Becoming a playwright will get your kids writing, it’s a writing activity that engrosses young writers. Kids get to see what they wrote in a live performance and that in itself is very motivating.
Steps to Writing a Play
Pick the characters in your story. We used Christmas toys to get started. JJ wrote a play about (see photo below) a Reindeer, Snowman, Elf, and Santa Claus.
Decide what will happen in your play. What will the characters do? What problem will happen that needs to be solved?
Here’s where the magic happens. My kids wrote their own plays without pausing for a breath practically. They were so excited to write and then see their story performed.
If you have a younger child who is not yet writing, have them dictate to you what to write.
Then, type up the play and make copies for all the actors. (Makes reading easier if you have legibility issues like us.)
Teachable Moments — Pick ONE thing you want to teach. You’ll know it’s time to teach something else when your child has learned and applied that one thing. For instance:
- Teach how to punctuate drama.
I introduced the way in which plays are punctuated. As you can see in JJ’s play below, she did use the colons but it was all smashed together. So, when she started her next play, I suggested starting a new line for each character to make it easier to read.
Here’s how AJ’s first play before I explained the punctuation to her. I didn’t make her do it over, she can just apply the lesson to the next time. If she had to rewrite it, it would kill her enthusiasm and rewriting isn’t necessary.
Now, here’s her second play with the punctuation rules applied.
- Teach conflict and resolution.
- Teach character development.
- Teach how props and actions are indicated in the writing.
- Teach about Acts and Scenes.
- Teach beginning, middle, and end.
- And so on. Find out what your child knows and teach them one new thing that is just above their level, the next step in their understanding.
4. Act Out
The playwright gets to assign parts, who plays what character.
First, you might want to have the characters read through their lines.
Then, get costumes and props.
Do you write plays with your kids or students? What works for you?