Drama involves children acting out situations, facts, personal experiences, stories and ideas. When children are involved in drama, they think about the person they are portraying. By discussing the feelings of that person and other background events, children learn to put themselves into the "shoes" of others.
Dramatic presentations help Bible stories come alive for children. It provides another avenue for learning and sharing about God for children who are kinesthetic learners. As children dramatize the life of a missionary, they begin to understand the hardships and commitment involved. Drama helps children apply Bible truths to their own lives as they dramatize the way God would have them act in given situations. Role-playing situations help children discuss possible consequences and solutions to problems.
Here are 4 ways to use drama to teach the Bible.
In a monologue, a child "becomes'' another person and speaks from that person's point of view. Monologues help children learn about the life and work of other people. Based on research about the Bible person, missionary or church helper, the child gives a first-person account. The monologue may be read aloud very simply or can be made more elaborate with props and costumes.
Picture posing is a very simple form of drama and effective way to introduce drama to children. Very few materials are needed for picture posing - simply a picture and children to pose it. Unit teaching pictures are excellent for picture posing. Children pretend to be the characters in the picture and imitate their expressions and stances. When a teacher gives the signal, the children involved hold the pose for a few seconds. Thought and discussion about the picture are encouraged through questioning as children prepare for picture posing.
Pantomime is drama without words. Boys and girls act out situations, Bible stories, and ways to apply the Bible verse. An adult can serve as a narrator and read the Bible story as the children act it out silently. Costumes are not necessary, although children may decide to include simple props and costumes. Choose stories to pantomime that involve a lot of movement and action. For example, Jesus feeding the multitude could involve several children in pantomime. Other ideas for pantomime would include dramatizing choice-making situations, mission stories, jobs of church helpers, and a church worship service.
Role playing is a spontaneous drama based on a Bible story or specific situation or problem under discussion. Children take on the roles of the characters and act out the story. No scripts or costumes are necessary as children work in an impromptu manner. Through role play, children learn to understand the feelings of others and to apply Christian beliefs in various situations. Role play also can be used to introduce or to review a Bible story, to bring family issues up for discussion, and to show the consequences of different types of behavior.