4 Acting & Improv Activities for Elementary Age Kids

Storytelling provides a developmentally appropriate and engaging way for children to express their imagination and share original ideas

It’s time to get silly with storytelling! Whether it’s telling a story one word at a time with a partner or acting out a skit without words, storytelling games provide endless fun for kids!

“Storytelling provides a developmentally appropriate and engaging way for children to express their imagination and share their original ideas,” says Helen Hadani, Ph.D., Head of Research at Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. “Children are free to invent their own characters and events that are personally meaningful to them.”

When kids tell a story they practice perspective taking — or putting themselves in another person’s shoes — which is a key component of flexible thinking, explains Hadani. Storytelling also helps children practice important communication and language skills. For example, younger kids practice vocabulary development, while older kids learn metaphor, humor, and sarcasm.

Encourage your child’s imagination — try these four low-cost storytelling activities from Creativity Catapult, the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s online library of creativity-boosting activities.

1. One Word Stories

Kids create a unique and spontaneous three sentence story as a group. Each player adds one word to the story and then it alternates to another player.

Click here for step-by-step instructions of One Word Stories.

2. Fairytale Flip

Kids put a creative spin on a classic fairytale! The goal is to retell a fairytale through the eyes of a character or object other than the main protagonist.

Click here for step-by-step instructions of Fairytale Flip.

3. Select Your Words Carefully

After selecting seven words at random, kids are challenged to pantomime a two-minute skit and speak only those seven words during the performance. This game pushes children to be spontaneous and creative on the spot.

Click here for step-by-step instructions of Select Your Words Carefully.

4. Dubbing

In this partner activity, kids work together to act out an original story. One player moves freely but cannot speak while the other player dubs the story, speaking and providing sound effects.

Click here for step-by-step instructions of Dubbing.

Free Online Library of Children’s Activities

The Bay Area Discovery Museum, with its research division the Center for Childhood Creativity, launched CreativityCatapult.org — an online collection of free activities to promote creativity development in children ages 2 to 14. The free resource includes 80 activities that can be filtered by age, topic, number of participants, level of difficulty, duration of time, and skill.

By Jennifer Moncayo-Hida, Senior Communications Manager at Bay Area Discovery Museum

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