Posted in Role playing stories

The therapeutic benefits of clay work in play therapy.

potter at work

Clay work is like the Cinderella of the art therapies. She still waits to be discovered with her magic, her beauty and her ability to transform the wells of human suffering into places of insight and celebration. Her dark earthly solid mass, often appearing in greyish, brownish or terracotta dress, is hardly alluring at first sight. Touching this sticky cold mass, you sense she has a longing and determination to merge with your skin.” (Sherwood, 2010)

Children have always played with clay however more recently it has become a valuable tool for play therapists as it provides children with a natural method of connection and expression. This research project is going to examine the therapeutic benefits of using clay in play therapy. The reason I choose this particular topic to research is because when I started play therapy with my clients I did not include clay in my tool kit. After a few months, clay was introduced into the play room and it was very apparent to me from the outset that my clients were instantly drawn to it. They all used the clay but interestingly they used it in very different ways. Its many qualities such as its strength, malleability and its concreteness make it very responsive to human feelings. My clients liked feeling, modelling, squashing, rolling and pounding the clay. I felt undoubtedly it was instrumental in moving the clients forward in their therapeutic process. Children are naturally attracted to clay and are drawn to its visual appeal (Henley, 2002). It is a strong expressive medium and is ideal for enhancing children’s development and holistic learning (White, 2006). This research project will attempt to give some insight into what the therapeutic benefits are of using clay in a play therapy setting.  I will do this by examining relevant literature on the subject and by using some of my own personal experiences dealing with clay as a play therapist.

Landreth (2002) states that it is difficult for children to access their feelings at a verbal level as children do not have the cognitive or verbal ability to express what they are feeling in a manner that can be expressed into words.  Since the inception of play therapy, clay has always been an important tool for therapist (Axline, 1947; Landreth, 2002). It is advocated by many psychotherapists as one of the primary devices for helping clients to explore difficult concepts and express fundamental emotions in a non verbal manner (Freud 2006). However, while many therapists’ advocates the inclusion of clay in the therapy room and recognise its therapeutic potential. Goryl’s (as cited in Sherwood 2010) survey showed only 25% of therapists used clay in their practice while in contrast 99% believed that clay was very therapeutic. There has not being much research done on the therapeutic aspects of clay or clay as a therapeutic medium in general (Sherwood, 2010, Gavron and Sholt, 2006, Souter-Anderson, 2010). The dearth of research and books on the subject may be a result of the belief that clay therapy comes under the umbrella of art therapy. Souter- Anderson (2010) in her book “Touching Clay, Touching What?” refutes this and claims clay therapy has a “unique theoretical anchoring in the same way that sandplay, music therapy and authentic movement have their respective theoretical bases” (Souter-Anderson, 2010: 13).

In order to explore the therapeutic aspects of clay it is important to briefly describe the role clay has played in history. Clay products such as vases, pots, symbolic figures have been present in past civilizations. In addition to the functional aspects of clay in creating a variety of containing tools, it has been used in many cultures as a method of expressing the religious dimensions in human life. Clay originates from the earth and as the earth is viewed as the source of all things it can be inferred that clay can anchor very powerful emotions. Sholt and Gavron (2006: 66) claim there is a link “between symbolic clay products and mental spiritual realm of human kind early in human history. Accordingly, clay figures which are made of earth may reflect the connection between the human mental world and the material world”

Clay involves a very primal mode of expression and communication as it involves touching (Henley, 2002).  Tactile contact is actually the first mode of communication that a baby learns (Bowlby, 1969). It is the sense of touch that enables people to understand the very boundaries of themselves (Sunderland, 2004).  Touch, before all else, is the primary, non-verbal way a child has to relating to its mother.  From the moment of birth, touch is the way in which feelings are communicated and experienced. The sense of touch is closely linked to early attachment. (Bowlby, 1969). Attachment is the bond that develops between a baby and its primary caregiver.  It is characterised by the interaction patterns which develop in order to fulfil the infants’ needs and emotional development (Bowlby, 1969). According to Bowlby (1969) not developing a secure attachment in early life, could prove damaging to the child emotionally and these difficulties could filter through to adult life. Souter-Anderson (2010) states that many therapists see their clients’ relationship with clay as a metaphor for their attachments with different people in their lives. Cattanach (1996:196) states that the medium of clay have its own specific qualities and says “it responds and reacts and has to be grappled with, in the same way as a human relationship does if it is to progress”. Baring this in mind it could be concluded using clay in the playroom could help children or adults not only to explore their early attachment bonds but also help them examine and look at their current relationships.

