Drama therapy for kids is an excellent tool for parents and teachers alike. Teaching children to be aware of others’ feelings can help them to make friends and gain respect from others.
Some of the ways we can develop children’s emotional intelligence is through drama therapy and showing them how it feels to stand in someone else’s shoes. This can be achieved in the following ways:
1) Put a different colored piece of paper in four corners of the room. Get children to line up and give them a color related to one of those pieces of paper. Leave one child out by giving them a different color entirely, be sure that the child is confident enough to cope with this by talking to them beforehand about the task.
Get the rest of the children to gather into their different groups. You can then tell the remaining student to get into his group. Drag it out so that the other children will start to think about the child that’s been left out, and hopefully one will say, “He can join our group!”
2) Ask the children to work in small groups about how to recognize what others are feeling. Talk to them about visible signs of how people are feeling; happiness (smiles), unhappiness (frowns). Ask them if they have ever really seen someone frown.
Explain that people who feel unhappy don’t always wear a frown, their faces are just normal; also explain that people who feel happy don’t always wear a smile – so how do we know how someone feels inside?
3) In small groups, ask the kids to try and work out a role-play situation where someone is being picked on, or treated unkindly or bullied. Ask them to think about how they would feel in that situation and what they should do if they wanted to be a friend.
4) Give each child a sheet of plain paper, and tell them they can do whatever they want to it. They can write on it, draw, scribble, call it mean things. They can stamp on it, jump on it; kick it. They can scrunch it up into a ball if they want and boot it around the room. After they have finished doing whatever it is they are doing.
Ask them to think about the person they love most in the world, whether it’s their mother or father, or best friend. Tell them that this sheet of paper they’ve been scribbling on is that person and they have to apologize.
After they’ve apologized, ask them to get their sheet of paper and look at it. Ask them if that apology has made everything alright.
If a child agrees that the apology has made everything better, ask them to look at the sheet of paper again. Is every boot print, every crease made in the paper better?
Can they get a rubber and rub out all the scribbles and mean things they might have said? Explain that an apology doesn’t fix everything, that some things can really wound others and damage them emotionally. This is a great form of drama therapy that I have found really works and helps children understand!
5) Everyone is different… Ask the kids to get into small groups. See if they can come up with activities or hobbies that everyone in their group likes. Regroup then go through the groups and see what they have found out about what they all like.
Now, get them to go back into their groups and find out if anyone has an hobbies or stuff that they like that no one else in their group does. Regroup and see what differences they have. Explain that everybody is different.
We all like different things, we all have our own personal tastes – and this is how it should be. There are no wrong answers. This type of drama therapy builds up tolerancein children.
6) Speak to the kids as a group. Ask one child to suggest a particular type of music; ask another to suggest a TV show; ask yet another to suggest a particular type of sport or football team.
Tell the children that they have to use this particular set of circumstances to create a sketch of people getting to know each other, and then separate them into small groups in order to carry it out.
Hopefully, by the time you’ve all watched the second or third sketch, the results will be clear and very similar. Everyone being the same is boring.
Drama is a fantastic tool to use with kids -its fun and entertaining but lots of great messages can be passed on to the kids at the same time! These ideas can help all kinds of little ones to develop and build their emotional intelligence.