Acting games are another variety of learning games you can play with kids. You'll find four other varieties of learning games
in the section Learning 'Games for Kids'.
For other varieties of training games or learning games return to the home page here
On this page you'll find three learning games to learn acting basics
Let's begin with the first of the learning games
1. Make a Face: is a game to help children pull faces which represent different expressions. An expression handout is given below.
Children can use the above chart to pull different faces. In each turn they have to choose a different expressions. The best expression is rewarded.
2. Dumb Charade: is an acting game, which basically uses gestures and mimes to provide clues in a guessing game. It is a way of teaching children to communicate non-verbally in an effective way. It requires use of hands, facial expressions, and the body to mime words.
The aim of this game is for a group of players to guess the name of a movie, the name of a song, the name of a novel etc through a dumb mime. The operative word is 'dumb', so the mimer is banned from using words altogether. You can also make it as drab as guessing the topic that your class learned last semester. But then the moment you use this game it stops being drab. Right?
Once you have decided what you will be guessing say, 'the name of a movie', you can start the game as described below:
This game is played with at least two players. But a group of five makes it all the more fun. The fun increases if you have two teams of four to five players each. Let's assume that this game is being played with two teams.
Decide which team will start this acting game by using a rhyme. Check the rhyme on the Word Games page
Once the team is decided, the team chooses a representative who will mime the name of a movie. (Each member of the team will take turns to mime as the game progresses into different rounds.)
The representative then goes centre stage to begin miming the name of a movie of her choice within two minutes. The goal is to mime the name of the movie in such a way that her team is able to guess the name before the other team does.
Whatever the two teams make of the clues given by the mimer, they have to call out their interpretation. This way the mimer gets a feedback on whether his clues are on target or not. Whichever team in this learning game guesses the name of the movie first gets five marks.
Let's work with an example. Say the representative decided to mime the movie 'Gone with the wind'. She has to let the teams know the number of words in the name. So she holds up four fingers. The teams decipher the action and call out 'four words'.
Now the mimer holds up the index finger and the teams call out 'first word'. Now the player has to mime the word 'gone'. She should give it a couple of tries. If the teams do not get it then she should not sweat it and become frustrated.
Sometimes miming all the words (with finger gestures to indicate the second, third or the fourth word) without waiting for the teams to get it is a good idea. This way the teams get the big picture and the mimer can start again to give them time to guess each of the words.
Whichever team guesses the name of the movie first gets five marks. If neither of the teams guesses the name within the time limit, the mimer's team loses five points.
Some standard gestures for 'Dumb Charades':
Words like 'the' 'to' and other words that cannot be acted out are shown with the gesture made by touching the tip of your thumb with your forefinger. This gesture means insignificant.
Words like 'Firefly' can be broken up to ease the guessing process. The breaking up gesture is shown by crossing the two index fingers.
Homophones are also used to make the guessing easier. For instance it is easier to guess the word 'hair' than the word 'hare'. So the mimer uses the gesture of putting his two index fingers together - adjacent to each other
Rhyming words can also be used to enable easy guessing. For instance it is easier to mime the word 'pinnacle' rather than the word 'miracle'. The gesture for rhyming words is to touch your ear.
If the movie is an old one the gesture is to touch the shoulder. If the movie is somewhat old the gesture is to touch the elbow. If the movie is a new release, the gesture is to touch the palm of your hand
If this game is being played in a non-English speaking country, then the symbol for a movie in the native language is a 'thumbs down' sign. For an English movie the gesture is a 'thumbs up' sign.
There is nothing sacred about these gestures, you can change them or make up your own. Just make sure the teams understand them before they start to play.
Let's look at the third acting game :
3. Simon Says: is another of the acting games, which basically involves actions, gestures, facial mimes and listening skills. It is a way of teaching children to listen attentively and follow actions. It is useful in drama classes to teach basics.
This game is again ideally played with three or more players.
One of the players takes on the role of 'Simon'. The aim of the game is for players to 'follow the leader' faithfully, in this case 'Simon'.
As it is an example for acting games all players must act like the leader does. However, they should copy only those actions which the leader precedes with the phrase 'Simon says'. For instance if the leader says 'Simon says, lift your hands', all the players should 'lift their hands'.
However if the leader says 'lift your hands', the players should not lift their hands. If any player does lift her hand she is penalized for not listening to the leader and is out of this game.
The one who consistently does what 'Simon says' wins the game.
As far as the fun factor in this game is concerned, it takes place when the leader (for instance) says the following things:
'Simon says, wiggle your eyebrows'
'Simon says, wiggle your nostrils'
'Simon says, wiggle one eyebrow'
'Simon says, wiggle your ears'
'Simon says, breathe like a fish'
'Simon says, cross your eyes'
'Simon says, touch your toes'
'Simon says, hold a blue object'
Etc. You can think of more such fun actions to include them in this game. Here's a video sample of how this works in the context of a language learning class.
Return to Kids Learning Games
Once again acting games are a great way of teaching children to emote through facial expressions and gestures. While Dumb Charades helps with basics, the first one is a good way of honing this ability. In fact Dumb Charade is a way of getting feedback on their ability to communicate non-verbally.
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They can also be used to communicate a concept effectively. They add the 'aha' or 'Eureka' or 'got it' factor to presentations and lectures. They are great tools to use in debriefs of learning games or training games, to drive home a crucial point.
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