This drama camp staple is great for older kids who want to work on their reflexes. This improv exercise is used to help actors learn how to recover if another actor forgets their lines or goes off script, but it can also make a fun rainy day activity that requires zero prep! Even if your child isn't ready for the bright lights of Broadway, this activity fosters creativity and strengthens self confidence.
What You Do:
- Gather together a 'drama troupe' and select two players to start. Have the other participants come up with a setting or scenario for the two players.
- The two selected players then act out the scene as they wish, but may only address each other in questions. If a player answers in a statement, or takes longer than five seconds to respond, the scene restarts with a new player in her place. This continues until everyone has had a turn.
Here are some examples of themes and dialogue to get you started:
Theme: Waiting at a Bus Stop
Player 1: Is the bus always this late?
Player 2: Does it look like I know?
Player 1 : Are you mad?
Player 2: Can't you tell?
Theme: Blind Date
Player 1: Am I early?
Player 2: Can you give me ten more minutes?
Player 1: Do we have that much time?
Player 2: Well, when does the show start?
Player 1: Aren't you the one who bought the tickets?
Theme: Stuck in an Elevator
Player 1: Do you have a cell phone I could borrow?
Player 2: Are you calling the police or the fire department?
Player 1: Do you know the number of the pizza place down the street?
Player 2: Are you crazy?
Player 1: Do you think security will let the delivery guy into the building?
Player 2: Do we even get reception in here?
Improv can be a scary experience for first-timers – when kids are used to playing games with winners and losers or right and wrong answers, the reliance on instinct and lack of rules can seem intimidating. Remind the kids that in improvisation, there aren't any winners or losers, and there is no penalty for “messing up." This helps even the playing field and helps kids get over their fear of failing.
Jody Amable is an Assistant Editor at Education.com. She has previously worked as a camp counselor, and spent her college years hosting birthday parties for kids at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. She has a degree in Journalism from San Francisco State University and writes for local blogs, magazines and weeklies in her spare time.