Clay leaves an imprint and feelings move through hands into clay making the invisible visible. In addition to touch, modelling clay requires body movement. Touch and movement are interlinked.  Real past memories and the “central window to the unconscious” can be unlocked through touch and movement (Oaklander, 1988). Clay therapy can allow the clients see their inner trauma and places of wounding (Sherwood, 2010). Nez (1991) made use of clay in order to facilitate healing with adults who had difficult and traumatic childhoods. He found that clay encouraged a more spontaneous and less controlled expression and response then other art mediums. He stated that using clay put the client in touch with primitive sensations and emotion.

Clay is cathartic in nature as it allows the child to express an array of emotions. Catharsis allows for the release of previously restrained and interrupted affective release via emotional expression such as pounding clay (Schaffer, 2006).  When children feel stuck, frustrated and overwhelmed by life challenges, the use of clay in therapy provides a safe place for releasing stored up thoughts and emotions, and unlearning old, destructive or unproductive habits. Some children find this particularly soothing and it can be useful for releasing tension or can be safe outlet for frustration and aggression (Hart, 1992 as cited in Sholt & Gavron, 2006). Sholt and Gavron (2006:67) states that working with clay could ” function as a control window to these unconscious non verbal representations and maybe helpful with people who find it hard to express themselves verbally or who are defensive.

Clay is malleable and three dimensional and it can become anything a child wants it to become. It can embody a representational form or an abstract one, for example a child could create a shape that represents a monster which could  look like an animal or a fantasy figure or it just might be a shape that maybe symbolic.  Once form has emerged from the clay, it may become fixed and permanent, or be crushed and rolled back up into a ball. Creating different forms can help a child find a way of expressing their inner emotions and thoughts.

Souter-Anderson (2010) states that clay is particularly useful when exploring feelings of anger. It can also act as an outlet to prevent the build up of negative emotions and feelings in the child. Macks (1990) as cited in Henley (2002) talks about a client who dug her nails into the clay over and over again. He says that in order for “the therapeutic process to progress than all suppressed or imploded anger must first be imploded” (Sherwood, 2010:72). I found this to be very true in my experience of working with a nine year old boy. He was referred to play therapy as he had some difficulties mixing with other children in the school. He became very aggressive and anger at times and the school were concerned. His mother said he appeared sad a lot of the time. He was an only child who lived alone with his mother. His parents were young when he was born and his father is drug addict. His father has been in and out of prison due to his drug addiction. He does see his father but it is very irregularly and he has come to see him as an acquaintance rather than a father.  He used to just come into the room and throw the clay at the board. I noticed he did this when he was annoyed or angry about something not necessarily his father but something that had happen in school or if he was anger with his mother or teachers. He eventually made it into a game. He drew a circle on the board and the nearer he threw the clay to the centre of the circle the more points he received. Sherwood (2010:105) states in her book is a particularly good way “for the release of anger since it splats on the board. The release is dramatic”.

Clay being an earthy medium by its very nature can take a lot of anger and rage. Clay in therapy provides a medium to work through issues such as anger, grief, and fear and move the client on in their therapeutic process. Another client used the clay to represent lot of different emotions. The client was a ten year old girl that lived with her mother, her brother and half sister in a disadvantaged area in the city. Her parents had separated two years previously and at the time the sessions commenced she was having difficulty accepting the situation. Her father and his new girlfriend had a baby and he moved in with her and created a new family unit. She did not consider herself to be part of this new family and over the course of the sessions she became more isolated from her father and felt abandoned by him. She had difficulty using any of the tool kit but when the clay was introduced she used to throw at the board and the walls. She used feel energised and it would improve her mood. Interestingly, in the latter phrase of her play therapy she began to make smiley faces. On one occasion she used the clay to do this. This client found it very difficult to talk about her real feelings so I felt the clay gave her an outlet to express them in a non verbal way.

