will never beat me. You are too slow and steady.” They decided whoever got to the other side of the woods the fastest was the winner. All the other animals in the woods came to watch the race. The hare ran as fast as he could through the woods. After a while he thought to himself, “I’m so fast that slow tortoise will never beat me. I think I will take a quick nap.” Soon he fell asleep. The tortoise walked slowly through the woods. He passed the sleeping hare. The animals watched the tortoise near the finishing line. The animals cheered loudly. The hare woke up and ran as fast as he could through the woods to the finishing line, but it was too late. The slow tortoise had won the race. All the animals in the woods congratulated the tortoise. The hare had to remind himself that he shouldn’t boast about his fast pace because slow and steady won the race.

 

 

The Three Little Pigs

Student B: Once upon a time there was a mother pig that lived with her three little pigs. One day she said “Little pigs, I think it is time for you to leave and make your own way in this big world. You each need to build your own house.” The little pigs were very excited about their new, big adventure. Mother pig gave each of her little pigs a hug, but she warned them “Remember to watch out for the big bad wolf.” The little pigs waved goodbye to their mother and they trotted into the woods. They were laughing and smiling and soon they came across a man who was carrying some straw. The first little pig said, “may I have some straw to build my house.” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the first little pig some straw to build his house. Just before they left the man warned them, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.” The first little pig built his house of straw. The two other pigs trotted on down the road. They were laughing and smiling and soon they came across a man who was carrying some sticks. The second little pig said, “May I have some sticks to build my house.” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the second little pig some sticks to build his house. Just before they left the man warned them, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.” The second little pig built his house of sticks. The third little pig trotted on down the road. He was laughing and smiling and soon he came across a man who was carrying some bricks. The third little pig said, “May I have some bricks to build my house.” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the third little pig some bricks to build his house. Just before they left the man warned him, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.”

The third little pig built his house of bricks. The first little pig had just finished building his house of straw when the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.” The first little pig replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin.” Then the wolf said, “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down. The first little pig trotted very quickly to his brother’s house made of sticks. The second little pig had just finished building his house of sticks when he heard a knock on the door and to his surprise it was his brother. Suddenly, the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.” The second little pig replied, “Not by hair of my chinny, chin, chin.” Then the wolf said, “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down. The two little pigs trotted very quickly to their brother’s house made of bricks.

The third little pig had just finished building his house of bricks when he heard a knock on the door and to his surprise it was his two brothers. Suddenly, the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.” The third little pig replied, “Not by hair of my chinny, chin, chin.” Then the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” The wolf huffed, and he puffed. He huffed, and he puffed but he couldn’t blow the house down. He heard the three little pigs inside the house. They were laughing. This made the wolf very angry indeed. He decided he would climb to the top of the roof and come down the chimney. The third little pig heard him on the roof and he came up with a clever plan. He put a big pot of boiling water on the fire which was just underneath the chimney. The wolf came tumbling down the chimney and landed into the big pot of boiling water and “SPLASH!” That was the end of the big bad wolf. The three little pigs lived happily ever after.

 

 

 

Posted in Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Easter Games, Easter stories, Plays, Plays for Children

The Story of the Easter Bunny – A Children’s Play for Easter

Characters: Storyteller, King Magician, Magic Hen, Ordinary Hen, Rabbit, Robber 1, Robber 2, Footman.

Storyteller: Once upon a time, there lived a king who loved magic. One day he was bored and decided to call his court magician to come and help him.

King:  Magician, I’m bored; entertain me with your magic tricks.

Magician: Of course, your majesty. (The magician does some routine magic tricks. The king sits on his throne, looking very bored.)

King: I’ve seen all these tricks before. Do you have any new ones?

Magician: Let me see, I’ve got a hen who can lay eggs on demand.

King: Oh, how wonderful. Show me.

Magician: Here you go. The hen laid an Egg. (He put the hen in front of the king.)

Hen: Cluck, cluck, he lays an egg.

