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Games to play in the classroom

Bring a little bit of drama to the classroom with some of our tried and tested games.

All require very little set up and can be modified to suit your children and your topics. 


Perfect for making friends, working as a team and boosting coordination. It's a great game for the start of term and can be played in the classroom or as a warm-up game in PE.

- Ask the children to find a partner (if you have an uneven number, you can also join in or ask the children to make one group of three).

- Ask them to stand back to back, hand to hand, tummy to tummy etc. 

- Explain that when you say People to People, they should run/hop/skip/jump to find a new partner.

Put on some upbeat music and start with three rounds of commands followed by a People to People! As the game progresses you can introduce some more tricky commands; knee to toe, elbow to back etc.

Modify this to suit your topic

At Perform, we change “People to People”  to suit our termly themes or workshops. For example, Mermaid to Pirate or Knight to Knight etc.

Magic Chair

Great for boosting confidence and encouraging children to delve into their imagination, all you need is a chair and a little bit of creativity! And the whole class can get involved.

- Set up a chair at the front of the class and sprinkle on some imaginary magic dust. This magic dust makes strange things happen to people who sit on it. What's more, every time someone new sits on the chair, something different happens! (Important to highlight that last fact to avoid too many repetitions)

- Sit down on the chair and act something out (giggling, crying, animal noises etc.) and see if the children can guess what dust was sprinkled on the chair.

- See if anyone has any of their own magic dust and ask them to have a go.

It might help if the children tell you what they're intending to do to make sure that they have something clear and so that you can help them along. You might also want to whisper some suggestions to quieter children.

Modify this to suit your topic

Link it to your English lessons and turn the chair into a Verb or an -ing chair and encourage the children to use key words from lessons. Alternatively, make it into an animal chair or a character chair and encourage the children to think about different characters in the story you are reading.

I'm in Charge!

Great for boosting confidence and public speaking. 

- Ask the children what being "in charge" means and share some examples of who is in charge of their school, home, the country etc. It's often nice to end with "who is in charge in our class?" and then passing the charge over to the children!

- Choose one child to be in charge and ask them to decide what they'd like everyone to do.

- Depending on your class you could either ask the leader to say "I'm in charge!" in a big loud voice and start doing something for everyone to copy (jumping, wiggling, hopping etc.) or ask them to use a full sentence to descirbe what they'd like everyone to do. "I'm in charge and I'd like everyone to slither like a snake!"

- Put on some upbeat music and ask everyone to copy but, as soon as the music stops, everyone should freeze and you choose a new leader.

Modify this to suit your topic

You could always encourage the children to choose activities linked to your topic such as asking them to only choose animals or to use verbs, adverbs or similies in their sentences.

Compliments Game

The theme for Anti-Bullying Week 2021 was One Kind Word. Encourage the children to speak kindly to one another and share compliments. Not only will it boost their confidence, communication and self-esteem but it will also encourage the children to use full sentences, use eye contact and communicate clearly with peers.

- If possible, sit the children in a circle and discuss what a compliment is and share some examples. 

- Ask the children to consider the person to their left and think of a compliment to pay them. Remind the children that it doesn’t just have to be aesthetic, but can be about their personality too.

- Go around the circle and listen to everyone’s compliments - reminding the children to say “thank you” after receiving a compliment.

Modify this to suit your topic

Consider using this exercise when doing Peer Assessment or reviewing books etc. Encourage the children to always start and end with a positive comment.

Hey! That's my line.

School play or class assembly looming and unsure if the children actually know their lines or if they’ve been practicing? This is a quick and easy game to ensure the class knows their own lines and get them to listen to other lines within the script.

- Read a selection of random lines from the script. 

- When someone recognises their own line they jump up and shout "Hey! That's my line." 

- For a more advanced class, ask them to complete the phrase you started or recite the whole line back to you.

- For a further challenge, see if the class can recognise their cue line (the line before theirs) and ask them to shout out “Hey! That’s my cue!” before reciting their next line.


Story Circle

Brilliant for developing creativity and encouraging children to work together, listen to one another and use full and interesting sentences. It’s also very rewarding - who knew you could write a whole story in just 5 minutes?!

- Ask the children to sit in a circle and tell them that you are going to tell them a story.

- Suddenly you realize that you don’t have the storybook. What are you going to do?

- Tell the children that you are going to need their help with telling the story.

- Ask them what the story could be about and, together, decide on a character or location to get the story started.

- Tell them that you are going to start the story and then everyone is going to get a turn to add one sentence to the story. Encourage them to be creative and think outside of the box.

- Remind them that, while they have total creative freedom, new sentences must link to the story so far and ideally the story should end by the time you reach the last person in the circle.

