Each week, the 3 and 5-day classrooms enjoy the benefits of Dramatic Play with our wonderful teacher, Mrs. Samara. Here are some of the latest acting and improv games we’ve been exploring in class–we hope you will try them at home!
Mime encourages confidence and awareness of self and of others. It encourages physical control, simplicity of thought and movement, and more importantly it stimulates the imagination.
To introduce relaxation exercises and understand their role in a drama class.
To promote group work and co-operation.
Be a star: Lie sown on your back and spread your arms, palms up to the side and open your legs. Stretch the limbs all together. Feel you are making a four pointed star. Suddenly the star collapses. Feel the tension disappear.
Be Hercules: In the same position, imagine that the body is being pushed down by a heavy weight so that all parts of the body are being pressed into the ground suddenly the weight is removed. Feel yourself float on the ground.
Shake off the ants: In the same position, imagine you are tied to the ground but you can wiggle. A colony of ants finds and begins to crawl over you. Commence to wiggle the body until the last ant leaves you. Then collapse.
Be a rubber puppet: Imagine you are made of rubber and there are strings attached to your shoulders which someone can pull from above. You are being pulled up and you find your limbs fly out in all directions. Even the feet can be pulled off the ground at times, finally the strings are cut and the body relaxes.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
All the students sit in a large circle. The teacher asks them to imagine there is a magic box in the center of the circle. The teacher can ask: what size is it? What color is it? Ask, Can everyone see it?
Tell them it can be a different shape and color, depending on where you are sitting in the circle..this is because it is a magic box. The teacher goes into the center of the circle first and mimes opening the box and taking out an object. She then mimes holding the object and the class must guess what it is. When the children guess correctly the teacher mimes putting it back in the box and closing it. The child who guessed correctly takes a turn at taking an object out of the box.
PASS THE OBJECT
This is a follow on from the Magic Box game. The teacher mimes taking an object out of the box, for example a mouse, a rotten egg, a cream pie, chewing gum, lipstick or a puppy, and the children guess what it is. When they have guessed she passes the object around the circle. The children should react as if they were holding the actual object in their hands. Eventually the last child in the circle gets rid of the object and the teacher goes to the box and takes out a new.
Get the students consider the ways that people walk. The teacher gets the children to walk around the room. Then call out different ways of walking
Walk like a…
• child in high heels
• child wearing heavy wellington boots
• child splashing in a puddles
• child stuck in mud
• child walking on stony beach
• child walking on hot sand
• someone walking on fire
• someone walking wearily
• an old frail person
Divide the class into 2 or 3 groups. Have at least 6 in each group. Number the students from one to six. Get each member of the group to leave the room except for number one. The other groups stay in the room. You then give number one an action to mime. You then call number 2 into the room and number one mimes to number 2. They do not talk. Number 2 can not say anything and she has to do mime exactly what she saw to number 3, then number 3 comes into the room and watches number 2 very carefully. Number 3 does the mime for number four and so on. When number 6 comes into the room she has to guess what the original mime was. This is like broken telephone but it is done through mime. Here are some suggestions for mimes:
• Riding a horse
• Washing dishes
• Eating hot food
• Counting money
• Telling someone you love them
• Eating spaghetti
• Playing tug of war
• Washing your dog
• Ballet dancing
• Moon walk
• Playing basketball
• Singing opera
• Walking in the desert
• Playing tennis
• Making pancakes
• Opening a present that you do not like
The other groups watch how the mime changes with each person. This is a fun game and helps with observation skills.
Basic Situation: Divide the class into small groups and they must use body language and facial expression to 5 ways of showing that their are
Other ideas/themes for group mimes: Camping, the circus, a pirate ship, going on a bear hunt
Starting to use mime in a Drama sessions
Start beginner groups on occupational mimes and later move to emotional mimes. Mime starts within and is then portrayed by the body. Never forget that through mime is that art of movement it is also the art of stillness.
Occupational Mimes: lift a bucket, box, brush. Place the same objects on a shelf or table, place them, carefully on top of each other. Use scissors, shears, pickaxes, fishing rod. Use activities such as sewing buttons, cooking, putting on clothes, painting, cleaning windows.
Character Mimes: Portray different types of character, the young girl, the old woman, the rich lady, beggar, clown. Watch people around you.
Emotional Mimes: These are the hardest to portray. Feel, understand, convey happiness at receiving a gift. Sadness at hearing bad news, shock, horror, love etc..,
WHAT’S THE CHAIR?
Place a chair in the center of the circle and participants take turns to mime what they imagine it to be, for example: a post box, a kitchen sink, a dog, a new car.
The person who guesses correctly takes their place in the middle.
• in a circle, walking on the spot
• leader makes a gesture, in time, that the everyone else imitates
• continue for 8 beats or so, then shout the name of a participant and they must change or add to the action
• this can continue until the group has warmed up
WHAT’S MY JOB???
All sit in a circle. Give everyone an occupation (e.g. policeman, astronaut, postman, teacher). Use each occupation twice, and make sure the occupations are kept secret.
Students use the space to mime their own occupation. Their task is to spot the person with the same occupation as them. When they have done this they should approach their partner, and without speaking, check that they are both miming the same job.
They should sit down in their pair when they think they have found them.
The game continues until everybody is sitting down. The teacher should check they are all correct at the end of the game!
CHANGE ONE THING
This game was originally named Change 3 Things, but I simplified it for my preschoolers to just 1 thing. They absolutely love playing this game and it will absolutely get giggles out them. Divide your students up into two lines of equal number facing each other. The persons directly across from each other are partners. They quietly study each other closely for one full minute. One line turns around and hides their eyes. The other line changes one thing about their appearance. They may take off one shoe or un-tuck their shirt or roll up a pant leg. After all have changed one thing the other line turns around and guesses what they changed. This game is all about being observant. After the changed item has been identified, the lines switch parts and continue to play. This is fun to do as duos with the rest of the students as the audience too!
Pair students up and tell them to pick an A and B.
Tell A’s that they are looking in the mirror. (Optional: Tell them it is morning and they are getting ready for the day.)
Tell them to move VERY slowly. B’s are the mirror and must follow A so closely that an observer would not be able to tell who is leading and who is following. Encourage them to mirror not only body movement but also facial expression.
Have them switch after a minute or so. Then tell them that neither is the leader or follower. You will probably have tell them to go slower a few times.
Start again with A’s but this time tell them that they are talking to themselves in the mirror as B’s follow. Again let them switch and then try it with no leader and no follower.
PASS AND EXPAND THE GESTURE
Purpose: A simple way to get even the most shy child acting bold in front of the group.
1. Players stand in a circle.
2. One player starts a small gesture.
3. The next player takes it over and makes it even bigger.
4. This continues all the way around until the last person takes it to the EXTREME.
5. After a couple times with just movement, tell the players they can add a sound as well.
– Encourage the kids to never lose a sense of the original gesture in their exaggerations.
– This can be a great lead in to character development, taking small traits and enhancing them to extremes.