Do It Yourself Theater - How to Put on Shows at Home with Your Family

Learn Helpful Tips on How to Create Costumes, Props and More at Home!

By: Jul. 26, 2020

While we may be spending more time at home this summer than we're typically used to, that doesn't mean that summer fun has come to a stop! In fact, it's just the opposite. It may not be business as usual, but finding new ways to create and have fun with the people and things around us has become our new way of life.

While we wait patiently for the time when live theater and large gatherings return once again, it's time to ramp up your creativity, round up your theater-loving family members, and turn your living room/backyard/garage (whatever space you've got!) into your own personal great bright way.

We're sharing helpful tips on ways you can tap into your imagination, use what's available to you, and put on a show at home with your family!

Check out our suggestions below!

Pick The Story

Do you have lots of little kids running around? What about older kids who want to get involved? Are there any future playwrights in the making in your household? Whatever the case may be, the first thing to do when putting on your own show at home is to pick your story. You can go down two routes with this one: Pick an existing story, or create your own! Maybe your family members are big fans of 'Where the Wild Things Are', or 'Charlotte's Web', or 'The Cat in the Hat'. Or maybe a movie is your family's source material of choice - 'Finding Nemo', perhaps, or 'Spy Kids'.

Do It Yourself Theater - How to Put on Shows at Home with Your Family If your source material is a book, you can sit down, pick your characters, and write down each characters' lines that are right there for you, already on the page! Or if there are smaller children in the house, a parental figure or older sibling can also act as the narrator, reading straight from the book while the kids act out the story - no reading or memorizing necessary on the kids' part!

If an original story is more your family's speed, talk it out! What is the story? Who are the characters? Then, get to work on writing it down!

Here is a list of some of the most popular children's books of all time!

Here is a list of the top kids and family movies!

For our original-story creators, check out this helpful plot generator!

Pick The Music For Your At-Home Show

Now, your show doesn't have to be a musical, but it never hurts to add special effects! Does your story involve walking through a forest? Maybe an easy DIY rainstick is in order!

If your family does want to make your show into a musical, below is a helpful, fun video on creating your own musical instruments at home!

Maybe your at-home production of 'Spy Kids' really needs a rendition of 'Livin On A Prayer' at the top of act 1. Or maybe your kids are completely obsessed with 'Frozen'. It's your show, and you pick and choose what songs go into it! Dance break to 'Let it Go, why not? Solo to 'Tomorrow' from Annie? Absolutely.

If you're in need of song ideas...

Check out this list of some of the biggest hits of all time!

Here are some popular songs from musicals that are great for kids!


Every good show needs good costumes! Have you ever put away a Halloween costume and thought to yourself, 'Why am I keeping this, when am I ever going to need this again?' Well, now's your chance! We all have clothes that could use a trip out from the back of our closet. A blouse from decades ago with shoulder pads as big as your head? Now's the time to bring it out! A newsboy cap of grandpa's laying around? Definitely.

And if you need a costume with a little more specificity or pizzazz, check out these helpful video on DIY costumes for kids!

Or maybe you need ideas on color schemes for your fairy tale play...

Check out more ideas for DIY kids costumes here!

Props You Can Find and Create at Home

There are so many household items that can be used as props to help transport you and your family into the world of your show, and make things even more fun for the family!

  • Old blankets and sheets can be used to build a fort, perfect for an adventure tale!
  • Need to travel on a journey? It's as easy as using a laundry basket as a wheel to steer your boat
  • Old pots and pans can be used to create a varying array of sounds
  • Use old tissue boxes or cardboard boxes to build towers and more!

Check out the video below for tips and tricks!

*Bonus! Warm Up Games for Your At-Home Performance

As any theater kid knows, one of the most fun parts of putting on a show is the warm-ups that come before the performance! Zip-Zap-Zop anyone?

How to play Zip-Zap-Zop:


  • Everyone stands in a circle.
  • The player to go first claps their hands and says "Zip" and points at another player in the circle
  • The player that was pointed at must immediately clap and point at someone else in the circle (which could include the previous player!) and say "Zap".
  • The next player continues the patter, this time using the word "Zop".
  • The pattern repeats, "Zip", "Zap," "Zop," "Zip", "Zap", "Zop"
  • If there is any hesitation or a player says the wrong word, they're out!

Or maybe, tongue twisters are your warm-up of choice!

  • Unique New York
  • Red Leather, Yellow Leather
  • A proper copper coffee pot
  • Toy boat. Toy boat. Toy boat
  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
    If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
  • The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue, the toes with tips to tickle

Check out a list of kids acting games here

and here...

and here!

And remember, whatever you do, be sure to stay safe and have fun!


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