3 Theatre Activities to Celebrate “The Week of the Young Child”

Theatre is important for young children because:

· Pretend play builds curiosity through exploration and questioning

· Language-rich stories and songs build vocabulary and pre-reading skills

· Creative storytelling gives children opportunities to make choices and practice problem-solving

· Expressive movement and rhythmic dance exercise motor skills, supporting muscle and brain development.

· Dramatic play teaches empathy as children learn to identify and express feelings.

· Self-expression is foundational to self and social awareness, healthy relationships and emotional development.

Try it at home!

Here are three creativity-building activities you can do with your young child!

Students in Theatre Arts Training camp. Photo by Dan Norman

1. Shape Game

1. Using your body, make the shape of an animal (example: mouse)

2. Make the shape of a feeling (example: proud)

3. Notice how children might use their body language and faces to show emotion

4. Combine the two! (example: a proud mouse)

5. Make the shape of a job or activity (example: someone who is making dinner)

6. Combine all three! (example: a proud mouse who is making dinner)

7. For an extra challenge, have all the words start with the same sound or letter (example: a mad monkey making dinner)

2. What’s in the Mirror?

1. Pass a hand mirror or look together into a wall mirror and encourage your child to share what they see.

2. Share facial expression and investigate how we are different and how we are alike.

3. Face each other and mirror each other’s movements in slow-motion, taking turns as leader.

Theatre Arts Training class. Photo by Dan Norman.

3. Story Creation

1. Pick a BIG animal (example: an elephant)

2. Pick a LITTLE animal (example: a bee)

3. Come up with ideas about how the big animal could help the little animal

4. Come up with ideas about how the little animal could help the big animal

5. You now have enough ideas to make a story!

Once you have created the story you could:

· Write it down and make a book and draw pictures to go with it

· Act it out

REMEMBER: Interactive play creates child development and parent and child bonding opportunities that last a lifetime.

Teaching Artist Chris Zappa. Photo by Dan Norman.

Because the first five years of life are an especially unique stage of remarkable learning, growth, and development, Plays for New Audiences is proud to be the largest licensor of Theatre for the Very Young (TVY) scripts from top TVY commissioning theatres such as Imagination Stage, Nashville Children's Theatre, and Children's Theatre Company. Explore all our TVY scripts here. 

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