February 2023 Newsletter – Exploring Art with Children: Performance Art

Performance Art Activity Ideas

Performance art involves a person or group of people delivering or presenting a work of art using their bodies and/or voices. It includes acting, dancing, and music that is performed for an audience.

Your days are likely full of singing and dancing. Information has been passed down from generation to generation using these forms of performance art. Below is a list of just a few performance art activity ideas that you can use to enhance this area of your curriculum.

Keep in mind that children should take the lead in bringing these activities to life. Some of these activities may not be appropriate for younger children and adult support will be needed for most of these activities.

  • Encourage children to participate in theater activities. At first, children may only act out parts of familiar stories. As they become more skilled, they may enjoy putting on longer plays or even developing their own. The book by Vivian Paley, The Boy Who Would be a Helicopter, paints a wonderful picture of how this practice can be structured with young children. Children can also use puppets or felt figures to act out their favorite stories.
  • Some children enjoy making up new lyrics to songs. Show children how they could match different words to familiar melodies. You may be surprised how easily children come up with their own songs, too. This activity can be incorporated into a lesson about rhyming words.
  • Similar to creating songs, some children love to dance and make up new moves! Exploring styles of dance from around the world is a fun way to expose children to different cultures. Even if the children don’t perfect all of the formal dance steps, they can recognize differences in the styles of music from different parts of the world. They can identify the tempo of the songs and intuitively move their bodies to the rhythm of the music. Older children may want to create their own choreography and perform their original dance for other classrooms.
  • Children love playing with instruments. Encourage children to play along with songs from around the world. See if they can match the beat of the music with the classroom instruments, even if they don’t have access to the actual instruments used in the songs. Here is a resource for finding music from different cultures.  Again, have conversations about how the music makes them feel and the similarities and differences between the styles of music.
  • Children can practice their mime skills through simple games like charades. Watch videos of mimes performing and see how many of the activities the children can identify. Ask them how they know that the mime is opening the door or washing the dishes. Encourage them to practice these skills as they play games of acting out familiar tasks. As their skills improve, the actions can become more advanced. Children can act out what a robot would look like if they were flying. The guessers would need to guess both elements (robot and flying).
  • If the interest is there, teachers can engage children in producing short video recordings that are designed to entertain or inform. This would require children to collaborate on a theme, script, costumes, and the actual work of performing and recording the video. Children could plan a premier for families to showcase the videos they have created.
  • Older children may be interested in learning how to do magic tricks, tell jokes like a comedian, or perform poetry readings in a dramatic fashion. These activities may not appeal to all children so it is important to follow the children’s lead when exploring these types of performance art.


For the main article Exploring Art with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Fine Art Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE

For the article Applied Art Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE

For the article Literary Art Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE