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Games to play with five and six year olds

Lucy QuickHere's a selection of games and exercises we use in our weekly classes to help boost children's confidence, concentration, communication and coordination skills. Click on the game titles to read more. 

I feel like...

This is a really helpful game to boost your child's emotional intelligence as it gives children permission to communicate their emotions to you, thereby strengthening your bond.

Choose a topic, eg feelings - happy/sad/energetic/tired/enthusiastic/grumpy. Discuss the topic with your child and explain that you are going to say I feel like (insert the emotion). You then act out the emotion, then your child also has to act it out. Then swap over so your child says I feel like (insert emotion), they act it out, then you do the same.

This can really open up a discussion about feelings, and help your child to recognise both their own feelings, and the feelings of others. You could then talk about how you might help others. For example, if someone was sad, what might you do to cheer the person up?

Anything material goes

Every child is different: some are naturally very adept at creating their own imaginary worlds, others might need a little more encouragement. This Perform game is really good to get the creative ideas flowing so why not have a go at home?

You'll need a piece of material - ideally quite large so a bed sheet or blanket is ideal. Ask your child what the material could be used for. Play along too - the possibilities are endless - a magic carpet, a picnic blanket, a toga, a cape, a tent, etc.

Encourage your child to take this a step further and play a game using the material. For example, a magic carpet could take them to an imaginary land for an amazing adventure!

Oh My!

This is a variation on musical chairs. Sit all of the children on either cushions or chairs in a circle. Go around the circle and tell them that they are a lion, a tiger or a bear. Make sure each child knows what they are.

When you shout 'Lions', all the lions must get up and move to another chair or cushion; when you shout 'Tigers', all the tigers must get up and move to another chair or cushion; and when you shout 'Bears', all the bears must get up and move to another cushion. When you shout 'Oh My!' everyone must move.

Every so often, you can take out a chair or a cushion and repeat until you have a winner. Obviously, towards the end you'll just have to shout 'Oh My!'. This game can also be played with music so the children have to dance in the middle of the circle until the music stops, then they must find a chair or cushion.

Ten second objects

This is a quick game which is great as an icebreaker at the start of a party as it promotes teamwork and can be very funny. Make sure you make it fast and furious and it will be all the more enjoyable.

Depending on the size of your group, either split the children into groups or have them all work together. Shout out an object and the children have ten seconds to make the shape of the object using their bodies as a team - as you count down the time remaining. Examples could include a car, a clock, a cake, a boat - anything you like.

How low can you go?

This is a great game and you don't need a lot of space to play it! You'll need two adults to hold each end of a skipping rope, making it taut and forming a 'bar'. Pop on some music and the children have to take it in turns to dance under the rope without brushing it.

Gradually move the rope lower and lower until the children have to wriggle on their tummies to get underneath it. Of course adults can play along too!

X Factor

This game is great for building confidence in your child and is easy to play at home with just the two of you.

Explain to your child that you're both going to take it in turns to perform something: this could be anything, a song, a dance, a poem, a magic trick, a joke. Help them pick something and encourage them to rehearse it. You'll then need to act as both presenter and judge: introduce the act then have your child perform it.

Then act as the judge; remember to only give positive feedback - the idea is to boost self esteem! You can then swap with your child as you perform something and they act as the presenter and judge.

Emotional voices

This game is a great way of getting children to really think about different sorts of emotions and how to vocalise them.

Take it in turns with your child using a list of emotions eg happy, sad, angry, tired, frustrated, joyful, etc.

They must say "My name is .... and I am really[insert emotion]"

Once you've played it like this for a little while you can vary the game by getting your child to think of an emotion and act it out without telling you what it is:

"My name is can you guess how I'm feeling?" Take it in turns to guess the emotion that is being conveyed.

Fit Kid

This is one of the most popular movement games which we play at Perform. It's great for children who don't particularly enjoy sports per se, and equally good for those who really like them.

You can adapt this game depending on your surroundings: it can be played in a park, in your garden, even indoors - just vary the exercises which you do.

Set out four different ‘fit zones' and allocate an exercise for each zone. This can be anything you like: running on the spot, star jumps, touching their toes, lying on their backs cycling their legs, etc. You'll then need four different ways for them to travel to each of the zones eg. jump, skip, hop, run, crawl, gallop, etc.

They have 30 seconds at each fit zone, and a further 30 seconds to travel to the next zone. Get a stop watch and time and encourage them to keep going. If you like, you can then switch and get them to cheer you on!

Change three things

Spending time just having fun with your child is really important. This Perform game is really popular with the children and is great for parent-child bonding.

Stand facing your child and strike a pose - this can be as silly as you like. Then your child has to turn around and count down from 10 to 1 whilst you change three things about your pose. When they turn around they have to guess the three things which you've changed.

You can then swap over and so your child will pose, you'll do the count down and then you'll have to guess what they've changed.

Telephone Conversation

At Perform we use this game to encourage the children to express their feelings, but in a respectful way.

Give your child a situation which you are going to play out together. You might decide to use a particular situation in which they behaved disrespectfully recently.

Set out the scene and give your child the emotion which they need to react with - for example they want to go to the park, but you say that they have to go shopping instead. They might be disappointed, and it's fine to communicate that, but they should try to do so in a respectful way.

This will help encourage your child to express their feelings and get their point across, without being rude. Once you've played out a situation you can then talk about how it went, and how it could be further improved.

Skye is really enjoying her sessions at Perform. She comes home with a big smile each week and is excited to tell me what she done each session.

– Miss Charmaine Wilkinson

Rufus has been to many an activity, class and event this is by far the group which he has been the most excited about. He loves the songs, the fact it's the Wild West, the stickers, cd, script the whole thing. Really greay to see him love it all. Thank you. What an amazing job you guys are doing.

– Mrs Ana Stange De Gomez

Hannah loves Perform! She sings the songs and talks about what she's learned each week without any prompting from me. She very much looks forward to going each week and she thinks Rhia is wonderful!

 

– Mrs Jennifer Asser

This is a fab class! Katie loves it and asks each morning if today is Perform day! It was also mentioned at her recent parents' evening that her confidence in class seems to have grown so I am delighted, thank you!

– Dr Jane Spurgeon

Freya loves every class, she is always bubbling with enthusiasm after each session, singing all the songs and telling us all about it. Great for her confidence. Thank you!

– Mrs Rian Steward

Libby absolutely loves going to perform. Every week she asks how many sleeps until perform again! I am over the moon with how much Libby enjoys the class.

– Mrs Lisa Hickey

Ava reports that she "Loves it"

– Ms Jill Grant

Tegan has absolutely loved Perform. She asks nearly every day if she's going to Perform and disappointed 6 days of the week! Vicky has been superb with her and made Tegan and us very welcome. I can't speak highly enough of it.

– Mrs Kate Reed

Olivia loves perform, and has described it as "even more fun than a party". It's a highlight of her week.

– Mrs Lisa Long

My girls love going to Perform & are always excited when it's Perform day, the excitement even starts before school.

– Ms Lynsey Hamilton

Ethan was unsure when I suggested this class, but after the first trial class he bounded out saying he loved it! He looks forward to this every week, I think it may be the highlight of his week!

– Mrs Kate Jordan

When my son started he was incredibly shy and Perform really helped him gain in confidence - maybe a little too much :)  I heartily recommend Perform and think all the staff are really wonderful, caring people. 

– Gary Zipman

It's great that the weekly classes focus on the children having a good time above all, and building up their confidence. Every time I tell my child "You have Perform today" she jumps and cheers!

– Mrs C. Klein

Arun is a newcomer but the classes are already one of the highlights of his week. There is a sense of inclusion in the groups, no matter what the skill level, or confidence level, of the child. 

– Mrs Jenny Salariya

This is right up Chanelle's alley. She thoroughly enjoys attending Perform. She really enjoys practising her lines and dance moves. Her connfidence is shining.

– Ms Debborah Scoular

Elliot absolutely loves it. Perform is like a glove to a hand. It suits him very well. I am looking forward to seeing the changes in him from the classes.

– Ms Charlotte Munro

Kitty is loving these classes and Sam is just brilliant - I can't stop hearing Kitty tell me how brilliant Sam is and she sins the songs and plays the CD constantly. Thank you!

– Mrs S Rochford

Abbie loves going to Perform, she is excited from the moment she wakes up, she loves singing and dancing and enjoys all aspects, she has always been very confident and this is being supported greatly.

– Kelly Priaulx

Excellent classes. My eldest Christopher still loves going each week and still going strong after three years, and Sam asks every day if tomorrow is Perform Day as he is loving every week!

– Tania Elkin

Ronny told me the other day that Perform is his favourite after-school club and this says already everything...

– A Moor

My son loves the class and asks everyday if he's going to Perform 'today'.

– Sheetal Patel

Thomas really enjoys the classes. He has been listening to the CD non stop. I now know all the songs myself. I am looking forward to seeing the final production.

– Johanne Copeland

Joseph loves going to Perform and cannot wait for a Friday saying it's the best day :)

– Sharon Keep

The boys love it! Oliver did not want to join a drama group and it is now the highlight of his week!

– Sarah

Naoise is always very excited about going to Perform. Thank you for your never-ending enthusiasm and effort and for injecting a little wonder and magic into her life every week.

– Rae Ni Bhreacain

My 7yr old daughter absolutely loves it. On the first day she said to me, she wishes she could go there every day :-).

– Paulina Lisiecka

Ryan enjoys his time at Perform and describes it as 'it's awesome!' One of my aims was for Ryan to have fun at Perform and I am pleased he is really enjoying himself. Jason King is excellent :)

– Mudita

Really enjoys the class. Thinks Ollie is the funniest man on earth

– Vivienne curtis

My daughter hasn't been going long but adores the classes and comes out on a high!

– Joanna Hogan

To say Bethany is excited about attending her Perform class every week is an understatement... she absolutely loves it and seems to gain so much from it!

– Cassie Greenwood

Evie is loving the Perform classes, especially the songs. She listens to the CD every night in bed.

– Caroline Hamilton

Tom is really enjoying Perform and looks forward to Tuesdays. He loves the songs and chatters away about what he's done in class.

– Ali McGrath

Lara wants to go every day, she keeps asking me if tomorrow is Monday! She simply loves it.

– Alexandra Mele

Alex and Zosia absolutely LOVE the course and I could not be more pleased!

– Agnieszka Wilcock