Grandma’s Closet | Drama and ESL Game for Great Imaginations

Grandma’s Closet is a favourite drama game across all age groups and encourages creative thinking. It is safe to play while social distancing and virtually.

COVID-19 Update!
Mark a space for your students to stand when making their objects to ensure they remain two metres apart. This is a perfect game for social distancing!

Instructions

  • Ask students to find a space in the room.
  • Using your best grandma or grandpa voice, tell the students ‘In my closet, there is…’ and finish the sentence with an object of your choice.
  • Independently, students should create the selected object using just their body.
  • The teacher then investigates all of the objects and decides which is the best or ‘their object’. Try to choose someone who has thought outside the box.
  • The selected player then becomes the grandma or grandpa for the next round.

Top tips:

  • Try to continue the game until everyone has had a chance to be grandma.
  • To encourage inclusion in larger groups, only allow students to choose a player who has not already had a chance to be grandma.

In my experience:

Grandma’s Closet has always been a favourite game for many of my students.

When directing one of my first preschool shows, I used this game to introduce tableaus in a simple form to the students. By creating objects in each scene, the students were engaged and active througout the show and ultimately, it was a more enjoyable experience for the audience.

I have since been using this game as a tool for blocking a performance with a variety of age groups and it has yet to let me down!

Years after my tableau discovery, I found another use for the game! In my TEFL/ESL classes I began to use the game to test vocabulary. When the students physically have to create the word, they’re less likely to forget it!

In-my-closet-there-is...
Grandma’s closet is a favourite drama game of many students and encourages out of the box thinking.

I have found it to be a fun and effective way of teaching vocabulary and have even had success using this method with teens.

More recently, I was delighted to see the ingenious ways my students adapted their ideas for technology when playing via Zoom. When our grandpa said that he would like to see worms, one young student stepped out of shot and wiggled his finger in front of the character. It was such a creative use of the technology for a six-year-old and inspired many of the children to think differently in future games.

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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