11 Talent Show Ideas for Kids
What Should I Do for the Talent Show?
This is a question kids ask themselves, their parents, and their friends every year when it's time for their school talent show. The talent show is the perfect opportunity to strut your stuff in front of all your friends and teachers, and show them just what you’ve got. However, it can be difficult to come up with just the right act. If you need a few ideas, you’ve come to the right place. From the obvious to the original, you’ll find plenty of choices here.
Idea 1: Show Off the Skill You Already Practice
If you’ve been taking performance lessons of any kind, such as acting, singing, dancing, gymnastics, or playing a musical instrument, then you’re all set with an excellent stage act. You’ve been working hard on your lessons, so now’s the time to show off! Ask your instructor for some specific ideas, or use your recital or performance piece. If several kids from your school also take lessons from your instructor, the teacher may be willing to put together an ensemble act for you.
A note on performing a gymnastics routine: Make sure your school’s stage is large enough and safe enough to perform your routine. You may need to put down mats, or ask the teachers in charge of the talent show if you can perform your routine on the floor just in front of the stage. Get your parents, teachers, and maybe even your gymnastics coach involved to make sure the stage is large enough and safe enough, and to make sure you have the proper equipment.
Idea 2: Do the Thing You Wish You Practiced
If you haven’t been taking lessons but have your heart set on singing, dancing or acting, go for it. The key to success when you haven’t been preparing with a teacher is to choose your song, dance, or monologue carefully so that it fits your skill level well. (Here are some songs that work well for kids in talent shows.)
Practice like crazy—and ask friends, parents and family members for their honest opinions. Don’t get mad if their feedback isn’t completely positive. Use any criticism you receive to improve your act.
Idea 3: Karate
Although karate isn’t typically a stage act, it’s exciting to watch and makes a great addition to a talent show. If you know karate, put together a routine of your favorite moves. Write out the order of your routine on paper, then practice it and memorize it. You’ll get the most dramatic effect if you start out with the easiest moves and progress to the tougher, more impressive moves. Breaking a board with a chop or a kick is an awesome grand finale. Wear your gi and your belt. If you like, go up to the mike before each move and tell the audience the move’s name, and give them a brief description of why and how it is used. Although karate isn’t typically set to music, you might choose to play some for a more dramatic effect and to fill any awkward silences.
Idea 4: Drawing and Painting
If your favorite talent is art, take it to the talent show and create a painting or drawing on the stage, right in front of the audience members’ eyes. The key is to get the largest canvas or paper you can possibly find, and have a spotlight put on it so that it can be seen easily by the audience. Choose a picture to paint or draw, and practice the picture several times at home. Time how long it takes you to finish your practice pictures to make sure you can finish your chosen picture quickly, but still do a great job on it. On the night of the show, angle your easel so that the audience can see it, and try not to block the audience’s view of the canvas with your body while you’re drawing or painting. Again, music adds drama and excitement, and fills any awkward silences. When you’re finished, turn the easel to the audience, stand back, smile, and take a big bow.
Idea 5: Magic Act
Magic acts are a talent show classic. Your local magic shop can recommend tricks that are easy to master and don’t require lots of expensive equipment. Practice and experiment with tricks until you’ve mastered them and can pull them off with confidence. Costumes, music and an assistant add to the overall quality of the act. Your costume doesn’t have to be fancy, but make sure you have at least a top hat and a cape, even if it’s a blanket tied around your neck and a cardboard top hat left over from New Year’s Eve.
Idea 6: Pogo Stick Routine
My own son made up a pogo stick routine for his school’s talent show last year, and he brought the house down. He loves his pogo stick and had already mastered straight-on jumping. It didn’t take him long to come up with a few more tricks, which gave him enough material for a routine. He started off simply, jumping slalom-style from side to side, and then spun in a circle while jumping. A few trickier things he added in were jumping over a cardboard box and pogoing while bouncing a basketball. He also (very briefly) juggled three small foam balls while jumping on the pogo stick, and for the grand finale jumped rope on the pogo stick. It looked difficult and impressed the crowd, yet was actually pretty easy and didn’t take him long to throw the act together.
Choreographing this act to a fun popular song adds to the entertainment factor.
Idea 7: Yo-Yo Routine
A yo-yo act is something really unique and entertaining. Yo-yoing is something not many people do these days, so the audience will be interested in seeing your tricks. If you’re an ace yo-yo artist, put together a routine of your best tricks, set it to music and show your stuff.
If you're not already a yo-yo pro, you may be able to learn some great tricks in time for the talent show. Don't wait until the last minute, though. Some tricks are quite difficult and take plenty of practice.
Idea 8: Jump Rope Act
Jumping rope is something most people can do, but when you make up a cool routine and set it to hip-hop or pop music, it becomes a great talent show act. It’s also something that works well with a group, so ask some friends to do it with you. Practice your routine on your school’s stage as much as possible, to make sure there’s room for all that rope swinging. Fancy costumes are not required, but it looks great if you all wear matching shorts and t-shirts.
Not to sound like a broken record, but choreographing your jump rope routine to a fun song with a great beat will help make the act a standout.
Idea 9: Cheerleading
If you are a cheerleader, gather your cheer team together to do some dances and stunts for the audience. However, you don’t have to “officially” be cheerleaders to perform a fun cheerleading routine in the talent show. Get a group of friends together and make up a fun routine that showcases each girl’s tumbling and dance skills. Costumes don’t have to be fancy—matching cheer shorts and t-shirts in bright colors are fine. And don’t forget the matching hair bows! Once again, find a great song with a fun beat, or use the music your team competes with.
Idea 10: Hand-Clapping Routine
Although a hand-clapping routine doesn’t sound like it has much to offer, it is actually a really cool act that anyone can do. Watch the video above and you’ll see what I mean. Another plus is that no special equipment or costumes are required. Although this act is basically easy, it will take plenty of practice to master and memorize the routine.
Idea 11: Funny Skits
There are lots of funny skits you can do at talent shows. Additionally, most don’t require any special equipment. Comedy acts are often a breath of fresh air among the numerous dance routines and ballad singers found in most school talent shows.
Talent Show Tips
- Practice, practice, practice! Even though you might think your act is easy and in your mind you can perform it perfectly, you have to practice. Practice twice as much as think you need to. You’ll be glad you did.
- Have a parent, brother, sister, or friend video your act as you practice it. Watch the videos carefully to see what works and what doesn’t, and what needs to be changed or improved.
- Choose great music. Music adds energy, excitement, and a professional quality to your act.
- Remember that only a few people are on the front row. Don’t forget about the majority of your audience, who are watching from farther away or off to the side. If you’re speaking during your act, speak clearly, slowly and loudly so that everyone can hear and understand you. Whether you’re speaking or not, hold your head up, stand or sit up straight, wear bright colors, smile, and take your time. There’s no need to rush through your act.
- Just before you go on stage, take a deep breath, relax, smile and have fun!
- If you mess up, just smile, laugh, and keep going. If someone in your group messes up, ignore it and keep going. No one is perfect, and mistakes do happen. In fact, mistakes can be very funny and make your act even more entertaining. If you laugh about your mistake, the audience will laugh with you and enjoy the show even more.
- When you’re finished, stand up tall, smile, wave to the audience, take a big, long bow, then wave again and walk—don’t run—off the stage.