Making it Rain at Camp!
December 27, 2018
Rainy days at camp are a source of consternation and dread for almost every member of summer camp staff, from the director down to the junior counselors. How do we keep everyone happily occupied in limited cramped indoor space when kids (and counselors!) are used to running around outside all day?
For theater specialists directing plays, rainy days at camp can pose a particular issue, as they often mean the cancellation or severe disruption of a rehearsal schedule or a planned theater activity. However, rainy days don't have to spell doom and gloom for you. With a little planning and a slight mentality adjustment, you can lift cloudy spirits for yourself and your campers!
Rainy tip #1: Change YOUR mentality.
It's easy to get caught up bemoaning lost rehearsal time and forget the positives that come from a change of pace. The different rainy day schedule provides a unique opportunity for you to get to know your campers in new ways. It also switches up the usual routine, which might become boring to campers after several weeks. You might be surprised how a cloudburst can blow new life into week 6 or 7.
Rainy tip #2: Make it Special!
Designate certain games as special "rainy day only" activities, and set yourself up for success by referencing them to your campers well in advance: i.e. "Oh, I love that game! But we'll have to wait for a rainy day-- I only play it with campers when it rains." If you need suggestions for activities, check out our searchable theater games database on the ImprovExpert App or see below for my top suggestions!
Rainy tip #3: Bring in Surprise Specialty Workshops
If you have a make-up or costume design workshop in your repertoire, rainy days are the perfect opportunity to bust them out. Campers love anything to do with face paint, and no child ever scoffed at paper and markers. Best of all, these workshops can be done in most indoor spaces, even if you are sharing the spaces with other groups!
Rainy Day Games
Have questions about a specific game? Check out the ImprovExpert App for more details on game rules, etc.
Also known as “honey if you love me, will you please, please smile,” this straight face-splitting game will have kids rolling on the floor laughing, while simultaneously encouraging them to practice the art of staying in character on stage.
A version of the classic table-top game, this lifesize guessing game will have people flipping. Campers will all want to take turns narrowing down their fellow campers to discover the person who is “it”—before they run out of guesses!
Campers will collaborate to create a ridiculous, over-the-top story using one camper sentence at a time.
“Get off the seat! Now! Please!” Also known as the ultimate exercise in goal, obstacle, and tactics, this game features two campers at a time locked in conflict. Interactive audience assistance and love of a good battle of interests will keep everyone engaged . . . and of course everyone will want a turn on the bus stop bench!
Want a way to incorporate your show into rainy day activities when you don’t have rehearsal space to actually practice? Host your own Talk Show, complete with guests from the musical you’re rehearsing. Every camper has the opportunity to be interviewed and practice using their character’s mentality to answer questions posed by the rest of the camper audience.
A zany, fast-paced ride that propels everyone through a whirlwind of emotions. Campers take turns climbing into a magical taxi that infects everyone inside with the emotional state of the person who last entered. In the end, everyone must guess the unique emotion of every taxi rider.
Big, Bigger, Biggest
Run the range of character in this game of extremes which challenges kids to turn their characterizations up a notch. Instruct a round of five kids to all adopt the same character statement (i.e. “I’m the cutest kid in the world) and then challenge them to one-up each other as they pass the sentence down the line. How over-the-top can they get?
Climb in the chair and be challenged to answer true/false and simple arithmetic questions, while mirroring the body movements of a person standing opposite. This crazy test of focus and multitasking will captivate the entire group—and every camper will want a turn on the hot seat!
Why Are You Late?
This hysterical improv game dissolves into guesswork as a camper attempts to explain tardiness to their theater specialist using the mimed excuse of their classmates. The camper will have to be clever to pick up the cues, and classmates will have to be careful not to get caught in this side-splitting mimed adventure.