Encourage your child’s creative side with dramatic play and acting!

Dramatic play and acting are excellent ways for kids of all ages to develop intellectually, hone social-emotional skills, and learn about their body through movement, dance or gesture. From acting out common-place situations to fantastical storylines, dramatic play creates opportunities for children to role play and explore the world around them in individual, partnered or group performance.

It’s also a great way to include the entire family. By joining in, we help build our kids’ confidence, model empathy, and provide them with a way to express their ideas and feelings in their own voice. And as children grow and develop, their experiences with pretend play and acting can grow into an appreciation, or even a passion, for the dramatic arts.

Learn more and act it out with the games, activities and engaging videos below!

Then, next week, explore acting and dramatic play with Clifford the Big Red Dog and Arthur on PBS Kids 24/7. And keep playing and learning with our Learn Along Bingo.

Jump to article sections:


The Value of Dramatic Play & Acting

7 Ways for Kids to Learn Empathy Through Acting

Although acting may just seem like a fun game to your kids, it’s also giving them amazing practice at understanding emotions and developing empathy.

Making More Time for Imaginary Play

Imaginary play is one of the hallmarks of childhood, and it’s more than fun and games: Pretend play boasts important benefits when it comes to child development.

The Superhero Solution: How Make-Believe Boosts Kids’ Perseverance

Perseverance is a really important character trait. It’s one of those life tools that helps kids become strong in other ways. Learn about how make-believe play can boost kids’ perseverance with this article from PBS Parents.


Games, Activities & More

Pretend Play at Home

Grades PreK-K
Check out these ideas and materials for you and your child to have fun with when you’re encouraging pretend play at home.

Play Pretend: Encouraging Your Little Chef

Grades PreK-K
While we typically think about following specific recipes when we cook or bake, making food is an art as much as it is a science! Use this activity to get your child thinking about how food is prepared and how fun it can be.

Learning to Resolve Conflicts with Role Play

Grades PreK-K
Help your child learn about strategies to resolve conflicts with a creative, role playing exercise.

Great Unicorn Challenge

Grades PreK-1
Pinkalicious shares the joy of dramatic play in this video clip from Pinkalicious and Peterrific. Watch her creativity and imagination transform an ordinary backyard into an enchanted land. Then, your kids can create their own stories using the Tell Me a Story Activity. Try acting out your child’s story with them for more fun!

Costume Box Game

Grades PreK-2
Children love to dress up when they play pretend. In this game, your child can choose costumes and props for all their favorite friends from Peg + Cat. You might even earn a rock or two!

Put on a Folktale Play

Grades PreK-4
Listening to folktales from around the world can help your child begin to understand cultures that are different from their own. And acting out these stories allows your child to think in another character’s shoes — building empathy!

Mini Pencil Puppet Theater

Grades K-4
Making tiny puppets is a fantastic craft project for kids of all ages! You can easily make them (and a tiny theater too) with a few simple materials.

Theater Warm-Up Games | Ford’s Theatre

Grades K-12
Energize your class, or household, for learning and performance! These games and vocal warm-ups get everyone moving, thinking creatively and working together.


Learn About the Dramatic Arts

Children’s Theater Field Trip

Grades PreK-3
Learn how to take the stage at the Ft. Lauderdale Children’s Theater. Practice using body language, play in the prop room, try on amazing costumes, and act out The Three Little Pigs.

Dramatic Structure | Artsville

Grades 4-8
Some budding actors and actresses are performing “The Three Little Pigs” for Artsville’s youngest residents. Learn how dramatic structure gives shape to their story.

Drama Arts Toolkit Glossary

Grades 4-12
Want to learn the A-B-C’s of acting? Check out this handy glossary of commonly used drama arts terms and vocabulary.

History of Theater

Grades 4-12
Instructor Elizabeth Jewell discusses the history of theater from ancient Greece to the 20th century. She covers the Greek development of the stage, the Roman contribution of pantomime, the processionals of the Middle Ages, commedia dell’arte, Shakespeare, 17th century French comedy, and the contributions of Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov to the modernization of theater.

Advice for Pursuing a Career in the Theater | Treasures of New York: “The Drama League”

Grades 6-12
Pursuing a career in the theater can seem intimidating and overwhelming. In this video from Treasures of New York: The Drama League, students receive advice from, and are inspired by the words of, successful theater professionals like director Diane Paulus and actress Judith Light.


Learn Along Bingo

With Learn Along Bingo, children can view, explore, and play as they learn alongside their PBS Kids friends on the PBS Kids 24/7 channel. We hope your family will use it to inspire learning each and every day.

Next week, explore how dramatic play helps us to develop language and communication skills as we learn about the world and those in it!

Grades PreK-K

Tune in: Watch Clifford the Big Red Dog at 9:30 AM on Tuesday, January 12th.

Play & Learn: In this packet, there are printable activities and everyday learning ideas for you and your child to choose from. As you complete each square, mark it off to celebrate the learning!

Grades 1-2

Tune in: Watch Arthur at 1 PM on Tuesday, January 12th.

Play & Learn: In this packet, there are printable activities and everyday learning ideas for you and your child to choose from. As you complete each square, mark it off to celebrate the learning!


For even more games and educational resources for young learners, go to the Act It Out: Dramatic Play for Kids Collection on PBS Kids for Parents.