Storyteller: The king was delighted with the hen, but he got bored again after a while.

King: Magicians, I want the hen to lay golden eggs.

Magician: Of course. (He uses his magic wand and puts a spell on the hen.)

King: Hen lay a golden egg.

Hen: Cluck, Cluck. (The hen laid a golden egg.)

Storyteller: The king was delighted and became very rich. (Enter two robbers, they watch in secret as the hen lays golden egg after golden egg.)

Robber 1: Look at that magic hen.

Robber 2: Is she really laying golden eggs?

Robber 1: Yes, we should steal her, and we will be rich forever.

Robber 2: Let’s sneak into the castle tonight and steal the hen.

Storyteller: The robbers didn’t know the king overhead the robber’s plot to kidnap his precious hen.

King: Magician: Take the magic hen and hide him. I will show those robbers they can’t get the better of me. I’ll replace the magic hen with an ordinary hen. (King walks off stage and leaves the Magician with the Hen.)

Magician: How will I hide you from the robbers. I know I will change you into a rabbit. So they will never find you.

Storyteller: That night at midnight when everyone was asleep. The robbers crept into the palace.

Robber 1: Ssssshhhhhhhhhhh. Be quiet.

Robber 2: There he is.

Robber 1: I got him. (He grabs the hen.)

Robber 2: Let’s get out of here. (They run off stage with the hen.)

Hen: Cluck, cluck.

Storyteller: The next day…

King: The robbers must have taken the hen last night. I fooled them. What is this Rabbit doing here? Little Rabbit, how did you get here? Footman, please take this Rabbit back to the woods and call the magician. I want my magic hen back.

Footman: Yes, your majesty. (The footman takes the Rabbit off stage enters the magician.)

Magician: You summoned me, your majesty. How may I be of service to you? (He bows before the king.)

King: Where is my magic hen?

Magician: I brought her back this morning. I left her in the cage.

King: No, you didn’t. The only thing in the cage this morning was a little white rabbit. I gave it to the footman to take back to the woods.

Magician: Oh dear.

King: What’s the matter?

Magician: I changed the hen into a rabbit to keep her safe, but I didn’t have time this morning to change her back into a hen.

King: We must go to the woods and find her.

Storyteller: They spent days and nights looking for the little white Rabbit in the woods, but they never found her. Every Easter Sunday, children worldwide receive colorful chocolate eggs from that day to this. Every once in and while, someone finds a golden egg.

Posted in Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Drama games for 4 year olds, Easter drama games, Easter Games, Easter stories

Easter drama activities for children

 

Game: Magic Bunnies.

Age: 3 years+

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Clear space, a wand (optional).

Other Benefits: To stimulate children’s imagination and creativity.

Instructions: Get each child to find a clear space. They must make sure that they are not touching anyone else. The children crouch down on the floor and make a ball shape with their bodies. The teacher explains that all children are magic Bunnies and that the teacher is a magic wizard. The teacher waves the magic wand and says: “Magic Bunnies turn into dinosaurs.” All the children turn into dinosaurs and move around the room as dinosaurs. The teacher then says: “Magic Bunnies turn into magic Bunnies.” The children return to their clear spaces and crouch down on the floor again as quickly as possible. The magic wizard can change the magic Bunnies into anything they want, for example superheroes, animals, people, household items and so on.

Variation: The children can take it turns to be the magic wizard.

 

Game: What’s the time Mr. Bunny?

Age: 3 years+

Minimum number of participants: 4

Resources needed: Clear space.

Other Benefits: This is a popular traditional children’s game that can also be used very effectively in a drama session as a warm-up game. This game also helps children with their listening and co-ordination skills.

Instructions: One child is chosen or volunteers to be Mr. or Ms. Bunny and stands at one side of the clear space. His/Her back is to the other children, who are standing at the opposite end of the space. The rest of the children shout out: “What’s the time Mr. /Ms. Bunny?” The Bunny does not turn around. He/she replies in a rough, Bunny-like voice: “four o’clock.” The children walk forward the number of steps the Bunnies calls out (in this case, four). The children ask again: “What time is it Mr./Ms. Bunny?” The Bunny replies: “five o’clock.” The children take five steps forward. The children continue to ask the question and to walk the appropriate amount of steps forward. Eventually, when the Bunny thinks that the children are near enough he/she will say: “Easter!” Then the Bunnies turns around and chases the children. They have to try to rush back to their starting place. If Mr./Ms. Bunny catches one of them before they reach home, that child is the Bunny in the next game.

 

Game: Bunny’s Tail

Age: 5 years+

Minimum number of participants: 6

Resources needed: Clear space.

Other Benefits:  A great game for developing a sense of teamwork.

Instructions: All the children form one long line, holding on to the child in front of them by the waist. The child at the top of the line becomes the Bunny’s head. The child in the rear is the Bunny’s tail. All the other children are the Bunny’s body and must work as a team to stay connected. The main objective is for the tail to catch the head while keeping the Bunny’s body intact.

 

Game: Chick, Chick, Chicken

Age: 3 years+

Minimum number of participants: 5

Resources needed: Clear space, a balloon.

Other Benefits: This is a very good observation game but it also promotes teamwork and co-operation.

Instructions: Show the children a balloon and tell them it is a rotten egg. Get the children to sit in a tight circle, with their hands behind their backs. One child sits in the centre of the circle and closes his/her eyes. The child in the centre of the circle is the detective. The teacher walks around the room and puts the rotten egg into one of the children’s hands. The detective opens his/her eyes. The rotten egg should be passed around the circle, behind the children’s backs, without the detective seeing it. The detective has three goes at guessing who has the rotten egg

 

Game: The Bunny’s Court

Age: 5 years+

Minimum number of participants: 5

Resources needed: Clear space.

Other Benefits: This engaging game works very well as a role playing activity as the children take on the roles of the different animals.

Instructions: The teacher then assumes the role of a Bunny who is the King of the Easter Court.. It would be a good idea to have a crown for the Bunny. The children can make a court for the Bunny with chairs and a table or with cushions. Inside the court the Bunny sits on a throne. Each child chooses an animal they would like to pretend to be. The Bunny tells the other animals he is looking for animals to join his court. One by one he calls all the animals to him and asks them why he should let them join his court. The child must say what type of animal they are and what good qualities they have and how they will be useful to the Bunny, during Easter.. When they have finished the King says “you may join my court” and lets them in. This is why it is a good idea to designated area in the space that represents the court. Everyone is invited to join his court and there is an animal parade at the end.

The story of the Easter Bunny – a play for young children.

Posted in Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama strategies, Drama techniques, Elements of Drama, Esl Drama, Improvisation, Improvisation around bullying

Improvisation for beginners

What is improvisation?

Improvisation is theatre without a script. The performers hear it for the first time at the same time as the audience. Improvisation is shared creation. Improvisers make it up on the spot, often working from a suggestion from others. We build ideas step by step, using, “Accept the offer and build on it.”.

 This means that the improvisers must  listen carefully and add to what their partner is offering.

Beginner improvisation activity: 1, 2, 3 Counting

This is a very popular warm-up and one Augusto Boal mentions in his book ‘Games for Actors and Non-Actors’. The premise is simple yet requires concentration.

  1. Divide the group into pairs and ask the members of each group to name themselves either A or B.
  2. Ask them to count to three as a pair with A saying ‘1’, B saying ‘2’, A saying ‘3’, B saying’1′, A saying ‘2’, B saying ‘3’ etc.
  3. Now ask the As in each group to come up with a sound and movement that will replace ‘1’. The pair will continue counting with each partner substituting the sound and movement for the number ‘1’.
  4. Now ask the Bs in each group to come up with a sound and movement that will replace ‘2’. The pair will continue counting with each partner substituting As sound and movement for the number ‘1’, and Bs sound and movement for the number ‘2’
  5. Now ask A to come up with another sound and movement, this time for the number ‘3’. By now, there should be no numbers heard, only the unique sounds and movements that have been substituted for each number.

This exercise is simple and low-pressure yet begins to awaken the creative muscles by calling on students to create movement and sound on the spot.

Warm up improvisation activity: Word Ball

Word ball is another simple game but regards a high level of concentration. It works by gathering the students into a circles and ‘throwing’ words around.

  1. Choose any word to begin with (e.g. cat) and place your hands as if you were holding the word in them, then ‘throw’ the word using both your voice and your hands to a member of the group.
  2. The member of the group must ‘catch’ the word, and then throw the first word that comes to mind (e.g. cuddly) to the next member of the group.
  3. The next member ‘catches’ this word, and throws the first associated word that pops into their head (e.g. teddy bear) to the next person. The exercise continues like this until everybody has had plenty of chances to throw words around. Try to dissuade students from hesitating and encourage them to simply go with the first thing that comes to mind, reminding them that there is no such thing as wrong or right when it comes to improv.

Some  Simple Rules for improvisation:

It’s time to introduce some basic rules of improv. Although there is no right or wrong, there are rules that can help in the creation of improvisational theatre.

RULE ONE: Offer and Accept

There’s nothing worse when doing improv than working with somebody who constantly negates your ideas. e.g.

A: Wow, did you see that elephant over there?

B: No. What are you talking about?

Negating an idea forces your partner to do all the work by coming up with idea after idea. In the example above, B has stopped the flow of the scene by rejecting A’s offer. If he had accepted it, the scene could continue quite easily:

A: Wow, did you see that elephant over there?

B: WOW! That’s the biggest elephant I’ve ever seen! Where do you suppose it came from?

Yes, and improvisation activity:

This is a nice little game that trains students to accept offers and add to them. Like in the second example above, B accepts the existence of the elephant, and offers a question as an addition to his acceptance.

  1. Divide the class into two even lines, call one line A, and the other line B. Have the two lines face each other
  2. Begin with the students who are at the top of the lines. Ask the student in the A line to come up with an offer. The student in the B line must accept and add to it. A must then accept B’s addition, and add to it again. e.g.:

A: Would you like to cut my hair for me?

B:Yes!I have a hairdressing set in my room, let’s do it there.

A: Great! I’ll bring a picture of what I want it to look like.

3.   When they’re finished, each student will go to the end of the opposite line (i.e. The student from line A will go to the end of line B, the line B student will go to the end of line A), and the next two students will have their chance to go.

  1. Keep this game going until all students have had a chance to be in both lines.

RULE TWO: Keep Questions Direct

Open-ended questions can really stump your partner as you are essentially forcing them to do the work in the scene. For example, starting a scene by saying

– What’s going on here? means someone else has to supply the information for the scene. A better way to go about it would be to say

-Why are you Riding that horsurs Here, you are still asking a question but are also supplying your partners with information while you do it.

The most basic ground rule is that there is no right or wrong. Something that inhibits a lot of students is the worry that they are somehow doing something wrong. Improv is about going with your impulses and creating something from them. While there are some rules we will cover in this lesson that can make improv easier, there is no right or wrong.

Teach your students to repeat these questions and answers to themselves when they are feeling unsure:

– How do I do it?

– Just do it.

– Am I doing it right?

– Yes

What are you doing? Improvisation activity:

Group stands in a circle. One person goes into the centre of the circle and starts an action (such as brushing her teeth).

A person goes into the centre, and asks, “What are you doing?”

The person brushing her teeth answers by saying something other than what she is doing. “I’m dribbling a basketball.”

The first person then leaves, and the new person starts “dribbling a basketball.” Then a new person goes in and asks, “What are you doing?”

And so on…

Encourage students to make new choices each time. (No repeats.)

Newspaper Headlines

In a group of 3 pr4, chose one of the following headlines:

Airline removes passenger who won’t stop doing pull ups.