Teacher - “Once upon a time there was a Knight called Matt.”
Child 1 - “Matt lived in a giant castle in the middle of a forest.”
Child 2 - “He loved to eat cheese.”

Modify this to suit your topic

Use another story you’re reading as the stimulus for the exercise and encourage the children to come up with the next installment or an alternative ending. You could also make one of the Significant Figures your class are studying as the central character or challenge the children to start each line with the next letter of the alphabet.

Character Command

This exercise is perfect for the beginning of any topic or new book and will help to get children excited and energised about their new theme. Character command games can be adapted to suit any topic or story but the example below is based on Fairytales & Fables.

- Ask the children to share the names of as many fairytale characters as they can think of. 

- Using a simple action, act out a couple and see if they can guess who you are. For example, falling asleep could be Sleeping Beauty or taking huge foot stamps around the room could be the Giant.

- Assign different commands to a range of fairytale characters and put them to the test.

- Put on some upbeat music and alternate different characters/commands with galloping/hopping/jumping around the room.

Modify this to suit your topic

Change the characters to suit any topic such as moments in history, stories, countries and their languages or cultures, planets… the possibilities are endless!

The sun shines on...

Excellent for encouraging children to be observant, listen and speak in full sentences.

- Make a circle of chairs, with one less than the number of players.

- Ask one child to stand in the middle of the circle and everyone else to take a seat.

- The child in the middle should finish the following sentence, adding a phrase that relates to at least two people in the circle: “The sun shines on…” people with brown hair, anyone who likes football, all the girls, everyone etc.

- Anyone who fits the bill, must get up and try to find another seat.

- The last one standing stands in the middle and the game starts again.

Encourage the children to think outside of the box and be clever with their suggestions.

I'm special because...

We all have different skills and talents and, at Perform, we love to celebrate how wonderful we all are. Use this exercise to celebrate each and every member of your class and encourage children to be confident about themselves and all that they are.

- It’s important for every child to know that they are unique and special. Start by discussing how everyone is special in their own way and that everyone has special qualities. 

- It might help to introduce the exercise by encouraging the children to tell you that you are special. For example, “Boys and girls, I’m feeling sad today because somebody told me that because I can’t play football and do the same things as they can that I’m not special.” This should ignite a conversation, lead by the children!

- Decide on something that makes you special and share it with the children. “I’m special because I am kind and helpful.”

- Ask the children to close their eyes and think of one thing that makes them special. It may be a talent or skill, a personality trait or quality.

- Go around the room and hear from everyone in the class.

Walking in different environments

This game is brilliant for encouraging children to think about the world around them and bring the world of a story you are reading to life. It will encourage self-expression and boost coordination.

- Walk around the room as if you were walking in mud. Can the children guess where you are?

- Now try walking on the moon. Can they guess where you are now?

- Give a few different examples and then ask the children to jump up, pop on some upbeat music and give them different locations to walk in. Some examples might be deep snow, quick sand, on a bouncy castle, through the park on a sunny day, on an ice rink etc.

Modify this to suit your topic

Help the children to dig deeper into a book you’re reading or an area you are studying by taking them through the different environments in the story. Ask them how each environment makes them feel and encourage them to empathise with the characters.

Magic Box

Fantastic for encouraging imagination and self expression and boosting confidence. It’s a wonderful starter exercise or wind down plenary task.

- Open your imaginary box and mime getting something out of it.

- Ask the children to guess what it is from your actions.

- Pass the box around and ask different children to have a go.

Emotional Freeze Frames

Freeze frames are an excellent way for children to bring scenes to life and consider the thoughts, feelings and actions of the characters/people involved. This exercise is a fantastic practical addition to any topic and a wonderful way to kickstart a lesson and get children to work together.

- Start by explaining what a freeze frame is: a frozen image of a scene, using our bodies.

- Split the class into small groups and ask them to each create a freeze frame based on a different emotion: e.g. watching a scary film, getting excited for your birthday party etc.

- Give them a time limit and ensure that everyone gets involved. Remind them of all the different characters that could be involved and to use gesture and body language.

- One at a time, look closely at each group and examine the freeze frame in detail. You could ask the other groups to guess each emotion too.

- Give the children 30 seconds to change their emotion, keeping the scene the same. How do their gestures or facial expressions change when they go from watching a scary film to watching a comedy movie?

- Discuss how different emotions manifest themselves in our body. Not only will this help children when acting but also being able to address their own emotions and express how they feel.

Modify this to suit your topic

Swap emotions for different aspects of an event. For example, when studying World War II you could ask the first group to make a freeze frame of the soldiers being called to fight. Group 2 might be the soldiers leaving, being waved off by their families and then Group 3 are showing a scene from the evacuation. You might also include freeze frames of the battle itself or of VE day. Look at the freeze frames in chronological order.


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