Improv exercises are a great way to get each of your little party go-ers movin’ and to set your party off on the right foot! The following exercises are fairly simple and are typically used by improvisers as a means of warming up. Before getting started, designate one parent to lead the kids in each of the exercises.
As a rule of thumb when leading exercises, parents should encourage:
- Positivity: Promote positivity and talk about how taking things personally creates a hiccup in having fun.
- Fun: Encourage the kids to let loose and not overthink what they’re doing.
- Smart: Let them know that inappropriate or bad words aren’t the goal and that there are other unconventional things they could say to get a laugh.
- Yes, And! In doing improv, we listen, play off of each other’s words, support one another’s ideas and celebrate them.
Step 1: Loosen up!
It’s important for everyone at the party to feel ready to let loose and have fun. Gather the party goers and lead them in shaking and stretching their hands, arms, legs, etc. Call out one area at a time for the group to focus on. This can go for as long or as short as you want, follow the fun! After everyone is warmed up, it’s time to start.
Step 2: Energy 1-10
This exercise has the group change their movement and sound in unison. It’s up to the leader of the group to control the speed and loudness as they count 1-10.
- Have everyone stand in a big circle and squatt down.
- Slowly count up from 1 – 10, going from as soft to as loud as possible and as small as to as large as possible with your movement.
- By the time you get to 10, everyone should be standing up, with their arms in the air screaming.
Go further. Instruct the kids to follow you as you change your sound and movement by counting up and down from 1-10, exploring a range of movements and sound at any speed and volume. Try taking on a character or pretend to be an animal!
Step 3: The Name Game
The Name Game is a fun little activity to do whether party goers know each other or not.
Keep your partyers in a circle.
One-by-one, each person will say their name in a fun way and do a corresponding gesture. For example: “Frrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-ank!” while jumping up.
This is repeated around the circle until everyone has had a turn.
For older kids, have them add an adjective before their name using the intitial of their firt name. In the scenario above, it would be “Funky Frrrrrrrrrrrrr-ank!” Sometimes the adjectives kids say before their name can follow them far into adulthood!
If you want to try and challenge the group, add in this additional element. After a person has gone, the person after them has to repeat all of the names and gestures of each person before them, then they can add their own. This can become quite difficult when working with larger groups!
Step 4: Prop Bag
First, fill a bag or box with random items. If your party is themed, they could be related to the theme, you can simply go through your kid’s toybox, or simply grab common household objects such as a spatula.
For this game, one-at-a-time each kid will grab an item out of the bag and do a very short scene showing how the item is used. Here’s the catch, the item can’t be used for what it’s actually used for. So, for a spatula, you can try and use it as an oar, wizard staff, etc.
The rest of the kids guess what is being acted out.