Acting has been around for a long time. It has become intertwined with our lives so much in the past centuries that it is hard to imagine how life was before the art. So, it is only natural for our younger generations to want a seat in the table.
Kids have an inquisitiveness and curiosity that we all admire. It makes them great and willing learners. Due to the nature of a young brain, they learn faster too. Kids are a clean slate, and hence, adopt new ideas better than their older folk.
If you are a parent and your kids seem to be developing an interest in drama and acting, you should count your blessings. It is a very productive way of channeling energy, which they are usually teeming with, and it builds character. Not to mention all the great bonding time you and your kids will have on stage and off it as well.
One of the best ways to fan this fire in your child is to play acting games. Most of these games are employed in top systematic acting schools and drama classes. This means that they are tested and proven. Apart from being efficient in enhancing acting skills, they are also cool and a lot of fun.
Even as far back as when I started acting at 14, I know I’ve never considered failure.Jennifer Lawrence
I have compiled a list of acting games that will suffice for any budding actors out there. They work best in groups numbering three people or more. However, this should not stop you if it is just the two of you. Go right ahead.
Acting Exercises for Kids
- Tongue twisters
- One-Word Story
- Walking Blind
- Exaggeration Circle
- On the Spot
It is important to get warmed up before starting any drama lessons, and that is where tongue twisters come in. I have some unbelievably bad memories with them as a kid – which shows just how good they are.
Tongue twisters can be practiced by kids of all ages. The thing is, they help improve the articulation of words and enable the kids to focus. A tongue twister, as you well know, will knock you off your feet if you fail to be attentive. Any lapse in concentration and you will be rewriting the English dictionary for all and sundry to hear.
Ask your kids to stretch their facial expressions as wide as possible then scrunch up their face. They should do each for a couple of seconds, alternatively. After doing this, they are ready to indulge in some tongue twisting. Start together. Say the tongue twisters slowly and deliberately. Encourage them, even if they feel the pronunciations are incredibly challenging.
After the kid has built up confidence, ask the little one to try on their own. You can pick up the pace the more you progress. There will be a lot of laughs in this game. Teach them how to get comfortable with a little banter. A thick skin is the hallmark of any great future actor because it eliminates the fear of trying and failing.
You can level up in this game by encouraging the little actors to use their stage voice. This translates to a greater challenge as they will have to really command their voices in order to be heard across the room.
You can even spruce it up some more by assigning emotions to these tongue twisters because, why not? This works well, even in pairs. Here are some classic tongue twisters you could try:
- She sells seashells on the seashore
- Red lorry, yellow lorry
- Geisha is a soft soap
The one-word story is another great game with a good premise. This is how it works. While in a circle or facing each other, if you are a pair, the first player says a single word. It can be any word. This word then begins a story. The second player then has to say a word that will continue the story. It goes on and on indefinitely, allowing you to spin as comprehensive a story as you can.
This game improves acting skills in so many ways. First and foremost, it promotes teamwork, which comes without saying. It also tests the actors’ ability to think on their feet. Most of the players I have seen play this game are saved more times by their wits than by their grammatical prowess. Finally, it promotes a good command of the language. I will also mention that it is incredibly fun.
This game is all about building trust with your young actors and helping them feel safe. I find it a bit symbolic too. It allows the kids to reflect.
Basically, it comprises of one blindfolded player who is led in silence by the second player. They can just close their eyes if a blindfold is not available. The second player then leads the ‘blind’ player around the room by only holding their hand or shoulder.
This game is played in total silence. This heightens the suspense. It should go on for about two minutes or more, and then you can switch roles. At the end of this exercise, the kids will be more comfortable with you and with each other.
You can start this game in a circle or while facing each other. The main thing this game aims to achieve is to encourage your kids. It is no secret that some kids are naturally shy.
This holds them back in many ways. A shy kid may be safe around you because you understand, but the future simply is not as accommodating. The actual acting industry is brutal, and sparks are always flying. The sooner the kid learns to speak up, the better.
The hallmark of this game is drama and exaggeration. The first player starts with a simple gesture – it can be anything. The role of the next player is to dramatize the same action or gesture while exaggerating it in any way they wish.
What this game subconsciously achieves is that it helps the young actors understand how to enlarge themes. You would be surprised at how a simple initial gesture, such as pointing, grows into something overly complex by the fifth round.
For example, you can add a shout or a grunt to the previous player’s set of movements. You can jump in disbelief, and so on. All this while maintaining the initial gesture. The game also instils the skill of magnifying character traits required to effectively portray a character.
This game manages to have an amazingly simple and straightforward premise while also being very cool. Many parents have admitted that it is one of the better acting exercises for kids.
What happens is, the players stand in pairs. Player one should be the parent, preferably, which allows the kids to be the mirror. Once the game starts, the second player becomes a pretend mirror whose job is to mirror or mimic every set of expressions or movements by the first player.
It should start slowly. The first minute or so can involve pure staring with just little movements so that the concept of the mirror can fully sink into the participants. From there, the tempo can be slowly increased or varied at will.
This game is more challenging than it sounds. It brings out the best in kids, and an upcoming actor can be spotted immediately. The facial expressions especially offer good training that comes in very handy when delivering lines from a script.
It also tests and boosts the young actors’ willingness to go out of their way to deliver. Sometimes, actors shy away from doing the extra required to fully represent their characters. This game makes them more comfortable with that. It helps them overcome the embarrassment and hence become someone else with ease.
On the Spot
Last on our list of acting exercises for kids, is the On the Spot game. This game is excellent for boosting creativity and promoting critical and spontaneous thinking. It is lots of fun too.
Here is how it is played. For starters, an imaginary stage is created for the kids where they get to step on one by one. Once on stage, there will be one person whose role will be picking themes or a storyline. The person on the stage then has to perform something that goes in line with the presented topic.
The performance can be anything too. It does not matter how simple it is. The kids should be encouraged to think outside the box. It boosts originality among the young actors. With time, it also enables them to interpret common themes and put in the correct accompanying skills.
acting exercises for kids
All in all, acting exercises are a sure way to support and build up your child’s interest in the art while at the same time, creating hours upon hours of quality family time. They also provide a safe place that every child needs to express themselves freely.
I hope you have found my list very educative and handy. Feel free to try any of these acting exercises with your kids, no matter their age. Do not forget to have fun!
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