4 March 2023
Despite their reputation for tantrums, drama is not necessarily considered a primary skill for toddlers!
Educationally, toddlers fall into the Early Years Foundation Stage category for 0-4-year-olds, and drama isn’t listed among the ‘must learn’ requirements.
Instead, the Early Years Foundation Stage lays out seven essential areas of learning for nurseries and preschools to be taught primarily through games and play. As the name suggests, by exploring their environment holistically, they are building solid foundations for a more formal education beginning at age 5.
However, although not a primary skill in itself, drama provides a fantastic outlet for toddlers to explore and make sense of the world and their experiences.
Take a look at our five exciting drama games for toddlers, to enhance, enthuse and encourage your child’s natural sense of curiosity, and kickstart their early education.
Stories are a great place to find inspiration for drama activities. Encourage participation with some favourites
For example, ‘We’re Going on a Bearhunt’ by Michael Rosen is a great, simple adventure story full of repetition and rhyme. Children love performing the actions and shouting out the catchphrases. Try it!
Many stories are sold with soft toy copies of the main characters for children to reenact the tales themselves or better still, create new ones!
Mirror and Mime is an enjoyable game played in pairs with small children, who love to imitate what they see around them. Start the game with a mirror to demonstrate how your reflection appears to copy exactly what you do, then have the children pair up, facing each other. One performs the actions, and the other copies (reflects) them; they swap after a few minutes. Mirror and Mime can be as still, or as active as you like, but it will undoubtedly be full of giggles!
Popcorn is a great drama game that boisterous toddlers will adore. It’s played in groups and begins with the children curled up as tightly as they can in a squat with their eyes closed. Imagine the popcorn pan warming up slowly; picture the popcorn kernels starting to jiggle a little in the heat, then POP! The children suddenly jump out of their squats like popping corn, open their eyes and clap their hands.
Bubblegum begins like Popcorn, curled up tightly in a squat. Imagine you are a piece of gum blowing up ever so slowly, getting bigger and bigger, vibrating slightly and changing shape. Poke it with your finger, and SPLAT! The bubble is gone, and the children lie shapeless and flat on the floor.
Puppet Master is another group activity that will need lots of space to move around. The children walk freely around the room for a couple of minutes; then, ask them to walk around the room as if a piece of string was leading them by their nose, arm, tummy, etc. Finally, ask them to walk as if they were puppets on strings operated by a Puppet Master. Toddlers love this game.
Drama helps to develop confidence, concentration, social, language and communication skills, cooperation and teamwork.
Start early with fun and exciting drama games for toddlers and give your children a headstart!