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Games to play with five and six year olds

Lucy QuickHere's a selection of drama 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.

Samuel absolutely loves performing and looks forward to it every week. I'm so glad we found out about it and booked Samuel in.

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Oliver is getting on really well and delights us with his renditions of Funky Fairy, accompanied by the dance moves. He has settled in very quickly and looks forward to his Perform class after school on a Monday.

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Miguel and Diego are enjoying the Perform classes very much! They loved practicing the choreography together at home and singing the songs wherever we go.

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My daughter absolutely loves it. We've only been going for a few weeks, but she looks forward to it every week.

– Mrs Jessica Branch

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!

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

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