Public speaking and debate are essential skills for kids to learn and master from a young age. These skills are used throughout a person’s academic and work life. Whether standing in front of a class to present a report or simply interacting with their peers, public speaking is integrated into everything we do in one way or another.
Encouraging your child to participate in public speaking activities builds communication skills and fosters leadership, creativity, preparedness, organization, and most importantly, confidence, which is the foundation of effective public speaking.
Students who attended an eight-week Youth Leadership program focusing on public speaking hosted by the Toastmasters Club reported that learning how to give speeches properly was fun and made them feel important.
Even the parents noticed a difference, stating, “Learning to speak in public built [my child’s] communication skills and confidence and enabled them to develop charisma and capture attention. They volunteer all the time for tasks that require leadership roles and easily work with groups, organizing other children and communicating what needs to be done."
While teaching public speaking may seem like a daunting task, there are ways to make it fun and interactive. In this article, you will learn three fun public speaking activities to try with your child. Check them out below!
Public Speaking Activity #1: Make a Game Out of It
There are a lot of fun and engaging games for kids to help develop their public speaking skills. Plus, joining in is a great way to spend quality time together! Here are a few you can try:
- Story Time With Cards: On index cards, write the names of people, places, and things. Then shuffle and mix the cards. Have your child choose two cards from the stack and prompt them to tell a story that connects their two selections. This will help your child get more comfortable with thinking on their feet. And, as they get better, you can make the game more advanced and have them pick 3-4 cards at once!
- Interview An Expert: Write down topics on individual pieces of paper – they can be as serious or as fun as you wish. Place them into a bowl or bag and randomly pick out a topic. Have your child play the interviewer with you, a grandparent, sibling, or friend as the “expert.” Then, let them conduct an interview.
- Observe the Journey: While on a walk, driving, or even at home, ask your child to describe as much of their surroundings as they possibly can in one minute. Encourage them to think about all the senses, from shapes and colors to sounds and smells. As you continue playing this game, your child will begin to speak more clearly and confidently while allowing them to hone their observation skills.
Public Speaking Activity #2: Watch Inspiring TED Talks or Movies
TED Talks and movies are excellent resources for public speaking and debate. They offer thousands of options on a host of topics. The idea is to have your child watch several videos or movies with speech scenes and have them take notes about what they liked and didn’t like. It will help them model their efforts on what they enjoyed while learning what to avoid, such as using vocal fillers like “um” or “uh” too many times. And when it’s time for them to write their speech or presentation, they’ll feel more confident and well equipped to do so.
Are you looking for some great TED Talk videos presented by kids? Check out these suggestions.
Public Speaking Activity #3: Host a Mock Speech
This is one of the best public speaking activities for kids to do – it’s all about practice, practice, practice! The more preparation your child has with public speaking, the better they will get at their delivery. Plus, doing it in front of family members will feel less intimidating, and you can provide kind feedback.
A great tip is to have your child pick a topic they’re already passionate about; they will already feel more comfortable and may find speaking comes more naturally. Here are a few topics your child can choose from:
- My favorite song
- The most delicious meal I’ve ever eaten
- Things I would say if I could talk to animals
- My biggest birthday wishes
- The coolest superhero powers
- Why I love my parents
Public speaking and debate are vital skills for children to learn. With the right activities, kids can easily lose their fear of public speaking when at a young age, turning into confident, natural speakers. But remember, becoming an excellent public speaker takes time, effort, and encouragement.
At Ivy Camps USA, we will ensure your child builds the foundations of effective public speaking that foster confidence, creativity, and leadership. With the guidance of our Ivy League instructors, students will learn about body language, methods for overcoming fears, strategies for supporting arguments, how to pace a speech, and much more!