Drama Games for Pre-K

Drama games are an important part of any drama curriculum because they can teach valuable theatre skills while allowing students to have fun, build confidence, stretch their imagination and grow as an ensemble. They are great for focus, creativity and team work! 

Music Freeze: This is a favorite! Students will dance around in their own space to a fun song. The leader pauses the song and everyone has to freeze or they are out. Our favorite song for this game is “Green Eggs and Ham” from Seussical the Musical! Variation: Dance like you are in outer space, on hot lava, in a bouncy house, creating Elsa’s ice castle, or flying on Aladdin’s magic carpet. Dance like a superhero or ballerina. Add your own variation! 

Magic Box: Explore imaginary objects through pantomime using your five senses (see, touch, taste, hear, feel). Students sit in a circle or across from a partner. The leader begins by holding a magic box (an imaginary box the size of shoe box). They say, “I have a magic box. I am going to pull something out of my box and use my five senses to explore it.” Everyone in the room has to guess what it is. The magic box works like the Mary Poppins carpet bag. It is the size of a shoe box but anything of any size can be pulled out of it. Examples: Kitten, ice cream cone, toothbrush, baseball bat, snow ball, swimming goggles, basketball, broom, etc. Pass the magic box around for as long as you want and take turns pulling out objects, pantomiming them using your five senses and guessing what the objects are! 

Story Exploration: This game needs a teen or parent leader for the younger kids. Read a good book, pick a favorite movie or listen to a song and take the student on a walk around the house inspired by the world of that story. For example, using the story “Charlie in the Chocolate Factory,” tell your student that you are going to go on a walk through the candy factory starting with the chocolate room. Walk around and suggest prompts like, “We have found a tree made out of candy. What color is it? How big is it? What candy is on it?” If you have multiple students, you can ask these questions and have them keep their answers to themselves until you say, ‘freeze.” Then go around and tap each one for a chance to share their discovery. Continue exploring the space and suggest more items that they encounter, characters they meet, noises they hear or smells they smell. Finally, prompt them to find something (imaginary) and treasure it. When the story exploration is over, you sit in a circle and have students take turns sharing about their treasure (and how it tastes in this instance!) You can explore the world of the story for as little or as long as you want, making discoveries and reacting. Explore Neverland, tip toe around Elsa’s castle, join Sally, Nick and the Cat in the Hat or find a Secret Garden! 

Drama Games for Elementary (and older!)

In this improv game that anyone can play, two people at a time must create and perform a scene, making up the whole thing as they go. Anyone else who wants to play makes an audience. When an audience member calls out "freeze" and interupts the scene, both actors immediately freeze in place. Whoever yelled "freeze" then jumps up, taps one of the actors on the shoulder, and takes their exact place and position. The new actor then has to start a new scene that makes sense with the positions the two actors are in. This is a great game to be silly and to come up with creative characters and settings.

What better way to practice focusing than when the kids have the giggles? Have one player stand up in front of the others. That student then has to try to make all the other players in the room try to smile or laugh. They can use whatever tactics they want, as long as they don’t touch the other players. If a player smiles, they become the person in the middle. The objective of the person in front is to get someone to smile, and the objective of the players sitting is to keep a straight face.

Pop-up Book
Ever wanted to become a human pop-up book? This is a great game for parents to play with kids. This game requires one storyteller and as many others to play "ink blots." Come up with a title of an imaginary book. All the ink blots lay down on the ground. The storyteller then has to make up a story with three "pages" - a beginning, a middle, and an end. The storyteller says "page one" and all the ink blots jump up and make a frozen scene ("tableau") as if they were illustrations in a pop-up book. The storyteller then has to make up the beginning of the story based on the book title and the positions the ink blots are in. The storyteller and ink blots repeat for page two (middle) and page three (end). For extra fun, occasionally the storyteller can go up to one of the pop-ups and ‘‘pull a tab’’ and the character goes into a simple action, or the narrator “presses a button” and a pop-up can speak a simple line of dialogue. 

