Some kids are naturally gregarious and social, and have no trouble making friends or speaking up in class. Others are shy, struggle to make connections with others, and dread being called on by the teacher – even when they know the answer. Theater improv games can help shy kids and those who need help with social skills, and are fun for all. Parents looking for fun ideas for kids will enjoy these games suggested by the founders of Zip Zap Zop Kids, a local program offering after-school classes in five L.A.-area schools, programs at We Rock The Spectrum inclusive children’s gym in Santa Monica, and private party entertainment.
Build A Machine: One child makes a movement and sound, another child adds their own movement and sound, and so on, until the leader pauses the “machine.” The children then get to decide what the machine was creating, keeping in mind their individual movements and sounds. Build A Machine is a great problem-solving game that helps children loosen up.
Emotional Symphony: Four children are “on stage,” and the audience picks an emotion for each of them. Then each child on stage picks a sound and movement that symbolizes their emotion, and someone from the audience directs the symphony.
Dr. Know It All: This game can even be played in the car. All of the children involved team up to become one person named “Dr. Know It All,” who is a genius. Dr. Know It All can answer any question, even if the answers are very silly. The “interviewer” poses the question, and the members of the Dr. Know It All team take turns, each speaking one word at a time, to form a complete sentence that answers the question. This is a great listening game and a chance to practice collaborating.
Presents: An imaginary present appears in front of the players. They all first get to describe the wrapping paper in detail. They then open up the present and use what is inside without telling the audience! Audience members then take turns trying to guess what the players are pantomiming. This is a fun game for birthday parties as well!
Zip Zap Zop Kids CEO Maja Miletich has a degree in child development, with an additional focus on working with children on the autism spectrum. She has worked as a children’s behavioral therapist and preschool teacher, and teaches a weekly toddler class at Palisades Presbyterian Nursery School in Pacific Palisades.
COO Justin Huff has been involved in theater since he was a child. He has a degree in theater, and has worked as a mentor underprivileged children in New York, and spent more than 12 years as a camp counselor.
Learn more at www.zipzapzopkids.com.