Middle schoolers improvise at Wellesley Library

Two actors react to one of the props used in a drama game. Photos by Daniel Curtin

By Daniel Curtin
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Middle-school-aged kids were thinking outside the box at the Wellesley Library as they played different improv games last Thursday evening.

Children’s Librarian Emma Caywood lead the kids in different improv games that gave them a chance to test their quick thinking skills - and to express themselves in a creative way.

Caywood, who studied theatre at Northwestern, knows there are valuable skills that improv games can help foster.

“If you talk to most people, they fear public speaking more than they fear death. That’s a problem,” said Caywood. “When it comes to improv games, [it helps with] out-of-the-box thinking, spontaneity, and the ability to be comfortable in front of crowds.”

One of the games that the middle schoolers played involved passing around several different objects and coming up with different things the object could be without repeating the same idea. A small yellow stool ended up being used as a steering wheel, a hair curler, and a dumbbell, among many other imaginative uses.

Another of the games, called “bus stop,” had the kids coming up with different characters on the spot. The students had to react as new characters arrived at the bus stop, perpetually changing the scene dynamics.

Erin Bassler, who also works at the library and took part in the drama games, saw that the activity offers kids a chance to have fun in a judgement-free zone. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for kids to not feel silly about being silly,” she said.

Caywood believes that the skills learned through creative expression can help with the many challenges that come along with growing up.

“I think it’s so important, when the kids are young, to get them just comfortable with their body and space - especially in middle school when everything is forcing them to be uncomfortable,” Caywood said.

Improv games will be held for middle-school-aged kids again at the Wellesley library on Thursday, August 9, and Thursday, August 23.

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