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iPOP Tips: Fun games for keeping your child actor ACT-tive

Advice for keeping your child actor ACT-tive

During this time it is important to stay ACT-ive. And by active we mean working on your acting muscles whenever you have the chance. This can be a bit more tricky for the young budding star. For parents, we understand there are many things on your plate right now and that why we are here to help. We’ve rounded up some fun acting games to play with your child actor so they can stay ACT-ive and you can have a little fun of your own. Read below for a web round-up of fun games for keeping your child actor ACT-ive.

1. A Million Ways To… How to play: Pick any casual activity (walking down the street, eating dinner, getting ready for bed) and do it in as many different ways as you can imagine until you both run out of ideas! Example: Take “entering the room” as your theme. Both you and your kid take turns and enter the room in different ways: angry, lost, forgot something, escaping someone, hiding, sneaky, and whatever else you can think of. And try to guess what each other’s showing! Benefits for your Child Actor: A Million ways to… is a fun acting game for kids that’s great for bringing out creativity and understanding that EVERY situation can be played in many different ways. Since you can enter the room with a specific emotion, or as a character, or in an interesting way, it really allows your kid to explore a very wide range of acting aspects. – – –

2. Superstar Interview How to play: Have your kid pretend to be a character they love & know, e.g. an actor, a family member, a singer, a cartoon character. Then you interview them and they have to respond as that character. If you want, you can give them time to prepare. Example: You’ve just watched Home Alone. Invite your kid to pretend they’re Kevin and ask them some questions, such as “So, how did you feel when the Wet Bandits were at your door? Were you scared or confident? Why?” and “Which of your family members would you want by your side the next time something similar happens?”. You can also throw in some general questions such as “What is the best part of being famous?”. Just remind them to answer from the star’s perspective and not their own. Benefits: If you do this often, your kid will learn to pick up on character cues and understand that characters have background, which helps define performance. In turn, this will help them build richer personas when they’re auditioning for a role, or are already acting in a film. These type of acting games for kids really help better understand characters and what actors do. And it’s super fun! Kids are inspired to act by their heroes, so give them the opportunity to be that hero and watch them embrace the opportunity with open arms! – – –

3. Mirror, mirror, on the wall How to play: One of you pretends to be a reflection of the other and mimics everything the other person does. Can do it full-body, or just the face. Plus, you can introduce voice, as well. Example: Sit down with your child and ask them to mirror your facial expressions. Start with some easy ones, such as Happy, Sad, Angry, Bored, and then add some more difficult ones, such as thoughtful, disappointed, hungry, disgusted, excited, in pain, curious, and any others that spring to mind. To make it easier for your kid, tell them to say what the expression means out loud. But remember, the goal is to be a mirror. Teach your kid not only to mirror the emotion itself but to focus on and mimic the facial expressions. Benefits: This is another acting game for children that lets them explore a wide range of motion and emotion. It helps them focus on very specific things and pick up on cues they might otherwise miss. Plus you can play this anytime – while getting ready for bed while hanging out at a family event, or right before an audition! – – –

4. Character Charades How to play: Prepare a list of characters (celebrities, family members, cartoon characters, professions) that your kid knows and that have some distinct behaviors. You take turns taking a name out of the hat and acting as the character. And take turns guessing what the other is showing. Example: Let’s take SpongeBob SquarePants as an example. The goal is not to find the easiest way to guess the character (e.g. showing a square and then pointing at pants), but rather to play as if you are the character (e.g. wide-eyed, smiling, flipping burgers, being friends with a starfish). Since you’ll have prepared the list, you should be able to guess what’s being shown. Alternatively, you can skip preparing the list and just pick a theme. It can be cartoon characters in general, or from a specific show, or it can be celebrities, family members, movie characters, and more. Benefits: Character Charades let your kid understand what defines a character, be it a cartoon sponge or a family member. And the more you play this game, the better they’ll be able to imitate these defining characteristics, which will help a lot when there’s a real acting role waiting for your kid. – – –

5. The Lost Toy How to play: This game is best played when there are people around. The original idea goes like this: your child actor has to pretend to have lost a toy somewhere in the room and has to get someone to help them find it without saying “Please help me find it”. But you can make your own variation – the idea is that your kid has to get someone to do something by acting and without asking the person to do it. Example: Some ideas that your kid can pretend to need help with:

  • Pretend a door is locked and they can’t open it

  • Lost something and need help finding it

  • Can’t pick something up because it’s stuck to the floor

  • Can’t change the channel because the remote is broken

You can turn this game into a competition – you both set each other a task that you have to pretend to need help with and then the winner is the one who gets someone to help by using as few words as possible. Just remember – make sure you tell your “victim” that this is a game and what the rules are. Otherwise you might step on some toes. Benefits: This game can teach your child actor a very valuable lesson about the power an actor has. But on a more practical level, it’s fantastic to explore what it takes to get people engaged and achieving that using different methods. Getting their audience to feel or do something is the single most important goal of an actor, and this game helps understand how to do that. It’s also fun and prank-ish, so it really appeals to the little mischievous side every kid has! – – –

6. It’s HOW you say it How to play: This game is very similar to the A Million Ways to… game, but focuses on the voice & face. Take a phrase, any phrase, and try to say it in as many different ways as possible. Change up the emotions and the intonation every round. If you have an audience, have them guess what the emotion was! Example: “She took his toy” can be delivered in an angry, happy, shocked, curious, and many other ways. Feel free to set your own winning conditions – it can be the most different ways, the best quality ones, or the most creative ones – just remember to have lots of fun! Benefits: Understanding what words to emphasize and different ways to deliver them can help your kid develop a much more nuanced approach to line delivery that will help them stand out in an audition. It also unleashes creativity and builds a strong foundation for improv – two very important skills for actors. – – –

7. Tongue Twisters How to play: Prepare a list of tongue twisters and challenge each other to say them without messing up. If your child actor can do it well, then you can make it a challenge – which one of you can say it faster & more times without the words blending together! Examples: Here are some popular tongue twisters:

  • Singing Sally sang songs on sinking sand

  • I wish to wash my Irish wristwatch

  • I saw a kitten eating chicken in the kitchen

  • Unique New York

  • Four fresh fish for you

You can find many more fun ones here. Benefits: An actor’s voice is one of their most valuable instruments. Reciting fun tongue twisters can help develop a clear speaking-voice and improved voice control. It’s a great speaking exercise before an audition to get that tongue loose and vocal cords warmed up! The best part – you can do it anywhere, anytime. – – –

Remember: Acting games for kids should have prizes Don’t forget to have a reward that motivates your kid to give it their best. It doesn’t have to be candy or buying things. Here’s an idea: create a certificate for “The Tongue Twister Champion” or “The World’s BEST Mirror”. When your kid excels at a game – award them with it. You can even make a whole Oscars-like ceremony if you like and make them feel like the superstar they are.


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