Self esteem

Working with clay can be rewarding for children who are hesitant about their creativity. You need very little skill to use clay and so there is hardly any chance of failure (Henley, 2002). The play therapy is non directive and as the play therapist does not enforce any expectations or boundaries on the client, he can express himself freely in a confident matter and with out restraint. Additionally the important aspect of using clay which is often ignored in play therapy as we focus on the process rather than the product is the way it enables children to produce lasting pieces. This permanency of creation promotes a child’s self-esteem and when functional pieces are produced (e.g. cups, bowls) children see themselves as capable of engaging in a truly purposeful activity (White as cited in Schaffer, 2006).

I had this experience with one of my clients. This specific client had abandonment issues and was suffering from low self esteem. In the early sessions, she preferred to talk but in one session she choose to work with the clay.  She made a SpongeBob out of the clay and she wanted to take it home however this conflicted with the boundaries we had set out for the play therapy sessions. She had agreed to leave everything in the playroom until her therapy was finished. However, this seemed very important to her and up to this point she hadn’t asked to take any thing else out of the room so  I spoke to my supervisor who told me get her to make another one that she could specifically show her mother and her friends. The next session we created another SpongeBob (see photo below) in the room and she took it away.

The next week she told me how great her friends and mother thought it was.  She was extremely pleased with herself. The fact is clay can give children the material to make something out of nothing. They can put their own imprint on clay and therefore they bring something from the unconscious to the conscious (Heimlich and Mark, 1990 as cited in Sholt and Gavron, 2006). Clay products are tangible and can be examined at a later stage and the importance of this was evident in the case of my client. She used to look and admire her clay creations every week. Play provides children with unlimited opportunities to create, through the construction of clay, whereby they gain a sense of confidence and self efficacy that boasts their self esteem (Schaefer 2006).  Oaklander (1988) also advocates projective techniques such as clay sculpting which she claims is very useful to facilitate children and help them explore negative self image and increase self acceptance and self esteem. I found from my own clients that using clay can be a satisfying experience that enables a child who can be hesitant about their creativity be creative.

Group work

For many years clay have been used by psychotherapists and art therapist. As clay has been advocated by therapist as something that advances the therapeutic process in not only in individual but also group therapies (Anderson, 1995; Mattes and Robbins, 1981 as cited in Sholt and Gavron, 2006). Using clay can also be a very social activity. When appropriate, groups of children with similar presenting concerns are encouraged to interact together verbal communication skills, confidence and social skills are developed and promoted. Children will often exchange ideas and suggestions on how something can be made, and being able to show another child how to make something can be particularly rewarding (White, 2006). Co-operation and sharing of ideas in groups promotes a sense of identity and a sense of belonging.  In a study carried out by Sweeney and Thomas as cited in Souter-Anderson (2010) focusing on the issue of transition, clay was the second most popular medium used. Sand tray work was the first. I found this very apparent in a group of four girls who were aged eleven I had for group play therapy. The overall aim of the therapy was to enable the clients to become more confident, more self assured and to have a more positive image about themselves. One of the girls had difficulty in each session trying to decide what to do. The others in the group would just ignore her but one of the weeks we were using clay the other girls gave her ideas on what she could make. She felt supportive and gave the strength to finish her clay model. She made a face – see photo below.

Up to this point she had never completed anything. After she had completed her model with their direction, they as a group decided without being asked they decided to make a clay model together. They decided to make a plaque and decorate it with glitter and stars. The girl who could never complete anything to that point became very much involved and suggested that they are put their initials on the plaque (see photo below).

