Saturday, January 17, 2015

Three Shakespeare Activities for Kids

Week 16: We made a human timeline, found words Shakespeare used that we don't use much today, made puppets of Shakespeare characters and read a few lines in original and modern language.

Shakespeare was a famous playwright, but he also wrote sonnets and poems. Venus and Adonis is a 199 stanza long sonnet written in iambic pentameter. In the poem, Venus is in love with Adonis and wants him to love her back, but all he wants to do is hunt wild boar. After she tries to tell him hunting boar is dangerous, he is killed hunting a wild boar.

Twenty of the comedy, tragedy and history plays such as A Mid Summer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Othello, have been rewritten for children by Elizabeth Nesbit and are free on the audio story site librivox under the title Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare. We often listen to the stories two or three times to sift through the cast of numerous characters. My 7 year old and 10 year old love the stories. Tales From Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb is another excellent, although more difficult, Shakespeare resource for children. I would recommend it for 4th grade and up as the stories are challenging to understand.

I've Seen Better Days, All that Glitters is Not Gold, That's a Sorry Sight - Shakespeare is credited with adding over 3000 words to the English language and creating many sayings which are still familiar and used today. Here are a few more;

  • Laughing Stock
  • Wild Goose Chase
  • In a Pickle
  • Love is Blind
  • Bated Breath
  • Knock, Knock - Who's There?
  • Good Ridance
  • Haven't Slept a Wink
  • Eat Me Out of House and Home
To learn about key events in Shakespeare's life, each child was given a sheet of paper with a date and an event such as, the Globe Theater was Constructed in 1599.

After illustrating their event, they stood in chronological order and read their event to the group.

Next, they took a closer look at a Shakespeare Sonnet and identified words not used often today.

Then the kids each were given a few lines from a Shakespeare play both in original language and translated into modern English.

They used craft supplies and paper bags to create puppets of their character. She made a fairy from A Mid Summer Night's Dream.

A flag always flew at the Globe Theater when a play was being performed.

The kids read their lines.


To see more of our hands-on history activities please visit our History Page.



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