How can I demonstrate to my high school acting class how to walk, talk, and gesture like a small child?
Watch small children play, talk and walk and take in every detail.
Ask yourself tons of questions:
– Where is their center of gravity?
– How do they keep their balance?
– Are they hesitant?
– How are they different when they walk toward their parent than when they walk toward someone they don’t know.
– When do they use gestures instead of speaking?
Once you’ve made a lot of observations, the next step is to ask Why? so you’re not just imitating a small child, you’re finding reasons inside yourself for acting the way they do.
For example, instead of just pretending to cry like a child, imagine you are two years old, are thirsty but don’t know the words to ask for a drink. You can see a cup of water up high but can’t reach it. Now try to get someone to understand you and imagine none of your gesturing works. Chances are you’ll end up resorting to tears or what looks like a tantrum, but instead of faking it, you’ve put yourself in the shoes of a small child and experienced how they may really feel.
Hope this helps develop your character.