Improvisational theater games for children in park interpretation

TitleImprovisational theater games for children in park interpretation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsE. Macklin, K, Hvenegaard, GT, Johnson, PE
JournalJournal of Interpretation Research
Pagination7 - 13
Date Published2010///
AbstractWith children increasingly disconnected from nature and much interpretation geared toward adults, agencies need age-appropriate techniques for children. Improvisational theater games use group-based role-playing to solve problems through dialogue and activity in a creative, spontaneous, supportive, and interactive atmosphere. This paper highlights children’s enjoyment and perceived learning resulting from a new improvisation program in Banff National Park, Canada.We thematically analyzed open-ended evaluations of an improvisation-dominated program. The activities enjoyed most included improvisation, because they involved fun, physical activity, creativity, challenge, and novelty. The least-enjoyed activities were physical activity games and an interpretive talk. Perceived learning was highest from an interpretive talk and nature walk and least from games focused on physical or group activities. Most perceived and desired learning related to natural history and park management topics. Despite being nontraditional and non-thematic, improvisation can contribute to children’s enjoyment and perceived learning in park interpretive programs.