Keeping Creative at Home: How to create your own clown show

2 June 2020

Sam Holdsworth and Halima Habil from Clowns Without Borders share their steps on how to get clowning at home

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Image credit: Edward Morgan

Whether you're a teacher, a parent, or both, we hope our Keeping Creative at Home blog series will help you and your children through this tricky period of adjustment.

We're aware there's currently a lot of pressure on parents in particular around home education. So, first and foremost, all of the activities in this series are designed to be fun, creative experiences for your children (and hopefully for you too!), but there is also potential for learning in all of them.

Remember to share your Keeping Creative at Home creations using the #KeepingCreativeatHome hashtag – we'd love to see what you've been up to!


Clowns Without Borders (CWB) is a UK charity that has brought laughter and joy to tens of thousands of children and young people in crisis, whether in refugee camps or in the wake of natural disasters. All of the photos in this post are of CWB clowns doing their work in refugee camps around the world.

For this blog, CWB founder Samantha Holdsworth and CWB clown Halima Habil have adapted activities from CWB’s Clown Camps. So join in, grab or make your red nose and get clowning!

WELCOME TO CLOWN CAMP!

Follow the activities and games below to help your children or students discover their inner clowns and create their own clown show.

1. Find your clown

Find your Clown Name

First things first, you need a clown name! Play with funny words and sounds that feel good in your mouth.

It could be anything: in Clowns Without Borders, there are clowns called Pom Pom, Lulu Bingo and Banana. For inspiration, you could play with your own name and turn it backwards or add extra letters.

Choose Your Clown Costume

Give yourself three minutes to find something funny to wear – the funnier the better!

Look in different rooms for ideas. What could you use from the kitchen or bathroom, for example? Play with things that are too big, too small, too long, too short, too bright. Just make sure you can safely see where you are going!

Pick Your Nose

Not all clowns wear a red nose – Mr Bean and Charlie Chaplin are two famous clowns who don’t wear red noses. But wearing a red nose definitely tells the world that you are a clown! Use red face paint or red lipstick to paint the tip of your nose red, but remember to ask permission first!

Or why not make a nose? Find an old egg box, cut out an individual cup, paint it red, make a small hole on each side, and thread through some elastic or a shoelace.

Want to go further?

You can find more details and examples of clown costumes, names and how to make noses here

2. Walking talking clowns

Clown1 copy.png
Image credit: Sarah Hickson

Now it’s time to find out how your clown character walks and talks.

Silly Walks

First try to find your clown walk by imagining an invisible string is pulling you forward. Then imagine the invisible string is tied to your knees, hips or tummy button. Try it in slow motion or moving really fast.

Now imagine you are being chased by a bee or an angry Chihuahua.

Trying walking backwards in slow motion or like you are sleep walking. The most important thing is to have fun and choose the walk you like the most.

Silly Voices

To discover how your clown speaks, try making different animal sounds. Experiment with making them loud, soft, croaky or squeaky.

You could also try saying your clown name as joyfully as possible or being as grumpy as possible. Imagine speaking with a hot potato in your mouth or with a mouthful of sticky toffee. Choose the voice that makes you laugh the most.

Want to go further?

You can find more ideas and suggestions about walks and voices here

Warm up with Keeping Creative at Home: How to turn your living room into a stage.

3. What can your clown do?

It’s time to create a clown ‘act’ or scene to share with your family, teddies or neighbours (so long as they are at least two meters apart!)

Juggling

Not all clowns juggle and do acrobatics, but they do like to play. Juggling can be tricky, but it gets easier with practice. And you can juggle with anything: oranges, socks, scrunched up paper or balloons filled with rice.

Practice throwing your ball up in the air. Try throwing and catching it in different ways, e.g. throw it in the air, turn around and catch it before it hits the floor or throw it from one elbow to another.

Try to balance your juggling balls on different parts of your body like under your chin or on your elbow. Can you dance and do this at the same time?

Clown Magic

Find a paper bag or small plastic bag and hold it between your thumb and index finger. In your other hand, hold an imaginary ball. Throw your imaginary ball into your paper bag and click your thumb and index finger together. The sound created makes it seems like your imaginary ball has landed in your envelope with a thumb.

You can watch Morcambe and Wise perform the paper bag trick here.

Want to go further?

You can find more juggling tips and dance ideas here and here.

For help making up a dance routine, read Keeping Creative at Home: How to get moving.

4. Show time!

Clown3 copy.png
Image credit: Henrik Kindgren

It’s time to put it all together and do your clown show!

Think about where your audience will sit and how you will come on and off ‘stage’.

There are hundreds of ways to make a clown show but most performances have a beginning, middle and end. They also contain a mixture of different moments: big, small, loud, quiet, slow and fast.

To get you started, you could try

  • Entering through a doorway doing a silly walk
  • Introducing yourself by saying your clown name using your silly voice
  • Sharing your clown magic or juggling

If somebody laughs at anything you do, you are being a successful clown! The most important thing of all, to have as much fun as possible!

Want to go further?

You can find more tips about how to create your clown show here

Try combining your clown act with some ideas from Keeping Creative at Home: How to turn your kitchen into a castle


To learn more about Clowns Without Borders, visit their website.

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