Quick drama games are great for warming up the body, bringing out children’s unique creativity and having fun in the classroom. Here is a collection of 16 quick drama games that you might like to play with your young students.
1. Change Up:
Let’s start things with a quick drama warmup for children. The game is simple – each time you say “Change!” you change the action and the kids try to keep up by mimicking your action. Start small with clapping your hands, then move on to patting your knees and so on until the actions become more extravagant and involve full body movements. Students will have to pay attention if they want to keep up.
2. Circle Crossings:
Stand your students in a circle and give them each a number 1, 2 or 3. Call a number and say how you’d like them to cross the circle to stand on the opposite side. For example, call “2 ballerinas” and all the number twos must cross the circle as a ballerina trying gracefully not to bump into each other.
3. Special Circle Crossings:
Same idea as Circle Crossings but instead of calling out the number and the action, simply say the number and let them decide how they’d like to cross the circle. Each student must cross in a different manner or movement than the others.
4. String Puppets:
Split the class into pairs; one puppet and one puppet master. They will take turns to lead and be led. The puppet master will pretend to tie string around a part of the puppet’s body such as thumb, eyelash or nose and walk their puppet, who will act as if they were being dragged along by that body part. Swap roles after 1 minute.
5. Guided Mimes:
As the name suggests, guide the class through a variety of mimes. Inform them of the scenario before describing all the things that are happening and they will act it out. You can choose to join in or let them use their imagination skills. Fun drama scenarios include learning to juggle, making a sandwich and riding the big dipper.
Perfect for releasing some built-up energy, this quick kid’s drama game involves building a storm to a terrifying crescendo before dying down to silence. Get all students to stand up and copy your actions as you describe them:
- All was still and quiet
- A gentle breeze was heard (make quiet whooshing sounds)
- The breeze grew louder (whoosh louder)
- A patter of rain was heard (fingers tap the desk)
- It began to thunder and trees were swaying (move hands in the air)
Reverse the steps until all is still and quiet again with students back in their seats and sitting quietly.
7. Wink Bandit:
All students stand in a circle. Select one student to stand in the middle of the circle with eyes closed and play the role of detective. Point to one of the other students to play the killer. The role of the killer is to catch the eye of a student in the circle and wink at them, that student has then been killed and dies by falling to the floor in true Hollywood style. To start the game, the detective will open their eyes and attempt to identify the murderer while trying not to be winked at and killed in the process. An incorrect guess results in instant death! And watch out for sabotage! Anyone caught tricking the guesser must ‘die’ instantly.
8. Magic Furniture:
Select 5 students to perform this guided drama warmup activity. Tell them you will say the name of a common piece of furniture, that may or may not be found in a unique location, and they will pretend they are using that piece of furniture. Interesting furniture for funny acting can include a dentist’s chair, a water bed and a wardrobe that’s been locked. All 5 will act out the same scenario before you invite the next 5 to come up and perform.
9. Jump and Act:
Gather all students to form a circle. From the center of the circle, read an engaging story full of verbs and adverbs – or use a template of a story and make up parts as you go along. As you get to a part where the character performs an action, point to a student at random who must take a big jump into the circle and act out that part of the story before jumping back into place.
10. Lions, Witches and Wardrobes:
Form everyone in a circle and stand in the middle. Explain these three positions:
- Lions – Crawling on all fours, with very exaggerated shoulder movements like they are stalking their prey and making purring sounds.
- Witches – ‘Flying’ around the circle on their magic broom and casting spells with their magic wands and a wicked laugh.
- Wardrobes – Both arms by their side and moving them up and out as slow as they can while making creaking noise like a spooky door that needs to be oiled.
After explaining the three positions, point to the students in rapid, random order and name one of the three positions. The students then assumes that position. Continue pointing randomly for the students to quickly switch to their new role.
11. Groovy Gloves:
Seat everyone in a circle. Bring out a pair of gloves or mitten and put them on. Say to the class, “When I wear my groovy gloves I can …” and say what you can do when you are wearing your groovy gloves and then act out the action. For example, playing the piano or baking cakes. Then pass to the student next to you who will come up with and act out another magic use for the groovy gloves.
12. Sofa Treasure:
Tell the children that there is an old sofa at the front of the class that has been at the school for many years. Thousands of students, teachers, parents and pets have sat on the sofa and now there must be a million different things stuffed in the back of it. Have the kids ‘reach in’ one at a time and pull out and described a wacky item from the sofa.
Describe a scene to the children such as an animal farm or an amazing wildlife park. When you are describing the various parts of the scene, ask them to exaggerate an action involving one of their five senses. For example, when describing the barn, ask “What can you smell?” and they will pretend to take a big whiff before acting out how bad that smell is or how pleasant it made them feel.
14. Frozen in Time:
Like the amazing street performers or the Queen’s guards at Buckingham Palace, your students will have to stand absolutely still and show no emotion for as long as they can. See who can remain in that frozen state like a statue the longest.
15. Jolly Jobs:
Write occupations on little cards for the kids to act out for 2 minutes. They can be bus drivers stopping to take on passengers, bakers taking a pie out the oven, doctors operating on a patient, etc. After two minutes, they must trade their card with the first person they come into contact with and start acting out the new occupation.
16. Alphabet Exit:
At the end of your kid’s drama lesson, ask the students to line up. First in line will exit the class based on a noun starting with the letter A, then B, then C, etc. For example, the first person must leave the class as an airplane, the second as a Basketball player, and so on. This is also a good way for your class to leave in an (almost) orderly fashion.