Theatre Activities for Kids


Everyone is a star with theatre activities.
Everyone is a star with theatre activities.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

With theatre activities, kids will awaken their inner dramatist. They can act, direct, dance, and sing for an applause-ready audience. They can even make props to enhance the show.

There are many different ways to help a future star shine. Lip-synching, mysteries, musicals, and pantomime are all indoor activities that will feed the acting bug.

Budding dramatists can get started with these links:

Write a Play Day

Have a whole day just to write plays, then perform them!

Make Set Designs

Make your own wave backdrop in this theatre activity.

Mystery Play

Whodunit? Find out in this mysterious kids' activity.

Grandma, What Big Teeth You Have!

Everyone loves a fairy tale -- bring it to the stage in this indoor activity.

Play It Your Way

Create a song and dance routine, Broadway-style, in this theatre activity.

Pantomime

You don't have to climb your way out of a box when there is a story to tell in this kids' activity.

Story Scroll

Scroll the dramatic narrative forward in this indoor activity.

Balcony Scenes

Create an easy balcony for your classic balcony scene.

Star Search

Everyone gets their chance at stardom in this theatre activity.

Lip-Synch Show

Singing is easy if you are lip-synching. Try it out in this kids' activity.

Twirling Umbrellas

Bright, colorful umbrellas make an interesting backdrop in this activity.

Invite your kids to start dabbling in play writing in the first theatre activity for kids.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Write a Play Day

Write a Play Day theatre activity
Write a Play Day theatre activity
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Have a Write a Play Day for a theatre activity where kids can create their own script. Kids who have really been bitten by the drama bug can also put on their own performance. This kids' activity will let drama stars shine!

What You'll Need:

  • Spiral notebook
  • Pen or pencil
  • Imagination

How to Have Write a Play Day:

Step 1: Make up four important or interesting characters. They could be rock stars or scientists, police detectives or circus clowns. What do they look like? Where are they from? Write it down.

Step 2: Now imagine what might happen to your characters. How did they meet? What do they do when they get in trouble? How do they get out of the fix? Write down everything you imagine they would say.

Step 3: Get three friends to help read the finished script.

Next, a theatre activity that creates rolling waves to use as a backdrop.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Make Set Designs

Rockin' and Rollin' Waves theatre activity
Rockin' and Rollin' Waves theatre activity
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

This rockin' and rollin' waves craft makes a big theatre activity splash. Plus they add a really cool touch to a theatre production. Kids will love playing with the fantastic waves in this indoor activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • 3 big cardboard boxes of the same size
  • Duct tape
  • Newspapers
  • Old shirts
  • Poster paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • 6 paper towel tubes

How to Make Rockin' and Rollin' Waves:

Step 1: Use the heavy-duty scissors to cut out the bottom of a box and cut down one corner of the box from top to bottom. Spread the box out, and cut off all the flaps. Do the same with the other boxes.

Step 2: Using one of the discarded flaps and a pencil, sketch a big curl of an ocean wave. Cut it out. This is your wave template.

Step 3: Use the template to trace waves across each of the long cardboard strips you've made out of the boxes. Make sure there's at least 10 to 12 inches of space under each wave. Now cut out your rows of waves.

Step 4: Wrap the duct tape from top to bottom around the bent parts in each row of waves. This stabilizes the rows.

Step 5: To make a sturdy handle, cut down the length of a paper towel tube. Roll the cardboard into a tighter tube (until there's a double layer of cardboard all the way around), and wrap the tube in duct tape. Do the same with the other tubes.

Step 6: To attach the handles to a row of waves, lay one tube at the end of one row, on the back side. Half of it should be behind the wave and half below it. Tape the handle to the cardboard. The tape can be overlapped to the front, since it will be painted later. Do the same at the other end of the row.

Step 7: Have your kids wear an old shirt as a smock to protect clothing. Spread out the newspapers to paint on. Paint a base color on your waves and let dry. Once base is dry, add details in several different colors.

Step 8: When your waves are finished, line up the lengths of waves, one in front of the other. One person will hold each handle. The middle row should be held a little higher than the front one, and the back row a little higher than the middle one.

Step 9: Practice making the front and back rows sway in one direction while the middle row sways in the opposite direction. Talk about awesome wave action!

Whodunit? Find out in the next theatre activity for kids. They'll love creating their own mystery theatre game.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Mystery Play

Mystery Play theatre activity
Mystery Play theatre activity
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Create a mystery play -- a theatre activity that will have people trying to guess whodunit before the play is over. Kids will love putting their own spin on a classic mystery in this kids' activity.

