Game: Object relay
Age: 5 years +
Minimum number of participants: 4
Resources: Clear space, a ball and a variety of objects (optional).
Instructions: Children stand in a line. If there are lots of children in the class you make more than one line. Each line has a ball. The ball must be passed down the circle. The teacher calls out the instruction of how the ball should be passed down the line. Once the ball gets to the end of line it has to be passed back.
Pass the ball overhead.
Pass the ball between your legs.
Pass the ball without using your hands.
Pass the ball by just using your chest.
Pass the ball by just using your head.
If a team drops the ball then they have to go back to the beginning.
Extension: You could have a box of different objects that they must be passed down the line. Each line should have the same objects. The line that gets all the objects down safely are the winners.
Game: Bean Bag balance
Age: 4 years +
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources: Clear space, bean bags for each member of the class.
Instructions: Have the children put a bean bag on their heads and they walk slowly around the room. Once they feel comfortable the children can walk faster and faster. They can see if they can run with the bean bag on their heads. Once they have master balancing the beanbags on their head then they can see if they can balance the bean bag on other parts of their bodies.
Suggested Body Parts:
Again they start off slowly and then they get faster and faster. The child can balance on the most body parts and move the fastest is the winner.
Game: Pick up the bean bag
Age: 3 years +
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources: Clear space and a variety of bean bags.
Instructions: The teacher gets a variety of bean bags and spread them across the space. The children have 10 seconds to see how many beanbags they can collect.
Characters: One storyteller, Doll, Teddy Bear, Train Set, Colouring Pencil, Toy Car, Money Pig, Aeroplane, Mother.
Storyteller: Once upon a time, there was a nursery that had lots of toys. There was a doll, teddy bear, a toy car, colouring pencil, aeroplane and even a train set.
Doll: Look, at how beautiful I am. (Admires herself in the mirror.)
Teddy Bear: (Sings the lyrics and does the actions.)
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Touch the ground!
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Jump up high!
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Touch the sky!
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Bend down low!
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Touch your toes!
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Turn out the light!
Teddy bear, teddy bear,
Say good night!
Colouring Pencil: I’m such a fabulous colour.
Train set: Choo, choo, all aboard. (He moves around the room and all the toys join him to make a train.)
Doll: What’s that up here? (Points to the top of the cupboard.)
Teddy Bear: Doll, that’s the money box in the shape of a pig.
Toy Car: He lives up there on top of the cupboard
Colouring Pencil: He doesn’t talk or play with any of the other toys in the nursery.
Train Set: He thinks he is way better than us.
Money Pig: I’m by far the best toy in the nursery. I’ve lots of money in my tummy. When I’m full, I can buy any toy in this nursery
Storyteller: One night while the family were sleeping, the doll said…
Doll: Let’s play house.
All toy: (Jump up and down.) Yes let’s.
Doll: What about the Money Pig. Let’s ask him to join us.
Teddy Bear: We will have to write him a letter because he is so high up.
Colouring Pencil: I’ll do it. (Reads out the letter as he writes it.)
Dear Money Pig,
Please join us.
We are playing house.
Lots of love,
All the toys.
Aeroplane come here.
Aeroplane: Yes, colouring Pencil. What can I do for you?
Colouring Pencil: Please deliver this letter to the Money Pig.
Aeroplane: My pleasure.
(Aeroplane flies to the top of cupboard and delivers the letter.)
(Money Pig opens the letter.)
Money Pig: (Shouts down) I’ll join you but I won’t be climbing down to your level. I’m way too important for that.
Doll: We will bring the doll’s house in front of the cupboard
Storyteller 1: The toys took turns to act out different family stories.
(Toys improvise family scenarios.)
Money Pig: This is such a boring game. I’ll just sit here and think of all the money in my tummy.
Doll: Be careful, colouring pencil. You are going to crash into the cupboard.
Colouring Pencil: (Colouring pencil bashes into the cupboard.) Too late. I already have.
(Money pig begins to wobble.)
Money Pig: What’s happening. I’m losing my balance. I’m going to faaaallll.
(He crashes down on to the floor and the money spills everywhere.)
Doll: Oh dear, he is broken, but look at all the money.
Teddy Bear: Quick, someone is coming; back to our places. (All the toys run to their places and freeze.)
Mother: What’s all the noise about? Oh dear, what happened here? The Money Pig must have fallen off the cupboard. I better pick up all the money.
Storyteller: The next day mother came back to the playroom.
Mother: I used the money to buy a brand new Money Pig. (She places the new Money Pig on top of the cupboard.)
For more plays based on Hans Christian Andersen’s stories, click here.
Characters: Three storytellers, fox, crow, mice, dogs, cows, horses. You can have as many mice, dogs, cows and horses as you wish. Storyteller 1: One day a crow was out searching for some food.
(Crow is flying around the stage looking for food.)
Storyteller 2: She came across a nice piece of cheese. (She stops as she spots some cheese and she swoops down to get it.) Storyteller 3: She grabbed the cheese with her beak and said… Crow: What a lovely piece of cheese! I will keep it all for myself and not share it with anyone. Storyteller 1: She flew to the top of the tree. Storyteller 2: After a while some mice came along. They squeaked… Mice: Squeak, squeak, Crow please share your cheese with us. Crow: Oh no, I will not share my cheese with you. Storyteller 3: The mice were sad and hungry so they scampered off looking for food in the woods. Storyteller 1: Then some dogs came along. They barked … Dogs: Woof, woof, Crow please share your cheese with us. Crow: Oh no, I will not share my cheese with you. Storyteller 2: The dogs were sad and hungry so they bounded off looking for food in the woods. Storyteller 3: A few minutes later some cows passed by. They mooed … Cows: Moo, moo, Crow please share your cheese with us. Crow: Oh no, I will not share my cheese with you. Storyteller 1: The cows were sad and hungry so they walked off looking for food in the woods. Storyteller 2: Finally, some horses came along. They neighed … Horses: Neigh, neigh, Crow please share your cheese with us. Crow: Oh no, I will not share my cheese with you. Storyteller 3: The horses were sad and hungry so they galloped off looking for food in the woods. Storyteller 1: Then along came a fox. He said to himself… (Fox faces the audience.) Fox: That cheese looks delicious and it would be perfect for my breakfast. Storyteller 2: Then he had an idea. Fox: Good Morning Crow, you beautiful bird. Crow: I’m not stupid. I know what you want. Fox: All I want is to hear you sing. You must be queen of all the birds and your voice must be beautiful. I would love to hear you, but maybe I’m wrong. (The fox turns to leave.) Storyteller 3: The crow was very flattered. Crow: Wait Fox, come back. I’ll show you how beautifully I can sing. Storyteller 1: She opened her mouth and began to caw. Crow: Caw, Caw, Caw. Storyteller 2: The cheese fell out of her mouth and onto the ground. The fox picked it up quickly. Fox: Thanks very much. (He swallows the cheese and licks his lips.) Crow, I tricked you. Storyteller 3: Off the fox went into the woods looking for another breakfast. Storytellers: The lesson of this story is beware of people who flatter you.
To listen to the audio book of Aesop’s Fables on Stage click on the link below:
Storyteller 1: Once upon a time a long time ago.
Storyteller 2: All the animals in the world decided to have a big party to celebrate the midsummer.
Storyteller 3: It was a midsummer party and all the animals in the world were going.
Storyteller 1: From the tiniest ant to the enormous elephant.
Storyteller 2: The animals arrived Two by two.
(Everyone sings the animals arrived two by two hurrah hurrah.)
Storyteller 3: Eventually, all the animals had arrived.
(Monkey is ticking off the all the names as the animals enter. He has a click board and looks very official. Giraffe is the look out.)
Monkey: Is that everyone?
Giraffe: I think so, I can’t see anyone else coming.
Lion: Well, let’s get this party started. Welcome, everyone to this party to celebrate the
midsummer. I hope everyone will have wonderful time tonight. I want to introduce the band. Back by popular demand all the way from the Jungle. I would like to introduce our band- the animals.
(Everyone cheers, and claps Elephant is playing her trumpet with his trunk, the bear is playing the drums with his feet. Other animal musical instruments.)
Storyteller 1: Everyone danced and chatted and had a merry time.
Kangaroo: Stop the music. I just noticed that the camel isn’t here.
Crocodile: Never mind him, he is so grumpy.
Penguin: He couldn’t be bothered coming.
Giraffe: No wait, I see something coming up in the hill in the distance.
(Monkey climbs up the tree.)
Monkey: It is the camel and he doesn’t look very happy.
(The camel trundles up the hill very slowly)
Penguin: We should be very welcoming to him, when he arrives.
(Camel eventually makes his way up the hill.)
Animals: Hello Camel, welcome to the midsummer’s eve party.
Lion: Come and join us.
Camel: (sighs and wipes his brow.) This better be a good party. I have come an awfully long way.
Frog: It will be wonderful. Let’s play a game of leap frog,
(All the animals jump over one another.)
Pig: That was fun but now let’s play piggy in the middle.
(All the animals throw a ball and the pig tries to catch it.)
Storyteller 2: Everyone had so much fun.
Storyteller 3: Then the dolphins performed a lovely water display.
(Music is playing.)
Monkey: now it my turn to show my contemporary dance.
Storyteller 1: The monkey danced, and all the other animals were impressed.
(All the animals cheer and clap when the monkey is finished.)
Pig: That was amazing.
Frog: You are such a good dancer,
Camel: Harrumph! What’s all the clapping and cheering about. Anyone can dance like that.
Kangaroo: That’s not true. The monkey is a very good dancer.
Ant: You are such a grumpy all hump, Camel.
Elephant: You are just jealous Camel, everyone knows camels can’t dance.
Camel: Of course, Camels can dance.
Monkey: Go on then, show us how camels can dance.
(The Camel slowly makes his way to the middle of the circle. All the animals are staring at him and there is a deafening silence.)
Penguin: Band, Music please.
Storyteller 1: The band started to play, and the camel started to dance.
Storyteller 2: It was the most peculiar dance they had ever seen.
(Camel gives a sideways hop and wiggle and then falls over and he bashes into the band and the music stops.)
Squirrel: Watch where you are going.
(The camel does a high kick and hits the kangaroo.)
Kangaroo: Ouch. (Kangaroo starts limping.)
Storyteller 3: The camel swings his tail and the rabbit is knocked to the floor.
Storyteller 1: Then, he nearly trod on the ants.
Ant/s: Oh, my goodness. Somebody stop him before he kills us.
(The camel is so clumsy that all the animals scatter to the far side of the stage.)
Lion: (roars) Stop! Stop Camel.
Camel: But I’m in the middle of my dance. Can’t you see I’m the best dancer here.
Storyteller 1: Then, the unimaginable happened.
Storyteller 2: He stood on the lion’s tail.
(All the animals freeze.)
Camel: Is it just me? But I get the feeling you didn’t like my dance Lion. (Looks around.) why is anyone clapping.
Pig: Your dancing is ……horrible.
Camel:(hangs his head) I must admit that it wasn’t as fun as the monkey’s dance. (Looks at the monkey) You dance very well, Monkey.
Monkey: Thank you. You have special talents too. You can walk for miles without water and you can give everyone rides on your hump.
Kangaroo: Everyone has a talent.
Lion: The world would be a strange place if we all good at the same thing.
Camel: I guess you are right. Well who would like on my hump.
All animals: Me.
Camel: Hop on then.
Storyteller 1: The camel smiled with pride and pleasure.
Storyteller 2: The moral of the story is
Storyteller 3: Everyone is good at something.
Game: Rainbow Age: 4 years+ Minimumnumberof participants: 7 Resourcesneeded: Clear space and a chair for each student – if you do not have chairs you can use sheets of paper or cushions. OtherBenefits: This is a well-known game which can also be used very effectively as a listening game or an observation game. Instructions: All the children sit in circle on a chair or a cushion. The teacher chooses three or more different colours of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet and goes around the circle giving each person the name of a colour in a particular order, for example, red, orange, yellow. A child is then chosen, or volunteers, to go into the centre of the circle. His/Her chair is taken away. The child in the centre calls out the name of one of the three colours.. If the child in the centre says red then all the reds change place, if s/he says yellow, all the yellows change place and if s/he says orange, all the oranges change places. If s/he says rainbow then everyone changes places. The child who is left without a chair goes into the centre for the next round.
