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Games to play with four 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. 

What am I?

Children are naturally curious and that's not surprising with so many wonderful things to discover about the world.

Part of your child's curiosity comes from a desire to work things out for themselves. You can help them develop their question/ answer capabilities and stretch their powers of deduction with this game.

Tell your child that you're going to play a guessing game - think of an animal and give your child three facts about it. For examle:

I purr when I am happy

I am furry

I like to chase my tail

Your child then has to guess what the animal is. If they have a couple of incorrect guesses give them a bonus fact to help them along. Then swap over, so your child gives you three facts about an animal whilst you guess what it might be.

Weird Wonderful Will

Speaking and listening skills are essential for progress through school and into the wider world. Help develop your child's phonics and language skills by playing this Perform alliteration game.

First explain that alliteration is all about grouping together words which all begin with the same sound: like weird, wonderful and Will all begin with a ‘w' sound.

Then give an example which isn't alliterative e.g. jumping, gorgeous Jeremy: jumping and Jeremy begin with a ‘j' sound, but gorgeous begins with a ‘g' sound.

Take it in turns to play and discuss the examples which your child comes up with. Don't worry if they get it wrong - simply offer up suggestions. You could also come up with some yourself, and ask your child to judge whether they are correct or not.

Toyshop

This is one of the most popular Perform games and is ideal for developing concentration and confidence.

Ask your child to sit down and close their eyes. Tell them think of their favourite toy and imagine what it would be like to become that toy. Ask them to think about the colour, shape, material and feel of the toy and to imagine how it would move, sound and speak.

Tell your child that you are the Toyshop owner and that they are one of the toys in your toyshop. When you are in the room, they must keep still and quiet, but when you go outside of the room they can come alive, move, speak, and act like the toy has come alive. However, when you come back in they must stand as still as a statue.

The real trick for playing this game is to go for it and really enjoying playing the character. Give the toyshop owner a funny accent and mannerisms. Talk to yourself, dust the toy, move it about in different poses. Then go out of the room.

When you come back you must act very surprised that the toys are not where you left them. Make a big thing of putting them back into place, re-posing them etc.

Then go out of the room and repeat the process.

Key Game

This is a fabulous game to develop concentration skills as well as being lots of fun!

Ask your child to stand at one side of the room against the wall. Explain that there is a dungeon which has treasure in it, but the key to the dungeon is guarded by a dragon. To get the key they must move quietly and slowly and stand completely still if the dragon wakes up. If the dragon sees them move they will have to go back to the beginning.

You play the dragon. Children love it when you really act out the part: snoring when you are asleep, roaring and growling if you see your child move etc.

Tents to Teepees

Here's a game which is great for getting children's imaginations working (and your own!)

Tell your child that you are going on a camping adventure. Decide with them where you will go, eg the desert, the North Pole, a forest, etc.

The journey is long and arduous with lots of exciting experiences on the way. Make sure you keep things varied and unexpected. When you arrive set up a camp by hanging a sheet or duvet over a couple of dining chairs. Whilst you are there, have a fantastic adventure. Meet some local people, try the local food, discover the animals and the local geography etc.

Yes or No Game

Over my years at Perform, I've found the Yes or No game really useful in helping children to develop their vocabulary and communication skills - why not have a go at home?

Explain that you are going to ask some questions, but they are not allowed to answer with either 'yes' or 'no'. Start off with some easy questions, then progressively make them a little harder:

‘Do you have any brothers and sisters?'

‘Do you like school?'

Keep it light-hearted and fun. If the answer 'yes' or 'no' simply laugh and say 'oops try again'. If you like, you can swap over and have them ask you some questions too - just remember the rules!

Thursday is Louis' favourite day of the week purely because he gets to go to his Perform class. He enjoys every moment and I believe it's the best class we have ever signed up to. 

– Sharon Bonfield

My daughter really enjoys the classes and always comes out happy and enthusiastic!

– Lucy Ryder

Penelope loves Perform! She will regularly ask me how many days until Wednesday, counting down until Perform. She is very confident and independent but can shy away with new groups of people. In the short space of time she has attended Perform I can already see a difference at school- making new friends and interacting with other children at play centres.

– Miss Helen Grayer

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

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

George loves going to Perform, he says "It's really great, we play cool games and have loads of fun." I'm loving George's enthusiasm and can't wait to see the performance.

– Miss Nikki Butler

Olivia absolutely loves Perform. 5 stars!

– Ms Elizabeth Wright

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

– Sharon Keep

"I really like Perform because everyone is nice and I have fun every time I go there." - Nicole

– Ms Justyna Zohreh

My children love Perform - they always come springing out of the class with huge, excited smiles on their faces. Alana is friendly, approachable and professional, and she makes my boys feel totally at ease.

– Mrs Beth Dixon
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