by Kippy Edge
Explain pantomime to children as acting without words or props. It combines elements of theater and works best with a strong script or actions and allows the actors to “talk” without speaking. The secret is to exaggerate everything and move in slow motion.
For simple pantomime activities, pick kids and ask them to pretend they are doing sports activities. The kids in the audience should try to guess what the “actor” is doing. If possible, have enough activities so that every child has an opportunity to pantomime.
- Lifting weights
- Throwing a baseball
- Dribbling a basketball
- Serving a tennis ball
- Eating foods they might get at a game, like hot dogs, peanuts, and popsicles, etc.
Try a scripted pantomime with older kids. Some scripts are available, usually for a small fee, on the Internet but older kids can easily develop their own script from simple fairy tales and traditional stories, such as “The Tortoise and the Hare.”
For improvisational dramatics, the actors do not have a script and they perform spontaneously. The unpredictability lends itself especially well to comedy. You do not need a script or prepared scenes, but detailed instructions and improv game ideas are available in Funny Bones: Comedy Games and Activities and On Stage: Theater Games and Activities for Kids, both written by Lisa Bany-Winters.
To connect improv and the Texas Reading Club theme, use common objects like a piece of rope, mittens, balloons, mixing bowl, stick, etc. Ask two kids to create new games, and then have them explain the rules of their new game to everyone. Continue the game until all the kids have created a new game with the items.
Sports Quiz: Divide group into teams and ask them questions about Texas professional sports teams, athletes, and high school athletics. For example, at the Taft Public Library you might ask: What color are the uniforms of the Taft Greyhounds? What professional basketball team plays in Dallas?