Introduction to Children’s Theatre

Lesson #1 – Introduction to Children’s Theatre



Students will demonstrate their ability to work together and decide upon a general CT topic by developing a theme and title for their own CT performance.



5 or 6 white board markers or chalk

Strips of paper



Have students close their eyes and imagine themselves as 1st graders (6 years old.) Guide their memory with these and/or other questions:

  • What was your favorite toy?
  • What was your favorite activity?
  • Who was your best friend?
  • Watch yourself play – Allow the child in your head to freely make choices. What is your six-year-old self doing?
  • Who was your hero?
  • What was your favorite story?

Have students open their eyes.  Without talking out loud about their mental journey into the past, have each student come to the board and write one to three words that expresses their childhood. (5 or 6 at a time depending on how many markers are available)



Have students look at the board.  What ideas are connected?  Circle words the students find interesting. Erase duplicating ideas.  Allow students to discuss why the items on the board are important to younger children.



Hand out five strips of paper to each student and have him/her write down three to five children’s books or stories that has come to mind or that they loved when they were young.  Have them fold the strips and place into a container as the teacher walks around the room.



Call for two volunteers.  Have each of them choose a strip of paper.  The title of the story on the paper will be the basis of their improv character.  They are not allowed to say the name of the book or any character in it, but they must make choices based on the title.   Even if they do not know the story, the title will act as clues to their choices.  The class will then start a game of FREEZE.  When someone calls freeze, he/she will take a strip of paper using a new story title to start the next scene after they have tapped out one of the actors.



Explain to the students that they played Freeze with titles of children’s stories to help them remember and get the ideas flowing so as a class, we can now decide on a theme/topic for our Children’s Theatre performance. Explain there must be a theme.  They can either choose an author like Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstien, Hans Christen Andersen, or an idea, like Animal stories, Princess stories, Fairytales, etc.


Erase the board and start a new list of ideas for titles.  Tell the students some of the titles from past years titles to help them understand the type of title they need to create:  Shades of Shel Silverstein; A Fistful of Fairytales; Dr. Seuss, Out of the Hat; Red White and Seuss; Bedtime Favorites; Magic, Monsters and More; Princesses; Animal Tales; An Afternoon with Andersen (Hans Christen).


Write down all the ideas the students shout out.



Start to narrow the list having students decide which titles should stay on the board. When there are around three titles left, have students actually vote for the favorite. Once a title has been voted on and secured, erase all other titles and write the final title in large lettering on the Board.



Explain homework assignment: Students must bring at least two children’s story books to the next class period that fits the theme.  It will be worth 20 points to have the actual books or hard copy from the internet with them.  They will get NO POINTS for just having an idea in their head; they must show the book to get the points.



Students can be assessed by having created an actual theme and title for the pending elementary performances.  These can be used to create advertising for the performances.