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DIY Show-at-Home Theater Game for You and the Kids

The Patel Conservatory theater department presents a great idea for an easy, fun, at-home performing arts game you can do as a fam.

If you’ve got random household objects plus a restless young’un or two running around, then you’ve got just about everything you need for this quick-to-arrange, easy-to-cleanup theater game from our pros in the Patel Conservatory theater department. It’s DIY arts education at its quarantined best.

Matt Belopavlovich, theater department artistic director, pulled this activity, Personal Prop Stories, straight from the lesson plans of our performing arts school just for you. Plus, we have a specially-recorded demo from our Patel Conservatory theater managing director Audrey Siegler showing you how this game works—recorded from her house with her kids because, hey, we’re all at home right now with 24 hours to fill.

The instructions below are best suited for ages 3-10, but you can adapt it easily by using a more challenging title, the addition of dialogue and a more complex prop selection for a great storytelling improv for older kids.

Here we go!

Personal Prop Stories
This activity usually fills 15-20 minutes of our drama lesson plan.

What is a prop? An object used on stage by actors during a performance.

What You’ll Need:

Two or more players. The more the merrier!

Something to write on like computer paper, sticky note, used envelope, etc.

Something to write with—i.e., fancy pen, standard pencil, colorful marker, etc.

5 to 10 household items

Setup:

1. Set out all the props on the floor or a table.
2. Clear a small space to be your stage.
3. Write “Title,” “Characters” and “Opening Line” on your writing material.
4. Choose a Scribe (writer) and Director (activity moderator).
5. Assign a “prop discard” area.

Time for Fun:

1. The Director asks the group of actors for a random story title. This could be something silly like “Purple Banana Goes to the Mall.” The Scribe writes down this title on the paper.

2. The Director asks for two main characters and an opening line. The Scribe records these on the paper.

3. The Director counts to three and everyone says the opening line together.

4. All actors act out the line.

5. Each actor gets a turn to be the narrator by choosing a prop and adding a line to the story. Their story moment should be inspired by the prop.

6. All actors would then act out the story moment actions such as pantomiming a door and running inside to put on a pantomimed hat.

7. The final actor’s prop should somehow conclude the story. Once their full turn is complete, the Director counts to three again and everyone says, “The End.”

Prop Story Teaching Tips:

Most of all, have fun.

Stay tuned: We’ll be back soon with a new performing arts activity you can do at home.

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