The group had been quite separate up to the session we used the clay and I felt it was definitely instrumental in the bond in the group becoming closer and for moving them forward in the therapy. The client who found it difficult to decide what to do every week became much more confident and uninhibited when working with the clay. She put the clay all over her face (see photo below). She was enjoying the freedom of using the clay with no pressure to get it right or produce a perfect model.

Another interesting observation I made was when one of the girls in the group made an ashtray for her father she spoke to the group of how she was very worried he would die if he didn’t stop smoking. These revelations led to another member of the group opening up about her fears for her mother who also smokes see photo below it is the clay model at the front.

Sherwood (2010) says using clay in groups is very productive in prompting discussions about feelings and relationships and I felt this was certainly true with this particular group I had.

Using clay as a metaphor

Using clay to create metaphorical meaning can directly progress a client’s therapy. As mentioned earlier clay allows a client to access to their unconscious. If a client can tap into their unconscious they can begin to face the underlying cause of their difficulties. Winner (1998) as cited in Henley (2002) says that metaphors are a more effective way of capturing meaning than talking. The use of metaphors allows for the exploration of client’s social and emotional difficulties without having to confront the issues directly or resort to negative criticism (Henley, 2002) by creating symbolic equivalents to their thoughts feelings and behaviours. Working with metaphor as a means of problem solving is an enjoyable and fun way of confronting serious issues.  The photo below shows one of my client’s clay representations of how he sees his mother. He sees as her as a snake.  It wasn’t a negative thing as the snake can represent protection and transformation.

Henley (2002) states the in order to use clay as a suitable therapeutic medium it is important that the child has some ability in to think abstractly. Thus he believes that using this medium is most suitable for children over the age 6. He believes that younger children may enjoy using the clay they would not necessary to benefit from it therapeutically.

Summary of findings

This research project attempted to explore some of the therapeutic benefits of using clay in play therapy. I have discovered that it undoubtedly helps a play therapy client express their emotions and this is due to the tactile nature of the clay. It is this mode of primal communication (touching) that helps emotions such as anger, greed, and grief be expressed in the clay. Using clay therapeutically allows you to grab an emotion and look at it in the face, touch it, shape it and feel it. It makes the intangible touchable.  From my research and my own personal experience I have concluded that clay is extremely cathartic as clients have a strong emotional experience working with the clay. Due it is to its ability to be three dimensional, it can represent real life objects. It can lead to regression and according to Henley (2002) regression that occurs through clay work leads to a cathartic release. It is powerful and penetrating and it enables an enormous release and transformation without the client having to talk about what is going on. However the use of clay can tap into the unconscious mind and a therapeutic conversation about the visible product with the client can unlock the hidden memories. I have also seen how clay can act as a catalyst in encouraging group interaction and it helps with self esteem and self confidence. It also helps clients develop their social skills and helps the group members to support one another. It also can be instrumental in developing empathy. I feel that clay work that is symbolic or metaphoric can facilitate verbal communication and encourage people to speak about matters they wouldn’t have normally disclosed. Additionally I think because of need to focus on the clay when one manipulates clay can led to improved concentration.

Recommendations

From this research I have some recommendations for using clay in play therapy.

  • It is important to make clay more widely available in the play room. The use of this tool by more play therapists in a broader range of contexts and with a broader range of population groups like special needs is important. As mentioned in the project although 99% of counsellors believe clay has some therapeutic value only 25% of therapists make it available.
  • Clay can be used very effectively in group work to promote social skills and empathy. Be more directive ask the group to make a shape representing themselves, or how they felt this morning. By doing this you are promoting an interactive discussion within the group but remember never force someone to speak if they refuse to do so.
  • Therapists often feel under confident in terms of using clay (Souter-Anderson, 2010) which is probably one of the reason that it is absent from many therapists tool kits. I would recommend that therapists should spend time getting to know the medium and feel what is like working with it personally.

In conclusion before I began this research essay I knew clay was very effective but this essay has helped me realise how and why clay is such a powerful medium and it is an essential part of a play therapist’s tool kit. This research has helped me improve my understanding of the therapeutic uses of clay and it undoubtedly informs my future practice as a play therapist.

