Reacting – Great Kids Acting Warm-up Game! (Video Acting Lesson)
Try this out! This great kids acting warm-up game is fast, fun, and easy for children and adults, especially to do together! If you’re a young actor or a parent of a child actor, watch this video acting lesson to learn this great audition warm-up technique that works in the car, at home, with other actors, or with friends! Check it out:
Just like athletes warm up before playing sports and musicians before a concert, actors do better when they warm up their “instruments” before any performance. Every actor’s instrument has three components – body, voice and imagination – and all three need a warm-up before going through that audition room, on that stage, or in front of that camera. This warm-up is also a great way to make those minutes in the car or waiting to be called in count! Go into your audition warmed up and ready by taking advantage of those waiting times.
Young actors learn a lot of audition techniques in their acting classes for kids or their acting school, but not everyone can get to an acting school, especially in those important minutes before their audition. This particular warm-up is very good for exercising all three main components of acting. It’s also great for parents of younger child actors. When you’re getting ready to perform, little beats a great kids acting warm-up game!
This particular game includes lots of repeating of given cues. Parents can feed their young performer lines, expressions, sounds, and body movements to help ignite their youngsters imaginations and focus their energy. Actors learn to listen closely and respond to a partner, and both mechanics are essential for auditions and working with scene partners.
Choosing things that are easy to remember and repeat will go a long way to building up your young actor’s confidence. By being in charge of this part of the improvisation, whoever is leading the game helps model improvisation for the young actor. The “follow the leader” style of the warm-up also makes it a great game to share with friends or siblings. Want to help your child actor improve but have other children in the house or in the car? Encourage them to join in. The warm-up is an excellent acting game and audition technique, but it’s also just plain fun for all ages. Get the family to join in and see everyone’s skills improve.
Want to help challenge your child or teen actor? As the game continues, turn over the control. Take turns with who plays the leader. Make the turns short at first. Children do best when asked to perform accomplishable tasks, so make sure you ask them to do things they can complete and feel good about.
Improv is an advanced acting skill, and in high demand these days. A great kids acting warm-up game helps make improv accessible and easy. Most auditions, whether for commercial spots or scripted television and even film, contain a significant portion of improvisation. Being leader in this game uses your imagination and improvisation skills. By keeping the turns short, you challenge your young actor to exercise imagination and improvisation skills while keeping their confidence high. A big part of any actor’s success is confidence.
The game itself is simple and direct. A leader speaks or moves and the followers repeat the sound or movement. To exercise all three components of your actor, make sure to utilize all three as leader:
Kids are great at making all kinds of sounds. However, schools and other social settings often discourage kids and adults from making sounds that are deemed disruptive or inappropriate. For actors, that kind of limitation can inhibit performance. This warm-up game helps blow the lid off of that limitation.
Make animal sounds, space ship sounds, quiet sounds, loud sounds, long and short sounds. If this is starting to feel like a Dr. Seuss book, that’s perfect! Using every kind of sound you can think of helps to stretch your vocal control, diction and imagination. Be sure to use your voice in many different ways to let your young actor know it’s okay to use theirs. Not only is it okay, it may be the reason they book the job!
Movement is a big part of acting. When warming up the body, try to address every part, which means big body movements and the tiniest facial changes. Try different postures and hand gestures in the car on the way. Try some funny walks from where you parked your car (and watch for traffic!). Try sitting in different attitudes.
Make faces. Every thought and emotion we have comes with a face or expression. See how many you can try, and your child actor will follow! Then ask them to lead you, and you’ll be amazed by the faces you thought they couldn’t make.
Of course exercising voice and body are going to exercise the imagination, but you can take it further. Make up lines to be said. This often leads to making up different characters, scenarios and conflicts. Before you know it, you’re improvising scenes.
To help your child’s imagination get started (and to help yourself!), you can pull from common things you know well: people, relatives, common activities, stories or TV shows you know. For young kids, fairy tales are a great source of commonly shared ideas and characters. Now say it like the Wicked Witch! Move and make noises like Curious George! Now sneak like Hansel and Gretel!
Think of shows you watch together like Jesse, Good Luck Charlie, Dog With a Blog or Ant Farm. Stuff you know from Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, PBS and Sprout, or books you read together not only give you a wealth of starting points, it helps model for your youngster sources they can use to find ideas. And remember, these are just starting points. Maybe you begin with Winnie the Pooh and Transformers, but you end up in some completely fantastic invention of your own in a far-away galaxy back in time with dinosaur butlers and houses built by bacteria…
It’s Improv. It’s infinite!
Make sure to put your child in the leadership role off and on to give them room to stretch. Also make sure to take it back again so they can relax into following and repeating. Improv is like a sprint, but acting is a life-long pursuit. Be sure to leave room for rest and pacing, and you’ll see your young star shine!