It's another Saturday afternoon at The Second City. There's an almost non-stop stream of laughter ringing through the halls. Kids are running around their classroom room pretending to be animals, falling on the ground, and getting up laughing. Trying out different characters and scenes and coming up with creative new ideas. The vibe in the room is one of pure fun. But, there’s more than just a good time going on, the kids are learning invaluable skills like how to take turns speaking in a group setting, how to collaborate with others, and most importantly, how to think on their feet!
Learning Through Play
One of my favorite things about improv class is that it encourages children to learn through playing. Improv is a fun and engaging activity that inspires kids to be creative, spontaneous, and silly. Through theatre games and exercises, children can explore their imagination and, along the way, learn important life skills like communication and teamwork. Children may not even realize that they are learning while they are playing!
Improv requires participants to think on their feet and be fearless in exploring new ideas. As kids become more comfortable with improvising, they will also become more confident in their ability to take risks and communicate their ideas clearly while still having an open mind. Improv class also teaches kids that their voice and ideas are worth sharing. Because they are learning to “Yes, and..” each other’s offers, shy kids are given room to come out of their shells, open up, and have a great time!
Developing Positive Social Skills
Improv, unlike stand-up comedy, is a social activity. It requires a group effort to create. Because of this, children learn to develop healthy social skills. They learn to actively listen to their peers and respond in a way that is supportive and collaborative. We’ve all seen it, sometimes someone at work likes to take over a project without regard for anyone else. On the flip-side there are people who are too shy or insecure to present their opinions/ideas to anyone but their diary. There’s a saying in improv: “Bring a brick, not a skyscraper.” This attitude encourages kids to bring their imagination to the group without completely taking over. It teaches them to contribute and communicate in a healthy way.
Creative Problem Solving
Improv exercises often require children to think “outside the box” and come up with creative solutions to problems. As children learn and practice the games in class, they will intuitively become more adept at solving problems in innovative ways.
Adaptability and Teamwork
Improv requires participants to be flexible and respond to surprises and changes in the moment. Kids learn to be adaptable in the face of unexpected situations, which will help them to navigate life's challenges more effectively. Additionally, improvising characters and scenes requires teamwork and collaboration, which helps children learn to be respectful of others' ideas and to work together towards a common goal.
Improv is FUN!
Let’s be honest, the world can be a confusing and scary place. Improv teaches us to be brave and how to have fun doing it! In improv class, kids get to play, explore, and be silly in an encouraging and supportive environment. Improv classes can be an excellent way for children to blow off steam, build new friendships, and find joy in being creative.