Today's focus is all about making people laugh. You're probably thinking of the characters with the red noses and big shoes. But clowning is so much more than that: It takes a lot of skill in acting, athleticism, and empathy. You’ll start with some clowning history to understand the origins of clowning and their presence all over the world, dating back centuries. By the end of the day, you'll be scripting your own jokes and getting gags ready for your big show on Friday.
what you’ll need
- Your Camp Kinda toolkit
- Paper or a sketchbook and colorful scraps of paper
- An old egg carton
- Party hats (or make your own with origami paper)
- String or elastic
- Red and white paint
- A paper plate
- Miscellaneous art supplies (sequins, pom-poms, whatever you've got!)
- Miscellaneous household items (pots and pans, a mop or broom, a jump rope, magazines, etc.)
Ask About Today
What are the four rules of clowning? Which one would be hardest for you during a performance? (Spoiler alert: The answers are eye contact, complete silence, no miming, and always say yes.)
Where do we see “clowns” in our world today outside the circus? Can you think of an example from a movie, book, or somewhere else? What makes them a clown? How do you know?
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
Training as a Clown
Former professional cyclist Michelle Khare has trained with NASA, competed in a Miss USA pageant, and now she's learning how clowning can change your life. Make sure to watch through to the end for Michelle’s first clown performance—will she get a laugh?
Pro Tip: You’ll want to take notes on this one for your show at the end of the week!
From Clowns to Tigers
Get to know Bernice Collins, a Black woman who became a clown, showgirl, and tiger presenter, as she tells the story of her life in the circus.
More Than Jokes
Clowns do so much more than joke around. Watch these two clowns put on a street show with juggling, tap dancing, and goof-ups you’ll love. Now it’s your turn! Can you practice any of these clown tricks?
Clowning Around the World
People have been clowning around since ancient times—from the indigenous peoples of North America to the taikomochi of Japan and beyond, laughter and play are a huge part of what defines a culture. Take a spin around the globe to learn about the history of clowning. Then ask yourself: Why do we need clowns to clown?
It is said that a clown becomes a clown as soon as they put on their red nose. Who will you be with your nose on?
The Clumsiest Obstacle Course
Start with creating an obstacle course—but make it clowny. Turn your home or outdoor space into the most imaginative obstacle course you can think of with physical challenges as well as clown gags! (Think tripping over your own feet, walking into a wall, acting confused about how to use everyday objects...you're the clown, so add your own flair!) Take a look at these ideas to help you get started, but don't be afraid to make it your own.
Clown in the Mirror
Put yourself in front of a mirror and try using your face to show a range of different emotions. Practice showing happy, sad, surprised, mad, shy, embarrassed, and frustrated. Then challenge yourself and use just your face to express whole statements like "I love you" or "Will you be my friend?" When you've practiced, share your faces with a grown-up or a big sib and have them guess what you're trying to show.
Ready to turn the volume up? Dance along with this video of UniverSoul Circus’s "Fresh the Clowns." Can you can move like them?