Arrest over theft of £5million gold toilet from palace.

Fisherman gets shock, as he reels in dinosaur like fish with huge eyes.

Two headed snake, named Double Dave found in the forest.

Woman dreams of swallowing a ring and wakes up to find she has.

Queen returns pet monkey to girl.

Make a still image, freeze frame, mime, improvise the story.

 

Airline removes passenger who won’t stop doing pull ups.

 

Arrest over theft of £5million gold toilet from palace.

 

Fisherman gets shock, as he reels in dinosaur like fish with huge eyes.

 

Two headed snake, named Double Dave found in the forest.

 

Woman dreams of swallowing a ring and wakes up to find she has.

 

Queen returns pet monkey to girl.

Some other links:

Therapeutic Storytelling 

Anti bullying workshop for children

Posted in Animal Stories, Books for children, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Drama games for 4 year olds, Drama strategies, Drama techniques, Fairy Tales, The 3 little pigs

Drama Workshop for Young Children based on the Three Little Pigs

 

 

The Three Little Pigs (Drama Workshop)

Each child finds a space and sits down. Each child or a group of children are assigned a specific word and a corresponding action. The narrator/teacher reads the story aloud and when the children hear their word they must jump up and do their actions. The words are in bold to assist the teacher/narrator.

 Movement: Action/sound.

Any number: Show that number of fingers.

Little: Crouch down as small as you can.

Pig: Get on all fours and oink once.

Pigs: Get on all fours and oink twice.

Big: Stretch up as high as you can.

Bad: Make an angry face.

Wolf: Make hands into claws and say “aargh.”

Laughing: Laugh loudly.

Smiling: Give a big wide smile.

Trotted: Trot up and down the space.

Straw: Rub your hands together.

Sticks: Clap your hands together.

Bricks: Clap your hands on your thighs.

Huff/huffed: Blow.

Puff/puffed: Blow harder.

Blow/blew: Stamp feet on the ground.

Narrator: Once upon a time, there was a mother pig who lived with her three little pigs. One day she said, “Little pigs, I think it is time for you to leave and make your own way in this big world. You each need to build your own house.” The little pigs were very excited about their new, big adventure. Mother pig gave each of her little pigs a hug, but she warned them, “Remember to watch out for the big bad wolf.” The little pigs waved goodbye to their mother, and they trotted into the woods. They were laughing and smiling, and soon they came across a man who was carrying some straw. The first little pig said, “May I have some straw to build my house?” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the first little pig some straw to build his house. Just before they left, the man warned them, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.” The first little pig built his house of straw.

The two other pigs trotted on down the road. They were laughing and smiling, and soon they came across a man who was carrying some sticks. The second little pig said, “May I have some sticks to build my house?” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the second little pig some sticks to build his house. Just before they left, the man warned them, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.” The second little pig built his house of sticks.

The third little pig trotted on down the road. He was laughing and smiling, and soon he came across a man who was carrying some bricks. The third little pig said, “May I have some bricks to build my house?” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the third little pig some bricks to build his house. Just before they left, the man warned him, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.”

The third little pig built his house of bricks. The first little pig had just finished building his house of straw when the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

The first little pig replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”

Then the wolf said, Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” So, he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down.

The first little pig trotted very quickly to his brother’s house made of sticks. The second little pig had just finished building his house of sticks when he heard a knock on the door, and to his surprise, it was his brother. Suddenly, the big bad wolf appeared.

He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

The second little pig replied, “Not by hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”

Then the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” So, he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down.

The two little pigs trotted very quickly to their brother’s house made of bricks.

The third little pig had just finished building his house of bricks when he heard a knock on the door, and to his surprise, it was his two brothers. Suddenly, the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

The third little pig replied, “Not by hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”

Then the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” The wolf huffed, and he puffed. He huffed, and he puffed, but he couldn’t blow the house down. He heard the three little pigs inside the house. They were laughing. This made the wolf very angry indeed. He decided he would climb to the top of the roof and come down the chimney.

The third little pig heard him on the roof, and he came up with a clever plan. He put a big pot of boiling water on the fire, which was just underneath the chimney. The wolf came tumbling down the chimney and landed into the big pot of boiling water and “SPLASH!” That was the end of the big bad wolf. The three little pigs lived happily ever after.

Warm-up: One child is chosen or volunteers to be Mr. or Ms. Wolf and stands at one side of the clear space. His/her back is to the other children, who are standing at the opposite end of the space. The rest of the children shout out: “What’s the time, Mr. /Ms. Wolf?” The wolf does not turn around. He/she replies in a rough, wolf-like voice: “Four o’clock.” The children walk forward the number of steps the wolf calls out (in this case, four). The children ask again: “What time is it, Mr./Ms. Wolf?” The wolf replies: “Five o’clock.” The children take five steps forward. The children continue to ask the question and to walk the appropriate number of steps forward. Eventually, when the wolf thinks that the children are near enough, he/she will say: “Dinnertime!” Then the wolf turns around and chases the children. They must try to rush back to their starting place. If Mr./Ms. Wolf catches one of them before they reach home, that child is the wolf in the next game.

Choral speaking: Teach the children the following poem. Get them to think of different actions for the straw, sticks, bricks, pigs and wolf. They say the poem in unison.

 Straw, Sticks and Bricks

Straw, sticks and bricks.

Straw, sticks and bricks.

The pigs built their houses

Out of straw, sticks and bricks

The wolf came by,

He blew the straw down.

He blew the sticks, but the bricks were strong

The pig lived happy all the days long

In their house of bricks.

Occupational mime: Divide the class into groups of 4: three pigs and one wolf. The pigs move round the room in a “follow the leader” style. The pig at the front of the line is doing the actions. The first pig mimes collecting materials and building a house of straw. Second and third pigs follow, copying the mime. When the house is blown down by the wolf, the first pig moves to the end of the line. Second pig then heads the line and mimes building house of sticks. Finally, third pig takes a turn and mimes building a house of bricks. The wolf moves around the room avoiding pigs as they build until it is time to blow the house down.

Role-play: Encourage different movements such as gathering straw, breaking sticks or lifting heavy bricks. Encourage the wolves to use their body and facial expression to look fierce and threatening. Give everyone in the group the opportunity to take on the role of the wolf. When the children are comfortable with the character movements, get them to use speech. Ask the following questions:

What does the wolf sound like?

What would he say to the little pigs?

What do the pigs sound like?

What would they say to the wolf?

Talking objects: Ask children if they can take on the role of the wolf. They use their breath to blow down the house. Get them to huff and puff and huff and puff and blow the house down. Everyone sits in a circle and the teacher presents the group with objects that can be blown down by the breath, the wind or a hurricane such as a leaf, balloon, paper, tree, car or even a bridge. Every child becomes an object; they enter the circle and give the group some information about who they are. For example: “I’m small, I’m green and live on a tree.” Once the rest of group have guessed correctly, everyone blows the object down.

Conclusion: The teacher discusses with the group reasons why the wolf gets very angry. The teacher asks the children how they can show the wolf how to relax using his breath. The wolf uses his breath to blow things down, but he could use his breath for relaxation exercises.

Tummy breathing: The children find their own space on the floor. They lie down and place their hands or a stuffed toy on their tummy. They inhale on a count of three. They see their hands or stuffed toy rising as their tummy fills with air. They exhale on the count of four and they see their hands or stuffed toys falling. Repeat this process 10 times. When everyone is finished, ask the children the following questions:

How do you feel?

What did you notice about your hands/stuffed toy when you inhaled and exhaled?

How would this exercise help the wolf?

