Posted in Animal Stories, Books for children, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Drama games for 4 year olds, Drama strategies, Drama techniques, Fairy Tales, The 3 little pigs

Drama Workshop for Young Children based on the Three Little Pigs



The Three Little Pigs (Drama Workshop)

Each child finds a space and sits down. Each child or a group of children are assigned a specific word and a corresponding action. The narrator/teacher reads the story aloud and when the children hear their word they must jump up and do their actions. The words are in bold to assist the teacher/narrator.

 Movement: Action/sound.

Any number: Show that number of fingers.

Little: Crouch down as small as you can.

Pig: Get on all fours and oink once.

Pigs: Get on all fours and oink twice.

Big: Stretch up as high as you can.

Bad: Make an angry face.

Wolf: Make hands into claws and say “aargh.”

Laughing: Laugh loudly.

Smiling: Give a big wide smile.

Trotted: Trot up and down the space.

Straw: Rub your hands together.

Sticks: Clap your hands together.

Bricks: Clap your hands on your thighs.

Huff/huffed: Blow.

Puff/puffed: Blow harder.

Blow/blew: Stamp feet on the ground.

Narrator: Once upon a time, there was a mother pig who lived with her three little pigs. One day she said, “Little pigs, I think it is time for you to leave and make your own way in this big world. You each need to build your own house.” The little pigs were very excited about their new, big adventure. Mother pig gave each of her little pigs a hug, but she warned them, “Remember to watch out for the big bad wolf.” The little pigs waved goodbye to their mother, and they trotted into the woods. They were laughing and smiling, and soon they came across a man who was carrying some straw. The first little pig said, “May I have some straw to build my house?” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the first little pig some straw to build his house. Just before they left, the man warned them, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.” The first little pig built his house of straw.

The two other pigs trotted on down the road. They were laughing and smiling, and soon they came across a man who was carrying some sticks. The second little pig said, “May I have some sticks to build my house?” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the second little pig some sticks to build his house. Just before they left, the man warned them, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.” The second little pig built his house of sticks.

The third little pig trotted on down the road. He was laughing and smiling, and soon he came across a man who was carrying some bricks. The third little pig said, “May I have some bricks to build my house?” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the third little pig some bricks to build his house. Just before they left, the man warned him, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.”

The third little pig built his house of bricks. The first little pig had just finished building his house of straw when the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

The first little pig replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”

Then the wolf said, Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” So, he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down.

The first little pig trotted very quickly to his brother’s house made of sticks. The second little pig had just finished building his house of sticks when he heard a knock on the door, and to his surprise, it was his brother. Suddenly, the big bad wolf appeared.

He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

The second little pig replied, “Not by hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”

Then the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” So, he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down.

The two little pigs trotted very quickly to their brother’s house made of bricks.

The third little pig had just finished building his house of bricks when he heard a knock on the door, and to his surprise, it was his two brothers. Suddenly, the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

The third little pig replied, “Not by hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”

Then the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” The wolf huffed, and he puffed. He huffed, and he puffed, but he couldn’t blow the house down. He heard the three little pigs inside the house. They were laughing. This made the wolf very angry indeed. He decided he would climb to the top of the roof and come down the chimney.

The third little pig heard him on the roof, and he came up with a clever plan. He put a big pot of boiling water on the fire, which was just underneath the chimney. The wolf came tumbling down the chimney and landed into the big pot of boiling water and “SPLASH!” That was the end of the big bad wolf. The three little pigs lived happily ever after.

Warm-up: One child is chosen or volunteers to be Mr. or Ms. Wolf and stands at one side of the clear space. His/her back is to the other children, who are standing at the opposite end of the space. The rest of the children shout out: “What’s the time, Mr. /Ms. Wolf?” The wolf does not turn around. He/she replies in a rough, wolf-like voice: “Four o’clock.” The children walk forward the number of steps the wolf calls out (in this case, four). The children ask again: “What time is it, Mr./Ms. Wolf?” The wolf replies: “Five o’clock.” The children take five steps forward. The children continue to ask the question and to walk the appropriate number of steps forward. Eventually, when the wolf thinks that the children are near enough, he/she will say: “Dinnertime!” Then the wolf turns around and chases the children. They must try to rush back to their starting place. If Mr./Ms. Wolf catches one of them before they reach home, that child is the wolf in the next game.

Choral speaking: Teach the children the following poem. Get them to think of different actions for the straw, sticks, bricks, pigs and wolf. They say the poem in unison.

 Straw, Sticks and Bricks

Straw, sticks and bricks.

Straw, sticks and bricks.

The pigs built their houses

Out of straw, sticks and bricks

The wolf came by,

He blew the straw down.

He blew the sticks, but the bricks were strong

The pig lived happy all the days long

In their house of bricks.

Occupational mime: Divide the class into groups of 4: three pigs and one wolf. The pigs move round the room in a “follow the leader” style. The pig at the front of the line is doing the actions. The first pig mimes collecting materials and building a house of straw. Second and third pigs follow, copying the mime. When the house is blown down by the wolf, the first pig moves to the end of the line. Second pig then heads the line and mimes building house of sticks. Finally, third pig takes a turn and mimes building a house of bricks. The wolf moves around the room avoiding pigs as they build until it is time to blow the house down.

Role-play: Encourage different movements such as gathering straw, breaking sticks or lifting heavy bricks. Encourage the wolves to use their body and facial expression to look fierce and threatening. Give everyone in the group the opportunity to take on the role of the wolf. When the children are comfortable with the character movements, get them to use speech. Ask the following questions:

What does the wolf sound like?

What would he say to the little pigs?

What do the pigs sound like?

What would they say to the wolf?

Talking objects: Ask children if they can take on the role of the wolf. They use their breath to blow down the house. Get them to huff and puff and huff and puff and blow the house down. Everyone sits in a circle and the teacher presents the group with objects that can be blown down by the breath, the wind or a hurricane such as a leaf, balloon, paper, tree, car or even a bridge. Every child becomes an object; they enter the circle and give the group some information about who they are. For example: “I’m small, I’m green and live on a tree.” Once the rest of group have guessed correctly, everyone blows the object down.