Bibliography

 

Axline, V. (1947). Play Therapy: The inner dynamics of childhood. Cambridge: MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Axline, V. (1969). Play Therapy. New York: Ballantine Books.

Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and Loss (vol. 1). Hammondsworth: Penguin.

Cattanach, A. (1993). Process in Art Therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publications.

Freud, S. (2006). The Interpretation of Dreams. London: Penguin Group.

Henley, D. (1996). Clayworks in Art Therapy: Plying the Sacred Circle. London: Jessica Kingsley Publications.

Landreth, G. (2002 ). Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship. New York: Routledge.

Oaklander, V. (1978). Windows to Our  Children. New York: The centre for Gestalt Development Inc.

Schaffer, C.  & Kadoun, H. (Eds) (2006)Contemporary Play Therapy. New York: Guildford Press.

Sherwood, P. (2010). The Healing Art of Clay Therapy. Melbourne: Acer Press.

Sholt, M. & Gavron, T. (2006). Therapeutic Qualities of Clay-work in Art Therapy and Psychotherapy: A Review. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 23 (2) pp.66-72. AATA, Inc.

Souter-Anderson (2010) Touching Clay, Touching What? Dorset: Archive Publishing.

Sunderland, M. (2003). Using Storytelling as a Therapeutic Tool with Children. Oxon: Speechmark Publishing Ltd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Role playing stories

Storytelling with Early Years

A book with a castle at the forest

Storytelling with Early Years

The following are some pointers you should use when story telling to young children the first thing that a teacher/educator should do is identify the children’s interest. Identify the children’s interest. Examples of topics that children maybe interest are animals, stories where children their age are heroes’ stories about things children like to do, getting dirty, playing with an adult around, trying something new for the first time, etc.

Another question that often comes to light especially with new teachers is “where do I find good and appropriate stories for young children?” The stories can be from your head that you have remembered from childhood or have  made up. The stories can be from picture books particularly useful if trying to encouraging reading.  Libraries have many collections of folktales often compiled in easy format books, or adaptable to your needs. Stories that deal with families are also often very effective.

There are some key elements that you must engage with to make story time successful. You must know and like your story, know and like your audience and make sure the story and audience match each other. Another important point is that you must be flexible.

The next important step is you must learn to tell  a story. First you must learn the bare bones plot (3 pigs left home and each built a house: one of sticks, one of straw, one of bricks. A wolf came and blew down the straw and stick houses. He tried to get into the brick house but got boiled when he went down the chimney into a pot of water. The End; a fox made a crow drop some cheese by flattering her into opening her mouth to sing. The End. Etc.)  Practice it and tell it to yourself while driving. You should tape it and listen to it and if you want look at yourself in the mirror while practising so you can see your facial expression and body language.

You must make the stories  exciting and fun. The following are the tools of the teller:

Voice
A good voice exercise is to write some sentences on a blackboard, and have each person say them in different situations. For instance, say “I want a cup of coffee” as though you were tired, happy, angry, disgusted, humiliated, etc. Then change this to an entire situation: you are in your boss’s office and he has just fired you. Let them choose the emotion and the voice.

Body language
Have two people hold up a sheet, and two more stand behind it, the sheet covering their torsos and upper legs. Whisper an emotion into their ears, and then say “go.” Have the students point out what made them know which emotions they were imitating. This is called cultural knowledge. We know when people are angry, sad, excited, etc. We don’t always know why we know, but we do know. So do children in fact, they are sometimes quicker to pick this up because they need it for living by adult rules. So be careful with your face and body language; the children are reading it.

Imagination
There are many old theatre games that work well here. One I like is the Magic Box – an imaginary box that goes around the circle, each person pulling out and using an object until everyone has guessed what it is. This involves the next tool: cooperation. Someone will choose something complex , and no one will be able to guess. Then we have to cooperate with the audience, help them, give them clues. It is our responsibility, not theirs, to provide the communication needed to make the link to our thoughts.

