Theatre games are a great way to get rehearsals off to a fun start. Kids love playing games, and if you’re clever, you can have them play games that also teach skills! Hidden learning — sneaky AND fun!
One of the most popular games I use is called Fruit Basket. It’s high energy, great for kids of all ages and it’s lots of fun!
Fruit Basket (The Basic Version)
1. Everyone sits in a large circle (the biggest the room will allow). Make sure that the space is cleared of debris and anything that people could trip on.
2. The leader will go around the circle and everyone chooses a different fruit and says their fruit out loud in a big voice. Nobody can use the same fruit!
Get creative and move beyond just strawberry, banana and orange. I’ve heard the gamut of fruits, from boysenberry to guava to dragonfruit to coconut!
3. One person (“It”) stands in the middle, and calls out a fruit. The person whose fruit is called must jump up, say the name of someone else’s fruit, and sit down again before “It” tags them. The second person whose fruit is called must jump up, say the name of another fruit, and sit down again before they are tagged, and so on!
4. If someone is tagged, they are the new “It,” and the previous “It” takes their place in the circle. If they say the name of the fruit that “It” is, they are also in the middle! You can play as many rounds as you like!
- Both butt cheeks must stay on the floor! (No cheating by squatting or kneeling!)
- You must jump right up to standing! (No cheating by hunching over or other Igor-esque moves!)
- You cannot run around the outside of the circle or try to leap out of the way to avoid being tagged.
- “It” must state the first fruit by standing still in the middle of the circle. (No cheating by saying the first fruit while running towards that person.)
- “It” must actually try to tag the person being called (I’ve seen some kids who just want to run around and around and not tag people… it’s usually the kids who are 6 and younger).
- Projecting voices
- Listening to teammates
- Can be used as a physical warm-up or a breaktime change-of-pace game
“It” calls two different fruits (i.e. “strawberry and peach!”). Strawberry and Peach must jump up and try to switch places before “It” steals one of their places. Whoever is left standing is the new “It.”
If “It” calls “Fruit Basket” then EVERYONE must change places!
You can change up the subject matter to be any kind of big group listing you’d like! I usually suggest trying to keep choices to single words (“dog” versus “golden retriever” unless you want to be more challenging!) and fewer syllables but really, the sky’s the limit!
- Vegetable Garden (carrot, pea, cauliflower, lettuce…)
- World Tour (countries of the world… I usually say that nobody can be Canada [or whatever your home country is] to make it fair)
- Pet Store (animals)
- Olympics (sports)
- Use your character names from the show you’re currently working on (Tzeitel, Motel, Hodel, Tevye…)
Further Reading: Three Easy First-Day Theatre Games
Photo Credit: Vicki Cocco
Photo Editing: Kerry Hishon