What You'll Need:

  • One classic mystery story
  • Costumes
  • Imagination

How to Write a Mystery Play:

Step 1: Help your kids rewrite a short classic mystery story as a play with modern characters and situations.

Step 2: Hunt for costumes in thrift stores and at garage sales. This will keep the family busy for at least a month!

Step 3: Practice first, then try out the play on a small audience to get helpful feedback. Refine the performance and take it to a larger audience.

Next, turn a fairy tale everyone loves into a classic play for kids.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Fairy Tale Play

In this theatre activity, your kids will put a funny spin on a classic fairy tale. A fairy tale play is easy to perform because the audience recognizes the story. This indoor activity can be played for laughs or taken simply as a chance to act out a favorite tale.

What You'll Need:

  • Costumes

How to a Fairy Tale Play:

Step 1: Have your kids pick a favorite fairy tale to make into a play. Have fun with the script and spoof or exaggerate the story.

Step 2: Retell the ending the way you think it should have ended. Some of the funniest plays are written this way.

Step 3: Gather some hilarious costumes, and practice the play with a straight face, if possible! When perfection is achieved, set up an audience space for the other adult guests.

Next, show your kids how to get a song and dance routine ready for a Broadway-style theatre activity.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Play It Your Way Musical Theatre Activity

Play It Your Way theatre activity
Play It Your Way theatre activity
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The play it your way musical theatre activity will have a young star seeing his or her name in lights. Who says you can't bring big Broadway musicals to your school auditorium or living room? Kids won't even have to try out to take top billing in this indoor activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Costumes

How to Play It Your Way:

Step 1: Steer your kids to a musical that most people in your audience would like.

Step 2: Help them rewrite the story, and set the scene at their school. Narrow the play down, and use just two or three musical numbers. You could also rewrite the song lyrics.

Step 3: Add costumes, singing, and dancing, and your kids may just bring the house down!

The stage goes silent with a pantomime theatre activity. Learn how to perform it in the next section.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Pantomime

A pantomime theatre activity challenges your child to tell a story without words. This indoor activity will have kids bringing out their best facial expressions.

What You'll Need:

  • White mime makeup (optional)
  • Makeup
  • Clothing in all 1 color
  • Background music (optional)

How to Pantomime:

Step 1: Help your children write a very simple story, or choose a piece of instrumental music. Then have them use their imaginations to show the story without words.

Step 2: If you can get some, use classic white mime makeup. If not, use regular makeup to highlight the performer's eyes and mouth. Also, make sure to pull hair away from the face. This helps the audience see expressions better.

Step 3: Choose a color to be worn from head to toe so the emphasis will be on the story being mimed, not the costume. Once dressed, have your children act out the story using exaggerated facial expressions and body movements.

In the next theatre activity, you'll help your kids create a TV-like visual to tell this dramatic tale.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Story Scroll

Story Scroll theatre activity
Story Scroll theatre activity
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Do the Story Scroll theatre activity and your kids will really be on a roll! This indoor activity makes kids test their narrative skills while putting their show on a TV-like screen.

What You'll Need:

  • White butcher paper
  • 2 long gift wrap tubes
  • Cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • Markers or paints

How to Make Story Scroll:

Step 1: Have your child choose a folktale or a play you've seen, or make up his own story.

Step 2: Find a TV-size box, and cut out a screen-size hole in the front. Cut round holes in the top and bottom of the left-hand and right-hand corners, so you can thread the gift wrap tubes through the holes.

Step 3: Instruct your child to pick 10 key scenes in the story. Draw or paint the scenes from the story in panels on the white butcher paper. Make sure the panels fit the size of the TV screen. Don't forget to make a title page and a closing page. The pictures can be done by several people, if you wish, and then taped together later in the correct order.

Step 4: Thread the gift wrap tubes through the holes above and below the screen. Once the artwork is finished and taped together, tape the ends of the scroll onto the tubes. Roll the scroll around the tubes.

Step 5: Choose a narrator to tell the story while someone rolls the panels forward.

In the next theatre activity, create scenery for a fun, dramatic balcony scene.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Balcony Scene

Create a balcony scene.
Create a balcony scene.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

This theatre activity brings out the romance of a dramatic balcony scene. Kids can stage their version Romeo and Juliet or create a balcony scene of their own in this indoor activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • Cardboard refrigerator box
  • Duct tape
  • Newspapers
  • Old shirt
  • Poster paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Bricks or concrete blocks
  • Scrap fabric (optional)
  • Aerobic step bench or small step stool

How to Do Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?:

Step 1: Using the heavy-duty scissors, help your kids by cutting out all the way down one corner of the box. You will have three vertical "bends" in your box where the corners used to be.