Remember: you’re not just telling stories; you’re teaching them to be an audience

  • Intersperse with rhymes, fingerplays, prop stories
  • Sing
  • Keep stories short

Some examples of good storytelling activities are as follows:

Game: Pop-up Story Book

  • Age: 3 years +
  • Minimum number of participants: 2
  • Resources needed: Clear space, a story book.
  • Other Benefits: This is an excellent listening game that can be played with any number of children. It helps them to engage in the storytelling process.
  • Instructions: The teacher chooses a story to read that the children are familiar with. Each child is given a word. For example if the teacher was reading ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, child A is given the word Goldilocks, child B, baby, child C, porridge, child D, bed and so on. When each child has been given a word the game can begin. All the children lie on the floor. When the child hears his/her word s/he must jump up. If they miss their turn they are out and can’t pop-up anymore.

Participation/movement stories

Game: The Hungry Tree

  • Age: 5+
  • Minimum number of participants: 3
  • Resources needed: Clear space.
  • Other Benefits: This is an excellent introduction to improvisation as the children are free to explore their imaginations. It also helps with their co-ordination skills.
  • Instructions: The teacher tells the children the following story and they have to improvise the movements in the story. The teacher gets the children to imagine they are an adventurer who wants to go on an adventure. They have to pack up their bags. The teacher asks what they need in the bags. Children’s answers are usually for example water, sandwiches, sun cream, and sunglasses and so on. The children mime putting all these essentials into their bag and then mime all the actions in the adventure below. The teacher says imagine you are walking quickly because you are so happy to be on your adventure. You see a mountain and decide you should climb it. The sun is getting hotter and hotter and you are getting tired. You get very, very tired. You wipe your brow to show how tired you are. You begin to climb slower and slower. You are very thirsty. You take out your water and take a drink. You put it back in your bag and climb the rest of the way up  the mountain. Eventually you get to the top. You are exhausted, very hot and very hungry. You decide it is time for your picnic. You see a lovely tree and you go and sit under its shade. You eat your picnic and go for a nap. Then suddenly you wake up and see the tree moving towards you. The tree grabs you and you realise it is a very hungry tree and wants to eat you. You scream. You struggle. You fight the branches but you are getting weaker and weaker. Then suddenly the tree stops fighting for a moment. You get your chance to escape. You quickly grab your bag, and run back down the mountain. You get to the end and you don’t stop in case the hungry tree is running after you. You run all the way home, lock all the doors and hide under the table.

 

Some advice on how to keep the children focused while storytelling.

Magic Glue  This is a basic scenario: “Okay, now everybody is standing up, right? Here we go. Pick your right leg up with your hands. Now stick it to the floor with the magic (or imaginary) glue. Push it down hard. Wiggle it around. Is it stuck? Oops, that one’s not stuck; better try again. Everybody stuck? Good, now the left leg. Okay, can you move your feet off the floor? Try.” All sorts of contortions as you show them your feet are stuck. “Okay, now let’s run with our feet stuck to the floor!” If you do it, they will do it.

If you wish to read more ideas about the different dram games that can be used with young children in early years settings and primary school, please go to Drama Start  and enter the coupon REW50 and you will receive a copy of the book for  a special price of  €2-00. Alternatively you can buy the kindle version of the book form amazon.co.uk or amazon.com

Posted in Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Movement stories for children

Drama movement games – Part 2

image

Name: Cat and mouse.

Age: 4 years +.

Required number: 10+.

Requirements: Clear space.

Procedure: All children are in pairs. One child is cat, one other child is mouse, and all others stay in pairs, arms hooked together. Cat chases mouse; when mouse is caught then mouse becomes cat and vice versa. However, mouse can escape chase by hooking into any pair of other players. At that point the player at the other end of the pair becomes cat and the cat becomes mouse.

Name: Magic Box.

Age: 3 years +.

Required number:  2+.

Requirements: Clear space.

Procedure: This is a fun mime game. Everyone sits in a circle. Ask the students can they see the box in the centre of the circle. Ask them what colour is it?. What shape is it? It can be a different shape and colour depending on where you are sitting in the circle. This is because it is a magic box. The teacher goes in first and opens the box and takes out an object. She then mimes the object and the class must get what object it is. When the students guess what object it is the teacher puts the object in the box and closes it. Whoever guessed correctly takes a turn at taking something out of the box.

