HYRUM — Lincoln Elementary second-graders learned the importance of imagination when Utah State University theater education students visited Thursday as part of a theater enrichment program.

The four students taught the children games that stretched their creativity.

“It's fun to have opportunities to do things like this, because we have so much to pack into a day, they don't get to do it often,” said Katy Rawlings, a second-grade teacher. “It's a good experience for the kids.”

The games the USU students taught the second-graders included mimicking others’ actions and movements, and creating noises appropriate for different environments, such as tigers in a jungle.

“They seemed to really like it. They had a lot of fun,” Rawlings said. “Lots of them enjoy getting up in front of groups, and they don't get a lot of chances to do that.”

The games were kept simple for the 6- and 7-year-olds.

“We wanted to really encourage them to use their imagination and be creative, think outside the box and realize that you can keep being creative and take the way you play into doing activities that are educational,” said Colin Anderson, a USU student originally from Ogden. “It's a really helpful way to learn something.”

Twenty-three-year-old Alix Van Noi said second-graders were specifically chosen because of their ability to be imaginative.

“As we start getting out of second grade, they may still use their imagination but in third, fourth and fifth grade, it kind of gets beaten out of students,” Van Noi said. “I think it's really important to keep art in our kids' lives.”

For Kaitlyn Terry, a USU theater education student from Sandy, the experience provided an opportunity to work with elementary school students.

“For me, it was interesting to teach elementary school kids because I'm mostly in secondary education, so with elementary school students, it's interesting to see how open they are to doing activities and the willingness they have to participate,” Terry said.

Twenty-one-year-old Brittany Beecher from Kaysville said the students really grasped the importance of not only imagination but also how fun acting can be.

“At the very end, we discussed with the kids what they had learned today, and one kid said that everyone can do theater, and everyone can be an actor or participate in theater,” Beecher said. “I thought that was really cool.”

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Twitter: mskellycannon

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