Summertime is upon us, and although most kids these days are enrolled in a summer program to get them active and motivated throughout the day, there are still many who stay at home and spend way too much time in front of some sort of electronic screen. If you know a child in need of some imaginative fun time, take a page out of the Leap of Joy Summer school handbook! This summer, Ms. Tey and Ms. Danielle have been working with our kids over at Hart on their improving skills, applying them to these teacher’s specialty, Theater Arts! Here’s a look at some of the games they play in class:

Grandma’s Keys

This game is goofy and so much fun to play with a bigger group of kids. The purpose of the game is to steal the keys to the cookie jar from Grandma while she sleeps. When you play this it could be the keys to anything you think the kids would want to get into. For example, they could be the keys to the cabinet holding their favorite toy, electronics, or snack. You can use real keys, or a small object. The game begins with “Grandma” going to bed. He or she turns around, and the other kids sneak up behind them. If Grandma turns around, you must freeze in place. As long as you are frozen, Grandma cannot see you. If you move, you must start over and creep back up to Grandma to try and steal the keys. Once you get them, you must take them back to the starting line. You can hide them, but Grandma suspects you have them then you must return them immediately and start over.  They all take a turn being “Grandma”, and it’s a great team work game.

Freeze Tag Improv

The way this game works is you will start with two comedy “players”. These players will ask you or the audience for three things: 2 famous people, a place, and a problem. During their scene they must portray all of these things. As the scene plays out, another kid will call out freeze and then tap on the shoulder of the player  they want to replace. It’s an excellent imagine building as none of the scene is planned out beforehand. Once the players have their three categories they must begin their scene and work on the problem together. For example, during one of our games this summer semester we had a scene where the kids were on the International Space Station. Their famous people were Neil Armstrong and Han Solo. And the problem they encountered was that their spaceship became sentient during a repair, and flew off into space. The kids did a wonderful job of taking the audience through what would happen next. Be sure to encourage description words and phrases so when they set their scene up everyone in the audience (aka potential players) can start to think about where they think the scene should go.


For this game you need tape, a blindfold, and possibly paper. We found that masking tape worked the best for us, as it was easy to clean up afterwards. You can also do it outside with chalk. Mark off a large rectangle for your lava to be kept in. Then, either using pieces of paper or tape, mark off safe areas throughout the rectangle for the participant to step on. The object of the game is to get your partner/classmate across the lava field without stepping in it. As one kid moves across the field, the others will call out directions one by one to ensure their safety. We use stage directions, but you can use any sort of vernacular that the kids are comfortable with. I enjoyed using paper, as we were able to change where the safe zones were so it was a new game every time. This too is an excellent team builder.

We want to thank all of our Leap of Joy teachers for making time to put together such great classes both during the year, and in the summertime. If you have any suggestions about future games we could play with the kids, or questions about more fun theater games, please contact daniellehoutkooper@leapofjoy.org. Special thanks to Te’Juana Johnson for joining our Leap of Joy family for the summer.


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