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age appropriate plays for children ages 7-17

Warm-Up Activities

"I'm a fan of Viola Spolin's and have utilized many of her activities in my classes. They have been adapted by many different coaches, and like any teacher, I try to personalize each one with my own methods of getting the children excited, involved and focused.

It's quite important that students become committed "to the moment". This means they must involve themselves in any stage activity on all levels - intellectually, intuitively and physically. Some games which help to develop these commitments include the following."

-Connor Snyder


This exercise demonstrates to the children how important it is to project their voices.

Place three bean bags in front of a row of children. One about 10 feet away from them - the second about 20 feet away, the third about 35-40 feet away (this can obviously be changed to suit the physicalenvironment of the class).

  1. Ask each child to look directly at the first bean bag, say their name and the name of their favorite animal.

  2. Instruct him to say the exact same things to the second bean bag.

  3. Would he speak with the same volume? Of course not - the "person" is further away.

  4. When asked to address the third bean bag, he obviously should be projecting his voice as loud as he can.

  5. After all the class has addressed the bean bags, let them know they were really acting in a play just then - reaching the first three rows, the middle rows, and the back rows of the theatre!


Everyone should remember the old "I Love Lucy" series; a favorite of most folks is the episode when Lucy meets Harpo Marx. In one scene, Lucy has dressed exactly like Harpo; as the latter crosses a room, Lucy crosses it the same way. Harpo looks at his "reflection" and proceeds to physicalize these crazy movements with arms, hands, legs, etc. Lucy matches him, move for move. A very funny scene - and exceptionally well done. This is exactly the same premise for "The Mirror Exercise".

  1. There are two players. "A" is the follower (mirror) and "B" starts all the action. "A" reflects all B's movements and facial expressions.

  2. Simple activities for B to initiate are washing her face, getting dressed,brushing teeth - etc.

  3. This exercise promotes inventiveness, clowning, and timing - the childrenshould be encouraged to be as specific as they can with each movement.


The actors will work in groups of 4 - 6 and are instructed to pantomime a single general activity (examples: Playing different sports at school, performing with an orchestra, circus acts, hospital work, etc.)

To communicate the idea of a GENERAL activity, each actor must pantomime a SPECIFIC one.

For example: "Office work".

  • One actor mimes being a typist, another delivers the mail, another is a "boss" at a desk (perhaps on the phone), a client visits the office to see the boss, etc.

  • The audience then guesses the general activity and then talks about the specific ones.

  • Make sure the actors understand they cannot SPEAK - only work with their bodies, facial expressions, etc.


When I was growing up, there wasn't a kid on our block who hadn't played tugof war - it was a passage rite into the "Who's the strongest kid?"competition.

In theatre tug of war, the same concept prevails - except there's no ropewhatsoever! The children play with a "space rope".

This game can be played with two, four, six or eight players at a time.

  1. The teacher encourages the children to "Pull! Pull" and challenges them to stay in the same space.

  2. If the children totally concentrate on the "object" between them, they will use as much energy as if there were a real rope between them.

  3. This is an important exercise in that no one can do it alone - it shows that problems can be solved ONLY by interacting with each other!

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