Name: Captain’s coming.

Age: 4 years +.

Minimum number of participants:  3+.

Resources: Clear space

Procedure: The teacher can be the captain or one child is chosen to be the captain. The captain calls out orders to the rest of the children who are the crew. If a child does not follow an order correctly s/he is out. !

Orders                                     Action

Bow                                          run to the left side of the space

Stern                                        run to the right side of the space

Port                                          run to the left.

Starboard                              run to the right

Man overboard                   lie on back and swim

Submarines                           lie on back and stick one leg straight up.

Man the Lifeboats               find a partner, sit together, and row!

scrub the Decks                   children crouch down and pretend to clean the floor with their hands.

Climb the Rigging                 children pretend to climb a rope ladder.

Captain’s coming                  children salute and shout out “Aye Aye Captain”

Man Overboard                     children on their backs waving legs and arms in air as they drown.

Walk the Plank                       children have to walk in a perfect straight line one foot exactly in front of the other with arms outstretched to the sides.

Captain’s daughter is coming.     everyone curtseys

Hit the Deck                             children lie down on their stomachs.

 For more Mime and Movement ideas buy Drama Start Two Drama Activities and Plays for Children (ages 9 to 12) at amazon.com or amazon.co.uk or if you can buy the kindle version from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Posted in co-operation, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, Role playing stories

Setting up a role play in an Early Education Setting

Children dressing up as professionals

Role Play

Role Play can be one of the most important activities for young children; it not only stimulates their imagination but can help with their social development. Literacy, numeracy and other curriculum activities can all be planned as part of a role play situation

A Garden Shop

This can be particularly appropriate in the Spring and Summer Terms when it can coincide with growing activities.

Suggested items to collect:

Plant pots, Containers of artificial flowers, Seed packets (made by the children), Posters, and Child sized: Spade, Fork, Trowel, Canes, Watering can, Seed trays and Sieve

Activities:

Take a trip to a local garden centre.

Grow cress, sunflowers, pumpkins, beans, bean sprouts etc.

Design and make seed packets.

Make paper and card flowers for the shop.

Discuss safety issues in a garden, including poisonous plants and berries.

Maths activities – Counting, using plant pots and seeds, flowers in a bucket.

Money, using a play till and money.

There are endless variations of shops: Bakers, Newsagents, Shoe and Clothes shops, even a mini supermarket which can all incorporate activities from other curriculum areas.

A cafe

This is appropriate any time of the year and can encourage a lot of interaction between the children. Make a change by having a French or Italian cafe – the possibilities are endless.

Suggested items to collect: Plastic Tea set, Beakers, Napkins and serviettes, Plastic cutlery, Trays,  Play food, Cakes and Biscuits,  Menu cards, Blackboard for menu,  Notepads and pencils,  Hats and aprons,  Chairs and tables,

Activities:

Cooking, making small cakes and biscuits to sell in the shop.

Use the cafe as a way of introducing food from other cultures.

Make menu cards or have a blackboard for the children to write the menu for the day.

Maths activities – Weighing out ingredients when cooking.

Money, using a play till and money.

Counting and sorting cups, saucers, plates and cutlery, cakes etc.

A Theatre or Cinema Box Office

Again this is appropriate any time of the year and could coincide with an end of term performance of songs or play for the parents.

Suggested items to collect: Computer,  Keyboard,  Play till,   Posters, (real or child made),  Tickets,  Simple seating plan, Popcorn,  Programmes (made by the children),  Uniform,

Activities:

Making posters and programmes.

The box office could be used to sell tickets to parents for an end of term event.

If possible this activity could coincide with a visit to a local theatre.

Making popcorn, looking at the change in the corn

Maths activities – Money, using a play till and money.

Counting by making a seating plan out of squared paper and using coloured stickers to stick on the squares to represent when the seat has been sold.

Introducing time, what time the performances will start.