Step 2: Lay the box on the floor, and bend up the left and right bends, leaving the middle one flat. At the left and right bends, tape the upper flaps together to form corners. (Don't do anything with the lower flaps yet.)

Step 3: Stand the box up, and reinforce the corners, from top to bottom, with tape. Then tape together the middle flaps at the top, but do not bend them.

Step 4: About 6-inches from the very top of the box, draw your balcony window. Make it 2 x 2 feet. Poke the scissors into a corner of the window, and cut it out.

Step 5: Spread the newspapers out under the box. Bend the bottom flaps to the inside. These are the "feet" for your balcony. The corner flaps will overlap the middle flaps. Tape these together, then put bricks or concrete blocks on the flaps to stabilize the balcony.

Step 6: Have your child wear an old shirt for paint protection. Paint a base color on the balcony and let dry. If you want bushes or flowers at the foot of the balcony, paint those in next. Finally, with a color darker than the base color, brush in the outlines of bricks or stones.

Step 7: Add curtains if you wish. Inside the balcony, put an aerobic step or small step stool beneath the window. Your kids will love to step up to the window, and make a speech to your thundering applause!

Time for a talent search in the next theatre activity.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Star Search

Star Search theatre activity
Star Search theatre activity
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Star search is your way to find the next big star. A talent show is a great way for kids to display their skills for applause and recognition. This indoor kids' activity just might have to become a yearly event!

What You'll Need:

  • A routine
  • Costumes (optional)
  • Friends to audition
  • Audience

How to Do Star Search:

If your kids want to put on a talent show, they'll need different kinds of acts.

Step 1: Have each child learn a song or two, or come up with a really funny comedy routine. You'll want to place these solo acts between the group numbers.

Step 2: Singers can try performing a number in the character of the person the song is about and in costume. Comedians can practice their timing and try to use topics that everyone can relate to; you'll "hook" your audience early on.

Step 3: Have your children's friends audition for the show with their special solo acts.

Tip: You may have heard it before, but professionals do it too -- instruct your performers to practice in front of a mirror. It will give them more confidence later.

Next, take the pressure off with an easy theatre activity.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Lip-Synch Show

Lip-Synch Show theatre activity
Lip-Synch Show theatre activity
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Put on a lip-synch show. For those with a touch of stage fright (that would be most of us!), lip-synching a song is much easier than actually singing it live. Kids will love the chance to perform their favorite song in this indoor activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Tape of a favorite song
  • Tape player
  • Instrument props
  • Creative costumes
  • Video camera (optional)

How to Put on a Lip-Synch Show:

In addition to the pretend singing, dressing up like the band or person that really sings the song is a blast for kids. Not to mention the amusing instrument props you can make. Or the added hamming it up your kids can do!

For a variation, try filming a video of your kids' lip-synch act. They'll have less stage fear and more time to be creative. Have them act out the story behind the song without pretending to sing it. If your audience roars with applause and laughter, you'll know you have succeeded.

In the next theatre activity, make twirly umbrellas for a fun background or prop.

For more drama and indoor fun, see:

Twirling Umbrellas

Twirling Umbrellas theatre activity
Twirling Umbrellas theatre activity
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Twirling umbrellas add an interesting element to any theatre activity. These bright umbrellas are fun for kids to paint and add lots of eye appeal to a play or dance routine. This indoor activity is safe from the rain too!

What You'll Need:

  • Old umbrellas
  • Newspapers
  • Old shirt
  • Poster paints
  • Paintbrushes

How to Make Twirling Umbrellas:

Step 1: Spread out lots of newspapers, and slip your kids into old shirts. Open up the umbrellas. You may give an umbrella a new base color if you wish, or use the original color if it's a bright one. Wait a few hours for the paint to dry.

Step 2: Have your kids paint a wild pattern in a contrasting color. Try spirals, dots, zigzags, and other shapes. If you want, you can also paint the inside of the umbrella a solid color.

Step 3: Use the umbrellas in a show. You can have people crouch behind the decorated umbrellas and spin them for interesting backgrounds. Or have dancers dance around them, twirl them, and use them as props.

Safety Tip: For eye safety, make sure each umbrella twirler is standing a good distance away from the next person!

For more drama and indoor fun, see: