True Play: Parent & Kid Improv class

Where Parents & Kids Communicate and Play Together.

"The rules of improvisation appealed to me not only as a way of creating comedy, but as a worldview. Studying Improvisation literally changed my life. ... It changed the way I look at the world." - Tina Fey, Bossypants

TOnykidsTRUE PLAY is featured in Time Out Kids! Click Here to read about The 30 Best After School Programs for Kids in NYC

True Play is an improv class for Kids to take WITH their parents!

In every True Play class:

  • Parents and kids build stories together.
  • Kids sometimes lead their parents
  • Kids agree with their parents - it’s a RULE!
  • We practice active listening
  • Everyone laughs, without the pressure of a performance.

In this class, you will again play together and improve communication in a fun way. You'll LOL for sure - and you'll also LAL: Laugh, Agree, and Listen.P O S I T I V E True PlayThis is not a performance class, this is a class for parents and kids to use the many beneficial aspects of improv training to really have a great time together while building a stronger bond. And you don't have to be funny! Improv didn't originate as a type of comedy or performance - it actually originated as one of many disciplines of "Therapeutic Gameplay" inspired by a Northwestern University Sociologist. When Viola Spolin started teaching theater games to kids in a community center on the south side of Chicago, her goals weren't to create comedy, but rather to improve communication and confidence. We all long for our kids to engage in more creative play and less gadgetry, but we might be unsure how to actually "play". So come join us and play. True Play.Classes are :45-:90, depending on the age group and your individual needs. If you have any questions please contact us at

LAL: Improv for Parenting

In LAL (Listen, Agree  & Laugh) Workshops, parents get a chance to talk and play grown-up to grown-up, and discuss the ideas behind the exercises. It's still fast-paced and interactive - while giving both a conceptual understanding of the principles of communication and live, fun  practice in different ways to share them with your kids.It's an energizing workshop filled with laughter and shared experiences: from parents to parents.The areas that LAL workshops cover are:

  1. Slowing down. Let’s build one step at a time. Let’s say one thing, communicate one thing, and make sure it’s absorbed before we move on to the next.
  2. Affirming. Taking a moment to acknowledge each idea your partner has. Even if it’s crazy. This is for both parents and kids.
  3. Connecting. As opposed to saying “I know you want to do this, but…”, try using “and” more often. Even in place of “but.” Connect your thoughts to your kids’ and you’re off to the races. So instead of “I know you want to stay and play, but we need to go to the store,” we can try “I know you want to stay and play, and I want you to know that we need to go to the store.”

EmotionsRecognizing emotions, playing with how they affect our faces and bodies, is also vital to communication. And possibly even to bringing our own emotions under our control.

Word Play: Improv for Reading

Here's an interesting stat: in Scholastic's Kids and Family Reading Report, 83% of kids aged 6-17 either like or LOVE being read to. Reading with our kids is a fantastic way to stay close.In this workshop, we use improv and storytelling tools to develop expressive reading skills - whether you're reading to your kids or helping them along their reading journeys. We play with environment and character. We practice skills to improve retention, active listening, and to make reading even more fun, so that your kids can't wait to open up their next book with you.

Math-tery: Improv Mindset for Math

In a study at the University of Chicago, emotional awareness and control was shown to be just as important to a student's success as talent, and a mindset of "What can I learn" from this problem is far more important than "how do I solve it."In this workshop, we use improvisation to recognize and guide our emotions, and to encourage the sense of "getting lost so we can find our way". We give parents tools to help our kids in math EVEN WHEN WE DON'T KNOW THE ANSWERS OURSELVES.


Edward-and-WallisMary Theresa Archbold and Pat Shay are a married couple with two kids. They are also lifelong improvisers and improv teachers who have worked for Second City, iO Chicago, The Magnet Theater, The Peoples Improv Theater and have taught many workshops across the nation. Their two-person project Jazz Hand has won awards in multiple media, including a Best Actor award for Mary from the NBC Universal Shortcuts festival and an invitation to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In addition to their stage experience, Pat uses an improv foundation in his work as a personal skills coach for many organizations, including the Institute for Personal Leadership at Columbia University. Mary has used it in her experience as a teaching artist at schools across Manhattan, including Sacred Heart and Caedmon School. In town, Pat teaches at the Peoples Improv Theater, where he helped to develop the curriculum, and Mary co-founded the teen improv program at the Magnet Theater. They are currently contributors to the awesome parenting blog Felicity Huffman's whattheflicka.comAny questions please feel free to email us at ,


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True PlayImprov

"Dear Pat and Mary,

Thank you so much for providing such a great learning experience for District 30 parents and parent coordinators. Parents entered the room anxious, not knowing what to expect. In a matter of minutes, you had everyone up, talking, dancing and laughing. They experienced different ways to express themselves when interacting with others, especially their children. I have never seen a room filled with adults laugh so much, have so much fun, while learning thee valuable skills. They became confident with the full realization that play and laughter can lead to more open relaxed communication. I can’t think of a better way to foster the connection between parent and child.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive with numerous requests for more of your workshops. Thank for agreeing to return to District 30!"

- Administrator, District 30, New York City Public Schools


Please contact us any time for more information and pricing.

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