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8 drama games for primary kids to ignite imagination

Need to inspire your pupils and encourage creativity? Try these easy-to-follow and fun exercises, says Samantha Marsden...

  • 8 drama games for primary kids to ignite imagination

1 | Yes, Let’s!

The teacher initiates an action by saying something like, “Let’s bake a cake.” The class reply with, “Yes, let’s!” and then pretend to bake a cake. The students can shout out any idea they like. For example, someone might shout, “Let’s wash a lion!” The class will reply, “Yes, let’s!” And everyone will wash a lion. The game continues like this, with no idea being too silly.

2 | Lie about how you got here

The students sit in a circle, and one by one each student lies about how they got to class. This could be by flying car, unicorn, or time travel. Anything goes in this exercise. Encourage students to really tell a story and give detail.

3 | Soundscape

Students sit in a circle, and the teacher explains that they are going to create the atmosphere of a place with sounds. Ideas may include the seaside, school, London, the jungle, the zoo, or fairy land. Ask someone to start: they must repeat their chosen noise, or the phrase, over and over again. Then the person next to that student adds their noise; then the person next to them adds their own noise, and so on.

4 | Acting to music

Students lie down and a piece of music is played. Students can listen to it lying down for about 30 seconds or more, and when they are ready, they stand up and move around the room in response to how the music is making them feel. The music may inspire them to be a wizard, skipping to wizard school, to walk through a cave terrified, or to sit quietly reflecting on happier times. Whatever the music inspires, the students must follow their intuition and go with that, not paying attention to anyone else in the group.

5 | I’m sorry I…

One person – let’s call her Rania – stands up and approaches a person sitting in a circle – let’s say Maya – and she apologises for something. Rania might be very sorry because she has lost Maya’s pet dog, or she’s cast an irreversible spell on her brother. Maya reacts how she likes. Then Maya will then pick someone else in the circle and approach them to apologise for something.

6 | Broken down lift

Mark out a square or rectangle that is about the size of the floor space in a lift. Ask four actors to think up an objective for the character they will play. They get into the lift in character, and the improvisation begins. Explain that at some point in the improvisation, they need to imagine that the lift breaks down.

7 | The magic box

The teacher sits in the circle with the students and mimes placing an imaginary box in front of them. The teacher explains it is a magic box and inside there are many different kinds of objects. Then the teacher opens the lid and mimes taking something out of the box. The teacher then puts the thing back into the box and asks the audience to guess what it was. Then the magic box is passed to the next person to mime with.

8 | Lead with your…

Students walk around the room. Now explain that you will call out a body part that students are to lead with. Let’s start with the nose, for example. Ask the students to think about what type of character might lead with their nose. Lead with many different body parts. Then the teacher can ask the class to sit down and see if any volunteers would like to show some of the characters they have created.

Samantha Marsden is the author of 100 Acting Exercises for 8-18 Year Olds (£15.99, Methuen Drama). Follow her on Twitter at @SamMarsdenDrama.

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