Learning public speaking skills at school will help make kids more confident in all areas of their lives now and into the future. Getting them to speak in front of an audience of their peers while they’re young is a valuable, life-long skill. These fun public speaking activities make it easy for young students to develop this skill early and actually enjoy speaking in public.
- Colorless Funny Photos: Download and print a bunch of funny photos with lots of colors in them. You’re welcome to download any of the free images from our gallery or see what you find on Google. The aim of the game is for each speaker to describe their picture, which you will hand out randomly to each student, for between 30 seconds to a minute. But crucially, they cannot say any of the colors in the picture during their descriptions. Mark a point on the board every time a student mentions a color in their description. This will be a great laugh because everyone else will be listening intently for a color word and so the students have to really develop their ability to see beyond colors.
- Pass the Story: Tell the class to stand in a circle, which you will also be part of. Start telling a story about any topic you wish. This could be a favorite holiday, a favorite activity or recent class topic. Speak for just 20 to 30 seconds before passing off the story to the person to your left to continue the story where you left off and on it goes round the circle. If anyone needs help simply pass it on to the next student. Make sure you record this activity on a Dictaphone or smartphone because this will likely be a funny story with lots of twists and turns.
- Egg Timer Tales: Grab an egg timer and put it on a table at the front of the class. This public speaking challenge is for randomly selected students to talk for one minute on a topic of your choosing. They won’t know the topic beforehand but it will be something they have learned from class. They’ll need to rely on their memory and imagination skills to make their tale fun and last for the entire minute.
- Egg Timer Tales Two: A spin-off from the original game, this version demands that the last person to talk must nominate the next student to speak and come up with the next topic for that classmate. The topic can come from a list that you wrote on the whiteboard beforehand.
- Mad Men Mates: This is a great icebreaker activity for the start of a new school year to introduce new students to each other and have a laugh at the same time. Ask the class to partner with the person sitting next to them and hand out a sheet of A3 paper and some marker pens. They will quickly interview each other and draw an advert showing off their partner. They could simply describe their partner in drawings or design an ad based on their top skills like sport or reading. At the end of the interview and drawing period of ten minutes. Ask each student to stand up and talk for one minute about their poster.
- Do As You’re Told: Kids will no doubt hear this phrase many times growing up. So why not give the phrase a more positive spin and show that life isn’t all about boring rules but about being creative. The object of this public speaking game is to elect one student to come up in front of the class and call out actions which the rest of the class must perform. The speaker must not do the action, which helps everyone develop listening skills at the same time…a double whammy!
Did You Know? Billionaire investor Warren Buffett was “terrified” of public speaking. When asked about habits that cultivate the foundation of success Buffett answered, “ You’ve got to be able to communicate in life and it’s enormously important. Schools, to some extent, under emphasize that. If you can’t communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you’re giving up your potential.”
- Happily Ever After: Begin telling a short story to the class. Pause towards the end of the story and ask everyone to write down what they think should happen next. Give them 10 minutes to complete their ending. Then invite them up to the front of the class one at a time to read what they wrote. Re-read the last couple of sentences from the story before the pause and take over to complete the rest. Plus, they must finish with the line “And they all lived happily ever after.”
- Ad Agency: Collect a few really interesting items such as cool gadgets and desktop toys and split the class into groups of four, with one item per group. As a group they must come up with an ad poster for the item. Then, the group tries to sell their item at the front of the class. However, to make sure everyone gets a chance to speak, they must split their poster into four sections highlighting a different special feature of the item.
- Photo Story: Print off a number of free photos which are relevant to each other to create an entire story based on all the photos in the deck. For example, a horse, a field, a farmer, a vegetable, and so on. Then hand out a photo to each student and on the back they must complete 3 sentences. The sentences will start (1) “The (insert name of last photo) said to the (name of the thing in the current photo) …”; (2) “One day, the (name of the thing in the current photo) …” ; and (3) “But, the (name of the thing in the current photo) …”. Start the story with the first photo and first set of three sentences from that student before moving round the room to finish the story. Points are awarded for creativity.
- Happy History: Gather items, the same number as students, and hand one to each student. They will create a unique story based on the history of that item. Give them 10 minutes to write down a short story about when it was made, who invented it, what was its original name before it became known as its current name, etc. They will stand at their desk and tell the class what they wrote. Give them as much time as they need to finish retelling their story.
Be sure not to judge any of the students for what they say as it could affect their confidence to speak in public again. Give lots of encouragement and praise for their creativity.