Outside the Orchestra: Performing Arts Games for Kids

Orchestra music is only part of the vast world of the performing arts. There are many fun and engaging activities your kids can do that are taken from the world of theater, dance, opera, and other art forms. Below are some of our favorite games that contribute to a well-rounded love for and connection to the performing arts.

Human Knot: Drama Game

Best played with a group of about 10 children, the human knot is a game that allows kids to learn about ensemble building, or the importance of working as a team.

Have the group stand in a circle and grab hands with two people- not the person next to them and not both hands of the same person. The kids must then figure out how to untie the knot without anyone ever letting go of their hands.

Animal Obstacle Course: Dance Game

This activity requires a large space, but can be played indoors or outdoors. Place several stuffed animals around your space with plenty of room in between each one. Encourage little ones to leap over each animal like a ballerina, focusing on their best split.

Once they’ve gone through the course using their best dance moves, encourage them to jump over the stuffed animals in the way each animal would do. How would a horse jump? What about a frog, or a cat? This teaches children that dance is not only a way of movement, but a way to express ideas.

One Word Story: Drama Game

This game can be played in any size group, but is better for elementary-aged kids. The parent or leader of the game starts by giving a one-sentence prompt for a story, such as; “Once upon a time there was a boy who wanted to fly”.

The players can then take turns adding to the story, one word at a time. This game is great because it reinforces active listening, creativity, and the concept of narrative storytelling. The game can end whenever the parent or leader decides that an effective conclusion has been met.

Jump Jim Joe: Singing Game

This game is great for pairs or groups of three, and can be played with a small group of young children. It incorporates both dancing and singing, and has an easy melody that kids can learn quickly.


The nature of the song requires kids to find new dance partners quickly, teaching them about adaptability, commitment, and decision-making- all important skills for performing artists.

Sensory Imagination: Drama Game

This game gets children to think creatively and connect their behavior with imaginary circumstances.

Have kids tap into their imagination by asking them to pretend to do things such as:

  • Touch: A hot stove, an icicle, a baby bunny
  • Taste: A sour lemon, birthday cake, or broccoli
  • Hear: The ocean, a train whistle, a tiny mouse in the house
  • See: A giant, an ant, a rainbow, a spaceship
  • Smell: Freshly baked cookies, a skunk, perfume, a flower

There are many more performing arts games and activities that kids of all ages enjoy. Do you have a favorite from your childhood, or have you played others with your kids? You can find these games and more on our Pinterest page.

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