Five ways to develop drama skills

The benefits of drama for young children are clear. So how do you go about introducing drama to children in the EYFS? It's probably easier than you think, and you don't have to be trained in drama or have any specific skills. A sense of fun and a desire to imagine and pretend is all you really need. If you can pull a funny face to make a child laugh or put on different voices when reading a story (and what early years professional can't!?), then you can 'do drama' with early years children. After all, drama is just another word for play!

1. Tell a story, dramatically!
You don’t have to be a trained performer or skilled actor to tell stories dramatically – anyone can do it, and it’s a fantastic way to bring characters and stories to life in a child’s imagination, and to encourage them to become more expressive readers. When reading a story to a child, try using different voices for each character and model the character’s tone of voice and facial expressions. You can also pause the story to ask critical questions about the characters, e.g., 'Can you show me what his face looked like when he fell down the stairs?’ or, 'What do you think his voice sounded like when he was upset?' Children learn firstly by observing and then by doing, so don’t be afraid to lose yourself in a story and model these dramatic skills for the children in your early years setting.
2. Sing together
Music is an expression of emotions, so singing with young children is the most natural way to explore the world with each other. As an early years practitioner, you don't need to have the gift of a wonderful voice for children to enjoy singing with you and to benefit from it. Pop some music on and find songs that you and the children in your class can learn together. You can download ten of our original tracks for free, and watch a range of our original music videos for free too. All of our Pyjama Drama Learning songs are sung by either co-founder Sarah Owen, her brother-in-law Dan Lee, and sometimes one or two of our co-founders children too! None of us are professional singers by any stretch (as you'll hear!), but we love singing with children and recognise the educational benefits of it.
3. Play!
All children love playing games, never more so when playing with Mum, Dad or someone they care about. Drama games which encourage the early years children to take on a role, or deliver a simple script, are best for developing drama skills and are also great fun. Why not download a pack of original games for free today?
4. Role play
Many young children have an innate imagination while in some, it requires a little gentle nurturing. Setting up opportunities for children to role play can be extremely beneficial for fostering drama skills, specifically for developing the imagination, and doesn’t necessarily require the use of expensive equipment or costume. With a little imagination, a blanket over the kitchen table can be a spaceship, the bedroom floor a place for a teddy bear's picnic, and a tea towel makes a perfect nurse's hat! By gaining a little confidence and learning a few of our Pyjama Drama tried and tested techniques, you'll soon find that your EYFS role play area truly comes to life, and that the learning experienced by children is boosted.
5. Live theatre
Exposing children to live performance from an early age can go a long way to develop their drama skills and doesn’t have to be a costly experience; local amateur dramatic groups often produce theatre of a very high standard for example as do local schools. The experiential nature of live theatre engages children in a way that television cannot hope to do and is a shared experience for families to enjoy together.