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Drama games – 8 simple games for primary school

Happy and sad masks representing drama games

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

Samantha Marsden
by Samantha Marsden
Drama games for kids booklet
DOWNLOAD A FREE RESOURCE! Drama games for kids – 8 fun ideas for KS1 and KS2

These drama games are simple to explain, don’t need any resources and are perfect for primary-aged children.

1 | Yes, Let’s!

Initiate an action by saying something like, “Let’s bake a cake.” Pupils reply with, “Yes, let’s!” and then pretend to bake a cake.

Invite students to shout out ideas too. For example, someone might shout, “Let’s wash a lion!”. Again, everyone replies “Yes, let’s!” and mimes washing a lion.

Continue the game like this, with no idea being too silly.

2 | Lie about how you got here

Ask students to sit in a circle. 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 drama games

Ask students to sit in a circle. Explain that they’re going to create the atmosphere of a place with sounds. Try these ideas:

  • seaside
  • school
  • big city
  • jungle
  • zoo
  • fairy land

Ask someone to start. They must repeat their chosen noise or phrase over and over again.

Then the person next to that student adds their noise, and so on.

4 | Acting to music

Ask everyone to lie down and play a piece of music. After about 30 seconds, tell students that when they’re ready, they can stand up and move around the room in response to how the music is making them feel.

The music may inspire them to, for example:

  • be a wizard, skipping to wizard school
  • walk through a cave, terrified
  • sit quietly and reflect on happy times

Tell children to follow their intuition and not to pay attention to anyone else in the group. It’s about whatever the music inspires in them.

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.

Maya can 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 | Magic box drama games

Sit in a circle with your students and mime placing an imaginary box in front of yourself. Explain it’s a magic box and inside there are many different kinds of objects.

Open the lid and mime taking something out of the box. Put the thing back into the box and ask the audience to guess what it was.

Pass the magic box to the next person to mime with.

8 | Lead with your…

Direct students to 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 ask the class to sit down and see if any volunteers would like to show some of the characters they’ve created.

These drama games come from the imagination of Samantha Marsden. She’s the author of 100 Acting Exercises for 8-18 Year Olds (£15.99, Methuen Drama). Follow her on Twitter at @SamMarsdenDrama.

Download eight more drama games for kids from Samantha Marsden.

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