Silent Negotiations
This is a great game when little siblings are napping! One person is the theme decider and picks a theme like "safari," Disney movies," "vacation," or anything you want. All others (two or more) create a tableau based on the theme. The catch is that participants are not allowed to talk or whisper while deciding what tableau to make. The goal is to create a scene that is identifiable to the theme decider. After a short amount of time, have the group freeze and let the theme decider try to guess what tableau they made. For instance, if the theme was "Disney movies" the group could silently decide to make Rafiki hold up baby Mufasa, and the theme decider would guess "The Lion King!" This game might be silent, but requires lots of physical imagination to communicate ideas with your body.

Paper Animal Challenge
Here's a fun and easy activity that gets your creative juices flowing. Each player receives five sheets of paper. Come up with five animals to try and make out of the five sheets of paper. Players are encouraged to think outside the box to create the animal in any way they want - you can fold the paper, rip the paper, or a little of both! Every animal is certain to be unique.  You only get one piece of paper per animal, so be creative!

Quick Change: This game is great for all ages and tests your observation skills. Actors need to have great observation skills in order to understand how all sorts of different people or characters might speak, move, or act. Choose one person to stand before the rest of the players to be observed. After everyone has had enough time to observe every detail about that person, the person leaves the room and changes one small detail. The person returns to the room and the rest of the players have to guess what changed. Actors must train ourselves to notice the little things. These little things will add up to help you create unique, interesting characters.

Freeze & Justify: Here's a quick game that works great in a big room or the backyard. One person runs the game, and everyone else plays. Have the players wander around the space, making all kinds of crazy shapes and positions with their bodies as they move. Call “freeze!” and everyone should freeze. Call out a player and have them “justify” their pose. For instance, a kid posed with their arm raised high above their head might be “cleaning cobwebs from the ceiling” or “raising his hand in a classroom” or “playing basketball and just threw and 3 pointer." You'll find yourself coming up with all sorts of crazy ideas!

Two Truths and a Lie: We love this rehearsal icebreaker. Try this with your family and see if you can come up with something that you don't know about each other! Click here to view game instructions.

Martha Game (Environment Tableau): Have your family create tableaus (frozen pictures or live photographs) of a scene. This game is one of our favorites and is best played with three or more people. The first person jumps up on stage (or playing area) and poses as a well known landmark or item in a public space. Others come up one at a time and pose as an object or character that would fit in that scene. For example, the first person goes up and poses like a statue saying, “I’m the Statue of Liberty” and freezes. The next person jumps up and poses as a tourist with a camera. The next can be a bird perched on the torch. The next can be a street vendor, etc. Locations can be more specific like Paris, Disney World or your house right now, or general like a beach, park or an airplane. Play several rounds and challenge everyone to think of the most random and unexpected person or thing they can be.

Fire on the Mountain: This game needs a fun leader! It’s one of our favorite camp games that is great for body warm-up and focus. Everyone lays flat on their backs. The leader calls out “Fire on the Mountain” and the last one up on their feet is out (or you could play 3 strikes and you are out). The trick is, the leader can call out things like “Fire on the Montana, or Fire on the Monkey” in which case you are NOT allowed to move a muscle. If you move, you are out. You are only allowed to move and stand up if the leader says, “Fire on the mountain.” The final player left in the game wins! 

One Word Story: Make a ridiculous story with your family! Players sit in a circle. One person says a single word to begin a story. The person to his left says another word, then the next person says another word, continuing around the circle. The object is to tell a coherent story, one word at a time.

Drama Games for Middle & High School

Alphabet Conversation: Try the ABC's of dialogue! Click here to view game instructions.
Fortunately, Unfortunately: This improv game helps students create interesting stories by thinking quickly and creatively! Click here to view game instructions.
Creating Obstacles: Learn to make specific choices when creating an environment! Click here to view game instructions.