Burst balloon: The children all lie on the floor. The teacher gets them to imagine that their body is a balloon. They are going to close their eyes and inflate the balloon. They fill up their tummies with air. Then when they are full, the teacher counts to three and the children shout bang and they let all the air out of their bodies like a deflated balloon.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Drama for children

Movement and self regulation for young children

 

 

Movement is very important for helping children increase their control over their own thoughts, emotional responses and actions. The following movement activities are fun and can be introduced easily into the day.

 

Movement Activity: Imagine You Are……

Resources needed: Clear space.

Instructions: This game helps children do traditional stretches in a creative and fun way. These stretches can be done individually or in pairs.

Imagine you are a whisk

Get the children to stand in a circle and put their hands over their head. They join their hands together and move them around in a large circle. Initially, they move their hands in a clockwise direction and when the group is comfortable moving in this direction, get them to move their hands in an anticlockwise direction.

Imagine you are an inchworm

Get the children to bend down and put their hands on the ground. Next, get them to walk their hands out in front of them until they are supporting their own body weight. The children get into a push up position.  They walk their feet up to their hands and then they continue walking their hands out and walking their feet up to their hands until they have moved to the other side of the room. Make sure that they have their own space and don’t bump into one another.

Imagine you are a car wiper

Get the children to lie on the ground. When they are comfortable get them to put their legs in the air. Slowly they move both legs from one side to another.

Imagine you are a cat stretching

Get the children to put their hands and feet are on the floor, arch their back high in the air and stretch.

Imagine you are a giant

Get the children to take a big step and lunge on each step.

Imagine you are a marching soldier

Get the children to swing their arms and bring their legs up to their chest on each step.

Imagine you are a leaping frog

Get the children to squat down. They put their hands between their knees and jump around the space.

Movement Activity: Movement Sequences

Resources needed: Clear space.

Instructions: The teacher discusses with the children different ways of moving. He/she asks the children to come up with as many ways to move as possible.

Suggestions for different ways to move:

Walk

Run

Crawl

Roll

Hop

Skip

Jump

Leap

Tiptoe

Tumble

Turn

Gallop

Twirl

Spin

Walk sideways

Walk backwards

The children will come up with many more ways of moving than those listed above.  The teacher calls out different movement sequences such as

Walk-jump-twirl-tumble-run

Spin-gallop-jump-skip-gallop

Extension: If the children are older then give them an opportunity to be the leader and call out their own movement sequences.

 

Movement Activity: Butterflies

Resources needed: Classical music pieces, scarves or dance fans

Other Benefits: Co-ordination, energy, focus, trust.

Instructions: Give the children two colourful scarves and encourage them to fly around like butterflies to the classical music. Butterflies is an excellent activity for children to use their imagination. Most children will love classical music if they are introduced to it at an early stage.

Suggestion of classical music pieces:

Carmen Overture, Georges Bizet

In the Hall of the Mountain King, Edward Grieg

The Flight of the Bumble Bee, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

The Teddy Bear’s Picnic, Henry Hall Orchestra

The Nutcracker, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Four Seasons, Antonio Vivaldi

Carnival of the Animals, Camille Saint Saens

Hoe-Down, Aaron Copland

Hungarian Dance No.5, Johannes Brahms

 

The above activities are from Movement Start by Julie Meighan.

Movement Stories for children ages 3 to 6 by Helen Landalf

 

Posted in Drama for children

Self-Regulation Strategies, Ideas and Activities for ECEC Practitioners

 

 

 

Self-Regulation Strategies, Ideas and Activities for ECEC Practitioners

When implementing trauma-sensitive practices in ECEC settings it is important

To focus on relationships

To promote safety and trustworthiness

To engage in choice and collaboration

To encourage skill-building and competence

To create a safe and secure environment for children, which has very clear boundaries and a consistent structure.

 

Comfort Box

A comfort box is a physical box that is used to distract a child from negative thoughts and encourage more positive, soothing ones. It is an anchor of comfort when a child is experiencing periods of anxiety.

