Magic Rocks | Drama Game for Basic Characterisation

Magic Rocks is a great drama game to get students out of their shell (or rock) and thinking about the basics of acting.

We decided to share it in celebration of a successful Prague Youth Theatre Tots trial, using our zoo themed introductory drama lesson plan.

It’s one of our favourite preschool games and is safe to play while social distancing or teaching virtually.

COVID-19 Update!
To encourage social distancing, mark a spot on the floor for the students to be rocks. When they transform into animals they can remain on their spot and work to show the animal through their face and position.


  • Ask students to curl up on the floor as a ‘magic rock’.
  • When the teacher calls out an animal, the students should get up and walk around that space like the chosen animal.
  • When the teacher calls ‘magic rocks’, the students should return to their position on the floor.
  • After a few rounds ask the students to start thinking of the different animals.

Teacher tips:

  • With younger children the teacher should join in with the animal acting to make the students feel more confident. Don’t be afraid to look foolish; you will!
  • Use this game in conjunction with Exemplary Animals to lay the foundation of appropriate classroom behaviour.

In my experience

Magic Rocks is a fantastic drama game for characterisation and can even be incorporated into preschool shows.

I changed the signal to return to the floor from calling ‘magic rocks’ to a different sound cue. One child would announce the animals and the others would move around the space as that animal until the sounds signal was given.

This was a really smooth way to have the children show their best acting skills without becoming over excited and this section of the show becoming messy and overlong.

This activity is part of our ‘A Day at the Zoo’ drama lesson plan for ages 3-6. Available to UK readers and USA readers.

Need help keeping your students socially distant? Try marking a space using the following:

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Rebecca is the founder and chief executive officer of Silly Fish Learning Ltd. She is a children's playwright with a vast and varied career in education, primarily teaching drama and English.

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