The playing’s the thing.
Why do warm ups and drama games?
There are many reasons to run a warm-up or a game and here are some of the most compelling
- It brings focus into the room
- It encourages fun and collaboration
- It promotes a sense of safety – often games have familiar structures that make young people feel safe
- It enables listening skills and establishes the facilitator as leader
Getting started/Tips for success
- Be clear about the rules e.g. only one person speaking at a time, kindness and generosity
- Circles work well for giving instructions and regrouping you can see everyone and they can see you
- ‘Less talking and more doing’ Trust that things become clearer once you get going rather than long detailed explanations
- Read the room – if energy and enthusiasm just isn’t there for a particular game, move on
- Set expectations, it can be really easy to play games for a whole session. Tell the group that you are going to start with a couple of games and there may be time for some more later on in the session – under promise and over deliver
- Take care with competitive games – it can be useful to have a target within games but you should be fostering a safe space and if you celebrate winners it can undermine that aim. You can mitigate this by mixing up teams but keep everything lighthearted and positive
- Games don’t only have to be played at the beginning. You can use them to explore a dramatic moment, to refocus or to build energy if it is flagging. It can be really great to end the session with a game. If the group knows that this is going to happen if everything else gets done, it can be a real incentive to keep the focus
All games are not created equal
It can be useful to have your games divided up into categories to help you choose wisely. Playground and party games are ideal for having fun and getting everyone playing together. Games for creating material or to work on specific skills will help to build skills in an accessible way for everyone but require a bit more thought and structure.
You will find a selection of guides divided into various categories on this website and there is also a guide to adapting games.
There are so many options on platforms like YouTube where you can see games in action. Here is the Freeze Game from Drama Menu and you can find lots of links to others on this page.
Theatre Games and Beyond
Published by Christian Publishers LLC
101 Drama Games
Published by Create Space