Your child’s comfort box should include only items that create happy memories, soothing sensations or pleasant feelings using the five senses. Here are some examples of items to consider including for each sense:

  • Smell: bathtime soap or your body spray/aftershave
  • Taste: their favourite sweet treat or snack
  • Sight: a picture or drawing of a fun, family experience
  • Touch: a comfort blanket or favourite cuddly toy
  • Sound: an audiobook, piece of music or sound of a loved one talking

There are lots of different things that you can include in a comfort box obviously, you will want to tailor it to the children in your care. Here are some more ideas of things in you can things you can put in a comfort box for children.

Bottle of bubbles

Fidget toys such as fidget spinners, Tangle Jr. or Puffer ball

Cuddly toy

Weighted cushions/ blankets

Sensory tunnel

Yoga poses cards

Kaleidoscope

Hourglass

Plastic snow globes

Stress balls

Play doh, clay or silly putty

Flashing toys

Pipe cleaners – to twist and bend

Spinning top

Harmonica, whistle bell, chimes

Small mirror

Pinwheels

Sensory bottles

Therapeutic stories deal with anxiety, worry or loss.

If you want to write therapeutic stories for children the following books are useful resources:

Using Story Telling as a Therapeutic Tool with Children by Margot Sunderland

Using Stories to Build Bridges with Traumatized Children: Creative Ideas for Therapy, Life Story Work, Direct Work and Parenting by Kim S. Golding

Posted in Christmas drama games, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Plays for Children

More Christmas Drama Games for Children

Christmas Drama Games for Children

Game: If I Could Be a Christmas Toy…

Age: 3 years +

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Clear space.

 Benefits: This game stimulates creativity. It helps the children to move and to get into different roles.

Instructions: Each child in the circle takes it in turn to say for example: “Hi, my name is Anna, and if I could be any Christmas toy, I would be a football because…” The children should be encouraged to come up with unusual toys. They could also comment on and respond to the other children’s choice of toy. At the end, the teacher can get the children to imagine that they are in the toy shop and then they walk around the clear space pretending to be their chosen toy.

Christmas Drama Games for Children

Game: All I Want for Christmas Is…

Age: 4 years +

Minimum number of participants: 5

Resources needed: Clear space.

Benefits: This game stimulates the imagination and is very good for focussing on memory skills. It is also an excellent listening game.

Instructions: Everyone sits in a circle. The teacher starts by saying something like: “All I want for Christmas is a doll…”  The child next to the teacher follows by first repeating what the teacher said and adding an item to the list: “All I want for Christmas is a doll and a PlayStation…” The next child continues by saying something like: “All I want for Christmas is a doll and a PlayStation and a guitar.” The game continues, with each child repeating what the previous children have said and adding one item to the Christmas list. If a child makes a mistake, then they are out of the game. The list continues until there is only one child left in the game.

Christmas Drama Games for Children

Game: Follow the Reindeer

Age: 4 years +

Minimum number of participants: 3

Resources needed: Clear space.

Benefits: This game also improves reaction and observation skills.

Instructions: All the children stand in a circle and they start walking on the spot. The teacher/volunteer is the reindeer. The reindeer makes a gesture and the children copy it, for example, waving their left hand. Then the reindeer shouts out the name of one of the children in the group and they must change or add to the action, for example, waving their left and right hands. The game can continue until everyone in the circle has had a chance to add or to change an action.

Christmas Drama Games for Children

Game: Santa Claus’s Glasses

Age: 4 years +

Minimum number of participants: 5

Resources needed: Clear space, glasses.

 Benefits: This is an effective listening game. It can also be used to improve concentration skills.

Instructions: One child is chosen to be Santa Claus. Santa Claus puts the glasses on his head and faces a wall at one side of the clear space. The other children in the group must go to the other side of the space. They must try to creep up on Santa Claus and take his glasses. Santa Claus can turn around suddenly at any time. If he sees anyone moving that child must start again from the beginning.

More Christmas drama games

The Littlest Xmas Tree Play for Children