Conclusion: The teacher discusses with the group reasons why the wolf gets very angry. The teacher asks the children how they can show the wolf how to relax using his breath. The wolf uses his breath to blow things down, but he could use his breath for relaxation exercises.

Tummy breathing: The children find their own space on the floor. They lie down and place their hands or a stuffed toy on their tummy. They inhale on a count of three. They see their hands or stuffed toy rising as their tummy fills with air. They exhale on the count of four and they see their hands or stuffed toys falling. Repeat this process 10 times. When everyone is finished, ask the children the following questions:

How do you feel?

What did you notice about your hands/stuffed toy when you inhaled and exhaled?

How would this exercise help the wolf?

Burst balloon: The children all lie on the floor. The teacher gets them to imagine that their body is a balloon. They are going to close their eyes and inflate the balloon. They fill up their tummies with air. Then when they are full, the teacher counts to three and the children shout bang and they let all the air out of their bodies like a deflated balloon.





Posted in Mime, Mime for all ages, Mime for children, Mime for kids, Movement activities

Cu Chulainn – Mime Play




Cu Chulainn

(This is a mime play with a storyteller, the mime actions are in italics).

The storyteller:

This is the story of Cu Chulainn and how he got his name and became one of Ireland’s most famous warriors. Cullen was a blacksmith to the high king of Ireland. His job was to make swords of flashing steel that could cut the thickest of trees and bronze shields that would protect the king from the wrath of the fieriest dragon in Ireland.

Mime action:

Cullen the blacksmith walks to the centre of the stage. He has got helpers. They make a still image of a blacksmith’s forge. Then, they mime making the swords. They hand them to each other. They brandish them. They cut down trees to see if the sword is sharp enough and they present if to the king who is sitting on his throne.

The storyteller:

The high king was pleased with Cullen and one day he held a royal feast in his honour and invited all the noble warriors in Ireland to the feast.

Mime action:

The King leads the procession of warriors. Servants bring in seats. They sit and the servants carry in great plates of food and bottles of wine.

The storyteller:

As night fell, Cullen left his mighty black hound to guard the king’s palace. The hound was very fierce with ugly red eyes and huge teeth.

Mime action:

One of the children takes the part of the hound. The High King,, Warriors and Cullen stretch out and go to sleep. The hound stands in front of them and guards them.

The storyteller:

The King had forgotten that a boy called Setanta was playing hurley on the field outside. No one had warned him about the dreadful hound.

Mime action:

Setanta approaches the palace. He is happy and swing his hurling stick. He sees the hound. The hound attacks Setanta. The battle continues in slow motion as the storyteller speaks. The king, warriors and lords wake up and watch the fight.

The storyteller:

There was a mighty fight between them. Setanta eventually kills the hound by ramming his hurley down the hound’s throat.

Mime action:

The hound dies.

The storyteller:

The king, Cullen and all the noble warriors rush out when they hear the combat. The king hugs Setanta as he is delighted that the boy is safe.

Mime action:

The king comes forward and praises Setanata. Cullen stands over the dead hound. The King and warriors go to him.

The storyteller:

Cullen however was sad and grieved at the loss of his great guard hound. He wondered who will guard his workshop. Who will guard all the bronze and gold in the workshop that’s needed to make the swords and shields.

Mime action:

Setanta lifts his hand and gestures that he will take the place of the hound. He could take the mask from the hound and change this into a helmet which he lifts high and then places on his head.

The storyteller:

I will guard your forge from now on and I will take the place of your hound” said Setanta. So he did – and guarded the forge of Cullen, the blacksmith. He was known by his new name Cu Chulainn – the hound of Cullen. He became the highest and greatest of Irelands’s ancient warriors.There are many more exciting stories about Cu Chulainn and the heroes of Ireland. Make up your own mime plays from these stories.


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Posted in Drama for children

Movement and self regulation for young children



Movement is very important for helping children increase their control over their own thoughts, emotional responses and actions. The following movement activities are fun and can be introduced easily into the day.


Movement Activity: Imagine You Are……

Resources needed: Clear space.

Instructions: This game helps children do traditional stretches in a creative and fun way. These stretches can be done individually or in pairs.

Imagine you are a whisk

Get the children to stand in a circle and put their hands over their head. They join their hands together and move them around in a large circle. Initially, they move their hands in a clockwise direction and when the group is comfortable moving in this direction, get them to move their hands in an anticlockwise direction.

Imagine you are an inchworm

Get the children to bend down and put their hands on the ground. Next, get them to walk their hands out in front of them until they are supporting their own body weight. The children get into a push up position.  They walk their feet up to their hands and then they continue walking their hands out and walking their feet up to their hands until they have moved to the other side of the room. Make sure that they have their own space and don’t bump into one another.

Imagine you are a car wiper

Get the children to lie on the ground. When they are comfortable get them to put their legs in the air. Slowly they move both legs from one side to another.

Imagine you are a cat stretching

Get the children to put their hands and feet are on the floor, arch their back high in the air and stretch.

Imagine you are a giant

Get the children to take a big step and lunge on each step.

Imagine you are a marching soldier

Get the children to swing their arms and bring their legs up to their chest on each step.

Imagine you are a leaping frog

Get the children to squat down. They put their hands between their knees and jump around the space.

Movement Activity: Movement Sequences

Resources needed: Clear space.

Instructions: The teacher discusses with the children different ways of moving. He/she asks the children to come up with as many ways to move as possible.

Suggestions for different ways to move:















Walk sideways

Walk backwards

The children will come up with many more ways of moving than those listed above.  The teacher calls out different movement sequences such as



Extension: If the children are older then give them an opportunity to be the leader and call out their own movement sequences.


Movement Activity: Butterflies

Resources needed: Classical music pieces, scarves or dance fans

Other Benefits: Co-ordination, energy, focus, trust.

Instructions: Give the children two colourful scarves and encourage them to fly around like butterflies to the classical music. Butterflies is an excellent activity for children to use their imagination. Most children will love classical music if they are introduced to it at an early stage.

Suggestion of classical music pieces:

Carmen Overture, Georges Bizet

In the Hall of the Mountain King, Edward Grieg

The Flight of the Bumble Bee, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

The Teddy Bear’s Picnic, Henry Hall Orchestra

The Nutcracker, Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Four Seasons, Antonio Vivaldi

Carnival of the Animals, Camille Saint Saens

Hoe-Down, Aaron Copland

Hungarian Dance No.5, Johannes Brahms


The above activities are from Movement Start by Julie Meighan.

Movement Stories for children ages 3 to 6 by Helen Landalf


Posted in Drama for children

Self-Regulation Strategies, Ideas and Activities for ECEC Practitioners




Self-Regulation Strategies, Ideas and Activities for ECEC Practitioners

When implementing trauma-sensitive practices in ECEC settings it is important

To focus on relationships

To promote safety and trustworthiness

To engage in choice and collaboration

To encourage skill-building and competence

To create a safe and secure environment for children, which has very clear boundaries and a consistent structure.


Comfort Box

A comfort box is a physical box that is used to distract a child from negative thoughts and encourage more positive, soothing ones. It is an anchor of comfort when a child is experiencing periods of anxiety.

Your child’s comfort box should include only items that create happy memories, soothing sensations or pleasant feelings using the five senses. Here are some examples of items to consider including for each sense:

  • Smell: bathtime soap or your body spray/aftershave
  • Taste: their favourite sweet treat or snack
  • Sight: a picture or drawing of a fun, family experience
  • Touch: a comfort blanket or favourite cuddly toy
  • Sound: an audiobook, piece of music or sound of a loved one talking

There are lots of different things that you can include in a comfort box obviously, you will want to tailor it to the children in your care. Here are some more ideas of things in you can things you can put in a comfort box for children.

Bottle of bubbles

Fidget toys such as fidget spinners, Tangle Jr. or Puffer ball

Cuddly toy

Weighted cushions/ blankets

Sensory tunnel

Yoga poses cards



Plastic snow globes

Stress balls

Play doh, clay or silly putty

Flashing toys

Pipe cleaners – to twist and bend

Spinning top

Harmonica, whistle bell, chimes

Small mirror


Sensory bottles

Therapeutic stories deal with anxiety, worry or loss.

If you want to write therapeutic stories for children the following books are useful resources:

Using Story Telling as a Therapeutic Tool with Children by Margot Sunderland

Using Stories to Build Bridges with Traumatized Children: Creative Ideas for Therapy, Life Story Work, Direct Work and Parenting by Kim S. Golding

Posted in clay, Clay Play therapy, play therapy

The therapeutic benefits of clay in play therapy

potter at work

Clay work is like the Cinderella of the art therapies. She still waits to be discovered with her magic, her beauty and her ability to transform the wells of human suffering into places of insight and celebration. Her dark earthly solid mass, often appearing in greyish, brownish or terra-cotta dress, is hardly alluring at first sight. Touching this sticky cold mass, you sense she has a longing and determination to merge with your skin.” (Sherwood, 2010)

Children have always played with clay however more recently it has become a valuable tool for play therapists as it provides children with a natural method of connection and expression. This blog post examines the therapeutic benefits of using clay in play therapy. Initially, when I started play therapy with my clients, I did not include clay in my tool kit. After a few months, clay was introduced into the playroom and it was very apparent to me from the outset that my clients were instantly drawn to it. They all used the clay but interestingly they used it in very different ways. Its many qualities such as its strength, malleability and its concreteness make it very responsive to human feelings. My clients liked feeling, modelling, squashing, rolling and pounding the clay. I felt undoubtedly it was instrumental in moving the clients forward in their therapeutic process. Children are naturally attracted to clay and are drawn to its visual appeal (Henley, 2002). It is a strong expressive medium and is ideal for enhancing children’s development and holistic learning (White, 2006). This blog post gives some insight into the therapeutic benefits of using clay in a play therapy setting.  I will do this by examining relevant literature on the subject and by using some of my own personal experiences dealing with clay as a play therapist.

Landreth (2002) states that it is difficult for children to access their feelings at a verbal level as children do not have the cognitive or verbal ability to express what they are feeling in a manner that can be expressed into words.  Since the inception of play therapy, clay has always been an important tool for a therapist (Axline, 1947; Landreth, 2002). It is advocated by many psychotherapists as one of the primary devices for helping clients to explore difficult concepts and express fundamental emotions in a non-verbal manner (Freud 2006). There has not been much research done on the therapeutic aspects of clay or clay as a therapeutic medium in general (Sherwood, 2010, Gavron and Sholt, 2006, Souter-Anderson, 2010). The dearth of research and books on the subject may be a result of the belief that clay therapy comes under the umbrella of art therapy. Souter- Anderson (2010) in her book Touching Clay, Touching What?” refutes this and claims clay therapy has a “unique theoretical anchoring in the same way that sand-play music therapy and authentic movement have their respective theoretical bases” (Souter-Anderson, 2010: 13).

In order to explore the therapeutic aspects of clay, it is important to briefly describe the role clay has played in history. Clay products such as vases, pots, symbolic figures have been present in past civilizations. In addition to the functional aspects of clay in creating a variety of containing tools, it has been used in many cultures as a method of expressing the religious dimensions in human life. Clay originates from the earth and as the earth is viewed as the source of all things it can be inferred that clay can anchor very powerful emotions. Sholt and Gavron (2006: 66) claim there is a link “between symbolic clay products and the mental-spiritual realm of humankind early in human history. Accordingly, clay figures which are made of the earth may reflect the connection between the human mental world and the material world”

Clay involves a very primal mode of expression and communication as it involves touching (Henley, 2002).  Tactile contact is actually the first mode of communication that a baby learns (Bowlby, 1969). It is the sense of touch that enables people to understand the very boundaries of themselves (Sunderland, 2004).  Touch, before all else, is the primary, non-verbal way a child has to relating to its mother.  From the moment of birth, touch is the way in which feelings are communicated and experienced. The sense of touch is closely linked to early attachment. (Bowlby, 1969). Attachment is the bond that develops between a baby and its primary caregiver.  It is characterised by the interaction patterns which develop in order to fulfil the infants’ needs and emotional development (Bowlby, 1969). According to Bowlby (1969) not developing a secure attachment in early life, could prove damaging to the child emotionally and these difficulties could filter through to adult life. Souter-Anderson (2010) states that many therapists see their clients’ relationship with clay as a metaphor for their attachments with different people in their lives. Cattanach (1996:196) states that the medium of clay has its own specific qualities and says “it responds and reacts and has to be grappled with, in the same way as a human relationship does if it is to progress”. Baring this in mind it could be concluded using clay in the playroom could help children or adults not only to explore their early attachment bonds but also help them examine and look at their current relationships.

Clay leaves an imprint and feelings move through hands into clay making the invisible visible. In addition to touch, modelling clay requires body movement. Touch and movement are interlinked.  Real past memories and the “central window to the unconscious” can be unlocked through touch and movement (Oaklander, 1988). Clay therapy can allow the clients to see their inner trauma and places of wounding (Sherwood, 2010). Nez (1991) made use of clay in order to facilitate healing with adults who had difficult and traumatic childhoods. He found that clay encouraged a more spontaneous and less controlled expression and response than other art mediums. He stated that using clay put the client in touch with primitive sensations and emotion.

Clay is cathartic in nature as it allows the child to express an array of emotions. Catharsis allows for the release of previously restrained and interrupted affective release via emotional expression such as pounding clay (Schaefer, 2006).  When children feel stuck, frustrated and overwhelmed by life challenges, the use of clay in therapy provides a safe place for releasing stored up thoughts and emotions and unlearning old, destructive or unproductive habits. Some children find this particularly soothing and it can be useful for releasing tension or can be a safe outlet for frustration and aggression (Hart, 1992 as cited in Sholt & Gavron, 2006). Sholt and Gavron (2006:67) state that working with clay could ” function as a control window to these unconscious non-verbal representations and maybe helpful with people who find it hard to express themselves verbally or who are defensive.

Clay is malleable and three dimensional and it can become anything a child wants it to become. It can embody a representational form or an abstract one, for example, a child could create a shape that represents a monster which could look like an animal or a fantasy figure or it just might be a shape that maybe symbolic.  Once form has emerged from the clay, it may become fixed and permanent, or be crushed and rolled back up into a ball. Creating different forms can help a child find a way of expressing their inner emotions and thoughts.

Souter-Anderson (2010) states that clay is particularly useful when exploring feelings of anger. It can also act as an outlet to prevent the build-up of negative emotions and feelings in the child. Macks (1990) as cited in Henley (2002) talks about a client who dug her nails into the clay over and over again. He says that in order for “the therapeutic process to progress than all suppressed or imploded anger must first be imploded” (Sherwood, 2010:72). I found this to be very true in my experience of working with a nine-year-old boy. He was referred to play therapy as he had some difficulties mixing with other children in the school. He became very aggressive and anger at times and the school were concerned. His mother said he appeared sad a lot of the time. He was an only child who lived alone with his mother. His parents were young when he was born and his father is a drug addict. His father has been in and out of prison due to his drug addiction. He does see his father but it is very irregularly and he has come to see him as an acquaintance rather than a father.  He used to just come into the room and throw the clay at the board. I noticed he did this when he was annoyed or angry about something not necessarily his father but something that had happen in school or if he was angry with his mother or teachers. He eventually made it into a game. He drew a circle on the board and the nearer he threw the clay to the centre of the circle the more points he received. Sherwood (2010:105) states in her book is a particularly good way “for the release of anger since it splats on the board. The release is dramatic”.

Clay being an earthy medium by its very nature can take a lot of anger and rage. Clay in therapy provides a medium to work through issues such as anger, grief, and fear and move the client on in their therapeutic process. Another client used the clay to represent a lot of different emotions. The client was a ten-year-old girl that lived with her mother, her brother and half-sister in a disadvantaged area in the city. Her parents had separated two years previously and at the time the sessions commenced she was having difficulty accepting the situation. Her father and his new girlfriend had a baby and he moved in with her and created a new family unit. She did not consider herself to be part of this new family and over the course of the sessions, she became more isolated from her father and felt abandoned by him. She had difficulty using any of the tool kit but when the clay was introduced she used to throw at the board and the walls. She used to feel energized and it would improve her mood. Interestingly, in the latter phase of her play therapy, she began to make smiley faces. On one occasion she used the clay to do this. This client found it very difficult to talk about her real feelings so I felt the clay gave her an outlet to express them in a non-verbal way.

Self esteem

Working with clay can be rewarding for children who are hesitant about their creativity. You need very little skill to use clay and so there is hardly any chance of failure (Henley, 2002). The play therapy is non-directive and as the play therapist does not enforce any expectations or boundaries on the client, he can express himself freely in a confident matter and without restraint. Additionally, the important aspect of using clay which is often ignored in play therapy as we focus on the process rather than the product is the way it enables children to produce lasting pieces. This permanency of creation promotes a child’s self-esteem and when functional pieces are produced (e.g. cups, bowls) children see themselves as capable of engaging in a truly purposeful activity (White as cited in Schaffer, 2006).

I had this experience with one of my clients. This specific client had abandonment issues and was suffering from low self-esteem. In the early sessions, she preferred to talk but in one session she choose to work with the clay.  She made a SpongeBob out of the clay and she wanted to take it home however this conflicted with the boundaries we had set out for the play therapy sessions. She had agreed to leave everything in the playroom until her therapy was finished. However, this seemed very important to her and up to this point, she hadn’t asked to take anything else out of the room so  I spoke to my supervisor who told me to get her to make another one that she could specifically show her mother and her friends. The next session we created another SpongeBob in the room and she took it away.

The next week she told me how great her friends and mother thought it was.  She was extremely pleased with herself. The fact is clay can give children the material to make something out of nothing. They can put their own imprint on clay and therefore they bring something from the unconscious to the conscious (Heimlich and Mark, 1990 as cited in Sholt and Gavron, 2006). Clay products are tangible and can be examined at a later stage and the importance of this was evident in the case of my client. She used to look and admire her clay creations every week. Play provides children with unlimited opportunities to create, through the construction of clay, whereby they gain a sense of confidence and self-efficacy that boosts their self-esteem (Schaefer 2006).  Oaklander (1988) also advocates projective techniques such as clay sculpting which she claims is very useful to facilitate children and help them explore negative self-image and increase self-acceptance and self-esteem. I found from my own clients that using clay can be a satisfying experience that enables a child who can be hesitant about their creativity to be creative.

Group work

For many years clay has been used by psychotherapists and art therapist. in not only in As clay has been advocated by therapists as something that advances the therapeutic process individual but also group therapies (Anderson, 1995; Mattes and Robbins, 1981 as cited in Sholt and Gavron, 2006). Using clay can also be a very social activity. When appropriate, groups of children with similar presenting concerns are encouraged to interact together verbal communication skills, confidence and social skills are developed and promoted. Children will often exchange ideas and suggestions on how something can be made, and being able to show another child how to make something can be particularly rewarding (White, 2006). Co-operation and sharing of ideas in groups promote a sense of identity and a sense of belonging.  In a study carried out by Sweeney and Thomas as cited in Souter-Anderson (2010) focusing on the issue of transition, clay was the second most popular medium used. Sand tray work was the first. I found this very apparent in a group of four girls who were aged eleven I had for group play therapy. The overall aim of the therapy was to enable the clients to become more confident, more self-assured and to have a more positive image about themselves. One of the girls had difficulty in each session trying to decide what to do. The others in the group would just ignore her but one of the weeks we were using clay the other girls gave her ideas on what she could make. She felt supported and gave the strength to finish her clay model. She made a face. Up to this point, she had never completed anything. After she had completed her model with their direction, they as a group decided without being asked they decided to make a clay model together. They decided to make a plaque and decorate it with glitter and stars. The girl who could never complete anything to that point became very much involved and suggested that they are put their initials on the plaque.

The group had been quite separate up to the session we used the clay and I felt it was definitely instrumental in the bond in the group becoming closer and for moving them forward in the therapy. The client who found it difficult to decide what to do every week became much more confident and uninhibited when working with the clay. She put the clay all over her face (see photo below). She was enjoying the freedom of using the clay with no pressure to get it right or produce a perfect model. Another interesting observation I made was when one of the girls in the group made an ashtray for her father she spoke to the group of how she was very worried he would die if he didn’t stop smoking. These revelations led to another member of the group opening up about her fears for her mother who also smokes see photo below it is the clay model at the front. I felt this was certainly true with this particular group I had.

Using clay as a metaphor

Using clay to create metaphorical meaning can directly progress a client’s therapy. As mentioned earlier clay allows a client to access to their unconscious. If a client can tap into their unconscious they can begin to face the underlying cause of their difficulties. Winner (1998) as cited in Henley (2002) says that metaphors are a more effective way of capturing meaning than talking. The use of metaphors allows for the exploration of client’s social and emotional difficulties without having to confront the issues directly or resort to negative criticism (Henley, 2002) by creating symbolic equivalents to their thoughts feelings and behaviours. Working with metaphor as a means of problem-solving is an enjoyable and fun way of confronting serious issues.  The photo below shows one of my client’s clay representations of how he sees his mother. He sees as her as a snake.  It wasn’t a negative thing as the snake can represent protection and transformation. Henley (2002) states the in order to use clay as a suitable therapeutic medium it is important that the child has some ability in to think abstractly. Thus he believes that using this medium is most suitable for children over the age of 6. He believes that younger children may enjoy using the clay they would not necessary to benefit from it therapeutically.

This blog post explored some of the therapeutic benefits of using clay in play therapy. I have discovered that it undoubtedly helps a play therapy client express their emotions and this is due to the tactile nature of the clay. It is this mode of primal communication (touching) that helps emotions such as anger, greed, and grief be expressed in the clay. Using clay therapeutically allows you to grab an emotion and look at it in the face, touch it, shape it and feel it. It makes the intangible touchable.  From my research and my own personal experience, I have concluded that clay is extremely cathartic as clients have a strong emotional experience working with the clay. Due it is to its ability to be three dimensional, it can represent real-life objects. It can lead to regression and according to Henley (2002) regression that occurs through clay work leads to a cathartic release. It is powerful and penetrating and it enables an enormous release and transformation without the client having to talk about what is going on. However, the use of clay can tap into the unconscious mind and a therapeutic conversation about the visible product with the client can unlock the hidden memories. I have also seen how clay can act as a catalyst in encouraging group interaction and it helps with self-esteem and self-confidence. It also helps clients develop their social skills and helps the group members to support one another. It also can be instrumental in developing empathy. I feel that clay work that is symbolic or metaphoric can facilitate verbal communication and encourage people to speak about matters they wouldn’t have normally disclosed. Additionally, I think because of the need to focus on the clay when one manipulates clay can led to improved concentration.

I have a chapter about clay play therapy in the book below:


 Axline, V. (1947). Play Therapy: The inner dynamics of childhood. Cambridge: MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Axline, V. (1969). Play Therapy. New York: Ballantine Books.

Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and Loss (vol. 1). Hammondsworth: Penguin.

Cattanach, A. (1993). Process in Art Therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley Publications.

Freud, S. (2006). The Interpretation of Dreams. London: Penguin Group.

Henley, D. (1996). Clayworks in Art Therapy: Plying the Sacred Circle. London: Jessica Kingsley Publications.

Landreth, G. (2002 ). Play Therapy: The Art of the Relationship. New York: Routledge.

Oaklander, V. (1978). Windows to Our  Children. New York: The centre for Gestalt Development Inc.

Schaffer, C.  & Kadoun, H. (Eds) (2006)Contemporary Play Therapy. New York: Guildford Press.

Sherwood, P. (2010). The Healing Art of Clay Therapy. Melbourne: Acer Press.

Sholt, M. & Gavron, T. (2006). Therapeutic Qualities of Clay-work in Art Therapy and Psychotherapy: A Review. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 23 (2) pp.66-72. AATA, Inc.

Souter-Anderson (2010) Touching Clay, Touching What? Dorset: Archive Publishing.

Sunderland, M. (2003). Using Storytelling as a Therapeutic Tool with Children. Oxon: Speechmark Publishing Ltd.


Posted in Action Poems, Animal Stories, Drama techniques, Drama workshops for children, Fairy Tales, Goldilocks anD the three bears

A drama workshop for young children – Goldilocks and the Three Bears

This Goldilocks and the Three Bears workshop is from “Drama Workshops for Young Children” by Julie Meighan. This book contains 10 drama workshops for young children. These fun-to-use and easy-to-follow workshops are designed for children between the ages of 3 and 7. The workshops are based on children’s stories. Each story is introduced at the beginning of each workshop through a movement story or a play. The definition and aim of each drama strategy used are outlined in the drama strategy glossary at the beginning of the book. The aims of these drama workshops are to

Promote children’s self-regulation

Develop children’s language and communication skills

Teach children conflict resolution

Relieve children’s emotional tension

Allow children to develop a sense of ownership.

Promote children’s social interaction skills

Empower children

 Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Each child finds a space and sits down. Each child or a group of children are assigned a specific word and a corresponding action. The narrator/teacher reads the story aloud, and when the children hear their word, they must jump up and do their actions. The words are in bold to assist the teacher/narrator.

Movement: Action/sound.

Goldilocks: Skip around the space.

Bear/Bears: Walk slowly and growl.

Bowl/Bowls: Clasp fingers together and stick out arms to make a round shape.

Porridge: Wiggle body up and down.

Chair/s: Squat down and stick out arms.

Bed/s: Lie straight on the floor.

First: Hold up one finger.

Second: Hold up two fingers.

Third: Hold up three fingers.

Narrator: Once upon a time, there was a girl called Goldilocks. One day, she decided to go for a walk in the woods. Soon, she became tired. She saw a little cottage in the woods. She knocked, but there was no answer, so she decided to go inside and rest.

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed.

So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

“This porridge is too cold,” she said.

So, she tasted the third bowl of porridge.

“Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily, and she ate it all up.

After she’d eaten the three bears’ breakfasts, she decided she was feeling a little tired. So, she walked into the living room, where she saw three chairs. Goldilocks sat in the first chair to rest her feet.

“This chair is too big!” she exclaimed.

So, she sat in the second chair.

“This chair is too big, too!” she whined.

So, she tried the third and smallest chair.

“Ahhh, this chair is just right,” she sighed. But just as she settled down into the chair to rest, it broke into pieces!

Goldilocks was very tired by this time, so she went upstairs to the bedroom. She lay down in the first bed, but it was too hard. Then she lay in the second bed, but it was too soft. Then she lay down in the third bed, and it was just right. Goldilocks fell asleep.

As she was sleeping, the three bears came home.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” growled Papa bear.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” said Mama bear.

“Someone’s been eating my porridge, and they ate it all up!” cried Baby bear.

“Someone’s been sitting in my chair,” growled Papa bear.

“Someone’s been sitting in my chair,” said Mama bear.

“Someone’s been sitting in my chair, and they’ve broken it all to pieces,” cried Baby bear.

They decided to look around some more, and when they got upstairs to the bedroom, Papa bear growled, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed,”

“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed, too,” said Mama bear

“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed, and she’s still there!” exclaimed Baby bear.

Just then, Goldilocks woke up and saw the three bears. She screamed, “Help!” And she jumped up and ran out of the room. Goldilocks ran down the stairs, opened the door, and ran away into the woods. And Goldilocks never returned to the home of the three bears.

More movement stories can be found here and here.

Introduction: Show the children pictures. Tell them there are 8 different types of bears. There are eight species in the bear family: Asiatic Black Bear, Brown Bear, North American Black Bear, Panda Bear, Polar Bear, Sloth Bear, Spectacled Bear, and the Sun Bear.

Warm-up: The warm-up is a movement activity called “Does a Bear Live in the Woods?”

A clear space is needed. The teacher explains to the class that they must lie down on the ground when they come across a bear in the woods and keep very still. One child volunteers to be the bear. The bear goes to one end of the clear space and turns his/her back on the rest of the class. All the other children try to sneak up behind the bear. When the bear turns around, all the children must lie very still on the ground. If the bear sees you moving, s/he pulls you away to join him/her. Then there are two bears. Eventually, all the children are caught moving and become bears.

Voice production: Tell the children that they are going to explore different voices. We need to change our voices to show different emotions or to become different characters.

Get the group to repeat the following lines together in their normal voices:

Who has been sitting in my chair?

Who has eating my porridge?

Who has been sleeping in my bed?

Now, get the children to say the lines in the following ways:












Role-play: “Now we are going to warm up our bodies. Everyone find a space and walk around the room as yourself. When I say freeze, I will call out different ways of walking….

Walk as

Papa bear

Mama bear

Baby bear


Grumpy Papa bear

Kind Mama bear

Happy Baby bear

Surprised Goldilocks

Sculpting: Divide the class into pairs: one person is the sculptor the other is the clay. Get the sculptor to mould the clay into…

How did Goldilocks feel when the bears found her?

How did Baby bear feel when he saw that his porridge had been eaten?

How did Mama bear feel when she saw that someone had been sleeping in her bed?

How did Papa bear feel when he saw Goldilocks sleeping in the bed?

It can be abstract. The teacher/children look at each sculpture and guess how the characters are feeling.

Movement poem: Teach the children the following poem and actions.

When Goldilocks Went to the House of the Bears

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears (the children walk on the spot), oh, what did her blue eyes see? (The children point to their eyes.)

A bowl that was huge and a bowl that was small and a bowl that was tiny and that was all. (Children make increasingly smaller shapes with their arms to represent each bowl.) And she counted them – one, two, three! (They use one finger to point as if counting each bowl.)

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears (walk on the spot), oh, what did her blue eyes see? (Point to their eyes.)

A chair that was huge and a chair that was small, and a chair that was tiny and that was all. (Use hands to show the different heights and the size of each chair, getting smaller all the time.) And she counted them – one, two, three! (Use their fingers to point, as if counting each chair.)

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears (walk on the spot), oh, what did her blue eyes see? (Point to their eyes.)

A bed that was huge and a bed that was small and a bed that was tiny and that was all. (Use their hands to show the increasingly smaller length and size of each bed.) And she counted them – one, two, three! (Use their fingers to point, as if counting each bed.)

When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears (walk on the spot), oh, what did her blue eyes see? (Point to their eyes.)

A bear that was huge and a bear that was small and a bear that was tiny and that was all. (Use hands to show the increasingly smaller height and size of each bear.)

Closure/the bears are coming: The teacher tells the children, “Before we had the internet, cars, computers, trains, planes, washing machines, and hoovers, people had to chop wood. Talk about the type of jobs people did in the olden days.” All the children must find some physical action, based on an old-fashioned job like wood chopping, hunting, or washing clothes, and begin doing this action somewhere in the room. The teacher/volunteer leaves the room momentarily and returns as the bear. Once the bear arrives, the children must freeze where they are, and the bear must try to make the other children laugh. If a child laughs, they become a bear, and the bears work together until they have made everyone laugh. The bears cannot touch the frozen children!





Posted in Christmas drama games, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Plays for Children

More Christmas Drama Games for Children

Christmas Drama Games for Children

Game: If I Could Be a Christmas Toy…

Age: 3 years +

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Clear space.

 Benefits: This game stimulates creativity. It helps the children to move and to get into different roles.

Instructions: Each child in the circle takes it in turn to say for example: “Hi, my name is Anna, and if I could be any Christmas toy, I would be a football because…” The children should be encouraged to come up with unusual toys. They could also comment on and respond to the other children’s choice of toy. At the end, the teacher can get the children to imagine that they are in the toy shop and then they walk around the clear space pretending to be their chosen toy.

Christmas Drama Games for Children

Game: All I Want for Christmas Is…

Age: 4 years +

Minimum number of participants: 5

Resources needed: Clear space.

Benefits: This game stimulates the imagination and is very good for focussing on memory skills. It is also an excellent listening game.

Instructions: Everyone sits in a circle. The teacher starts by saying something like: “All I want for Christmas is a doll…”  The child next to the teacher follows by first repeating what the teacher said and adding an item to the list: “All I want for Christmas is a doll and a PlayStation…” The next child continues by saying something like: “All I want for Christmas is a doll and a PlayStation and a guitar.” The game continues, with each child repeating what the previous children have said and adding one item to the Christmas list. If a child makes a mistake, then they are out of the game. The list continues until there is only one child left in the game.

Christmas Drama Games for Children

Game: Follow the Reindeer

Age: 4 years +

Minimum number of participants: 3

Resources needed: Clear space.

Benefits: This game also improves reaction and observation skills.

Instructions: All the children stand in a circle and they start walking on the spot. The teacher/volunteer is the reindeer. The reindeer makes a gesture and the children copy it, for example, waving their left hand. Then the reindeer shouts out the name of one of the children in the group and they must change or add to the action, for example, waving their left and right hands. The game can continue until everyone in the circle has had a chance to add or to change an action.

Christmas Drama Games for Children

Game: Santa Claus’s Glasses

Age: 4 years +

Minimum number of participants: 5

Resources needed: Clear space, glasses.

 Benefits: This is an effective listening game. It can also be used to improve concentration skills.

Instructions: One child is chosen to be Santa Claus. Santa Claus puts the glasses on his head and faces a wall at one side of the clear space. The other children in the group must go to the other side of the space. They must try to creep up on Santa Claus and take his glasses. Santa Claus can turn around suddenly at any time. If he sees anyone moving that child must start again from the beginning.

More Christmas drama games

The Littlest Xmas Tree Play for Children


Posted in Action Poems, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Drama games for 4 year olds, Mime, Movement activities, Movement stories for children

The Magical Music Shop -A Movement Story

The Magical Music Shop -A Movement Story

Resources needed: Clear space, triangle and pictures of different types of instruments (optional).

Introduction: Tell the children they are going to participate in a movement story about a magical music shop. Show them pictures of different type of instruments. Discuss different kind of musical instrument families.

Brass instruments are made of brass or another metal and they make sound when air is blown into them. The instruments in the brass family include trumpet, trombone, tuba, French horn, cornet, and bugle.

Percussion instruments usually make sound when they are hit or shaken. The instruments in the percussion family include drums, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, chimes, bells, and xylophone.

String instruments are made with strings. The strings may be struck, plucked or bowed. The instruments in this family include violin, viola, cello, bass.

Woodwind instruments make sound when air is blown inside or across them and vibrates. Woodwind instruments include flute, clarinet, recorder, bassoon, and oboe.

Ask the children what their favourite instrument is? If they could be an instrument what would it be? Why did they choose it? What sound does their chosen instrument make? If their instrument could move how would it move? What kind of musical family does their chosen instrument belong to? Make sure everyone has a chance to explain their choice. Before the story starts get one of the children to volunteer to be the music shop owner. The teacher is the narrator. The rest of the children are their chosen instruments.

Narrator: Once upon a time there was a very special music shop. The music shop was special because all the instruments that lived in the shop were magic. (The children all freeze in the shape of their instrument.) The music shop owner loved his instruments very much. He treated them with tender loving care. (The owner goes around the shop. He polishes and dusts all the instruments.) Every night the owner would close the shop and go upstairs to bed. (The shop owner goes off to bed and lies on the floor and falls asleep. He snores loudly.) What the owner didn’t know was when the clock struck midnight the instruments would come alive. (Narrator tinkles the triangle.) The magic instruments would come down from their shelves and out from the window display. (The instruments start to move slowly out of their positions.) They would all play together. (The instruments start playing their music and moving around interacting with one another.) The instruments were so happy when they were with their friends. They had so much fun and nobody knew about their magic powers. Every morning when the instruments heard the music shop owner’s footsteps (the owner makes loud stomping noises with his feet) they would quickly run back to their places on the shelves or in the window display. (The instruments go back to their original positions and freeze.) Every morning the music shop owner would walk around the shop inspecting his instruments and every morning he would rub his head and say, “That’s funny. I thought I had put the violin on that shelf, or didn’t I leave the drum on the window.” But the music shop owner never suspected a thing and every night when he went to bed and the clock struck midnight the instruments would play to their hearts content. (The instruments come out and play.) Every morning the music shop owner would come and they would quickly move back to their places. (The instruments move quickly back to their positions.) (The narrator can say this section as many times as he wants.)

After a while the music shop owner knew something was not quite right. So one morning he tiptoed into the shop and he found the instruments all playing together. (The owner tiptoes very quietly into the shop.) He heard the most beautiful

Other movement stories:

The hare and the tortoise 

Adventures in Space

Posted in Drama for children

Chinese New Year Free Play Script for Children. Chinese Zodiac Story.

This Chinese new  year is the year of the rat. Did you ever wonder how each Chinese year was assign an animal. Read the following children’s play and you will find out.

Characters: Three narrators, three Jade Emperors, rat, cat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, horse, snake, goat, rooster, monkey, dog and boar.

(Stage directions: three narrators on the left hand side of the stage. All the other characters walk around the stage showing confusion on their faces.)

Narrator 1: Long time ago in China. There was no such thing as time.

Narrator 2: Because there was no such thing as time, no one knew when to get up, or when to have their dinner or when to go to school or even when to play and have fun.

Narrator 3: Nobody did anything at the same time.

Narrator 1: The Jade Emperors who were the Emperors of Heaven knew this was a problem. (The Jade Emperors are standing on chairs looking down on all the chaos.)

Narrator 2: They decided to do some thing about it.

Jade Emperor 1: What are we going to do?

Jade Emperor 2: Everything is in chaos.

Jade Emperor 3: No one knows when to do things.

Jade Emperor 1: We have to come up with a way of measuring time.

Jade Emperor 2: Easier said then done.

Jade Emperor 3: How will we measure it?

Jade Emperor 1: Well, I have an idea.

Jade Emperor 2 and 3: Oh please, tell us.

Jade Emperor 1: Well, we could have a swimming race and the first twelve animals across the line will have a year named after them.

Jade Emperor 2: That’s a wonderful idea. Let’s call the animals.

Narrator 3: All the animals were summoned and were told about the Jade Emperor’s solutions for creating time. (They mime calling the animals and having a conversation while the narrators are talking.)

Narrator 1: All the animals were excited and lined up.

Narrator 2: Both the cat and the rat knew they weren’t good swimmers so they asked to Ox to help.

Rat: Ox can you help us, because you are so strong?

Cat: And so kind.

Ox: Of course, jump on my back and I’ll help you get across the river.

(They all line up for the race and start swimming: the ox is in front with both the cat and rat on his back. They swim around for a while and just as they approach the end of the race the rat throws the cat off the ox’s back and jumps onto the ox’s back so he is the first to cross the line.)

Rat: I won! I won!

Jade Emperor 1: Well done. The first year in the zodiac will be known as the Year of Rat. (He gets off his chair and shakes the rat’s hand and gives him a medal.)

Ox: You tricked me, rat.

Jade Emperor 2: Never mind, the second year of the zodiac will be called after you. (He gets off his chair and shakes the ox’s hand and gives him a medal.)

Tiger: (struggling to swim against the current.) I am exhausted. I never swan so far before.

Emperor 3: The year of the tiger will be the third sign of the zodiac. (He gets off his chair and shakes the tiger’s hand and gives him a medal.)

Rabbit: (floating on a log) I am sorry to say I can’t swim. I hopped across on some stepping stones and then found a floating log which carried me to the shore.

Emperor 1: Well done, Rabbit. That showed imagination, so I am happy to name the fourth year after you. (He gets off his chair and shakes the rabbit’s hand and gives him a medal. Dragon comes swooping down.)

Emperor 2: Dragon, why are you so late? You should have won as you can fly as well as swim.

Dragon: I was in the lead but then I saw the rabbit on a log and he needed some help so I huffed and puffed so that the log reached the shore.

Emperor 2: Well that was very kind of you and now you are here you will have the fifth year of the zodiac named after you. (He gets off his chair and shakes the dragon’s hand and gives him a medal.)

Horse: Neigh! Neigh! I am going to be the sixth year. (Horse comes galloping in with the snake next to him. Snake sneaks up behind and scares him.)

Snake: Boo! (Horse jumps back.) No, Horse, I am going to be the sixth year of the zodiac.

Horse:  Well, I suppose I’ll have to settle with (for?) seventh place. I don’t mind as seven is a lucky number. (Emperors shake their hands and give them their medals.)

Narrator 1: Not long afterwards a raft arrived carrying the goat, the monkey and the rooster.

Goat: We shared the raft that the rooster found.

Rooster: The monkey and goat helped me push the raft into the water.

Monkey: We worked really well together.

Emperor: I am very pleased you worked as a team. The goat can be the eighth zodiac animal, the monkey the ninth and the rooster the tenth. (He shakes their hands and gives them medals.)

Goat, Rooster Monkey: Hurrah, we can stay together on the calendar. (The dog arrives very slowly.)

Emperor 2: Dog, where have you been? You are the best swimmer out of all the animals.

Dog: The river was so clean I decided to have a bath.

Emperor 3: Well, as you are so late then you will have to settle for eleventh place. We have only one place left. (He gets off his chair and shakes the dog’s hand and gives him a medal. The boar comes along.)

Emperor 1: Where have you been, boar? You nearly missed out on the last place.

Boar: It was such a lovely day I decided to stop and have a rest. I am here now and I am the final zodiac animal.

Emperor 2: Congratulations. (He gets off his chair and shakes the boar’s hand and gives him a medal. Cat struggles out of the water. He is not happy.)

Emperor 3: I am sorry, cat, all the places are gone.

Cat: (starts crying) Boo, hoo. I will never forgive the rat.

Narrator 2: Since then cats have never been friends with rats.

(All the animals line up in order and take a bow. The cat is in the corner sulking.)

For more children’s play click here.
Check out there following free children’s plays


The Monkey and the Crocodile

The Buddha and the Beggar man