Game: What’s the time Mr. Leprechaun ? Age: 3 years+ Minimumnumberofparticipants: 4 Resourcesneeded: Clear space. OtherBenefits: This is a popular traditional children’s game that can also be used very effectively in a drama session as a warm-up game. This game also helps children with their listening and co-ordination skills. Instructions: One child is chosen or volunteers to be Mr. or Ms. Leprechaun 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. Leprechaun ?” The leprechaun does not turn around. He/she replies in a leprechaun like voice: “four o’clock.” The children walk forward the number of steps the leprechaun calls out (in this case, four). The children ask again: “What time is it Mr./Ms. Leprechaun ?” The leprechaun replies: “five o’clock.” The children take five steps forward. The children continue to ask the question and to walk the appropriate amount of steps forward. Eventually, when the leprechaun thinks that the children are near enough he/she will say: “Dinnertime!” Then the leprechaun turns around and chases the children. They have to try to rush back to their starting place. If Mr./Ms. Leprechaun catches one of them before they reach home, that child is the wolf in the next game.
Game: Colours of the Rainbow Age: 4 years+ Minimumnumberofparticipants: 2 Resourcesneeded: Clear space. OtherBenefits: This game helps the child hone their observation skills but it can also be used as a fun warm up or movement activity.
Instructions: The teacher calls out a colour of the rainbow, for example blue. The children must then look for an object in the clear space that is blue. All the children must run to the blue object. The last person to get there is out.
Game: Leprechaun’sunderpants Age: 5 years+ Minimumnumberofparticipants: 3 Resourcesneeded: Clear space. OtherBenefits: This helps to improve eye contact and children body language. It also stimulates the imagination as the children have to come up with unique questions. Instructions: The children sit in a circle. One child sits in the middle of the circle and everyone in the circle takes it in turns to ask him/her a question, for example: “What did you have for breakfast?” The child in the middle is only allowed to answer “Leprechaun underpants’ and they must not laugh or smile. If they laugh or smile they have to change places with the child whose question made them laugh.
If you want a copy of Irish Legends on Stage click here.
Instructions: Ask the children to look at their clothing. Ask them to notice the colors they are wearing. Tell the children that when you name a color they are wearing, they will jump up and then sit back down. Be sure the children have enough space to move without hurting other children. If your space is limited, they can all stand and then hop when their color is called. Call out one color. Help children by drawing attention to the colors they are wearing. Example: “Mara, is that red on your shirt?”
Game: Alphabet Jump
Instructions: Tell the children that you are going to name a letter of the alphabet. When a child’s name begins with that letter, that child can jump up and then sit back down. Recite the alphabet, and pause when you reach a letter that begins a child’s name. If that child hesitates, repeat the letter and look at the child. You can prompt a child by saying, “B. B. I think Bryan starts with B.” If a child jumps on the wrong letter, say, “Oops, Janna, you jumped to
Game:The Shake it Song
Instructions: As you sing this little song, move your body with the words. (i.e. when you say “shake it high!” shake your arms and head up high. When you say/sing “shake it low”, bend down and shake your body in a low crouched or squat position – a pile for my ballet trained friends!)
SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE
SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE
Shake it HIGH!
Shake it LOW.
Shake it all about!
(repeat at least 3X)
You can choose to turn around when you sing “Shake it all about” – or you can simply shake your whole body. Allow whatever movement happens freely as you play with your child. Sing the song at least three times. You really want to get into the fun like to end my 3-4 and 5-6 classes with what I call “body awareness freeze game”. So it’s like freeze dance except no one’s out if they move during a freeze moment. Instead, I shout out directions every time the music stops. There are two categories: directions that affect how they move, and directions that will affect the shape they will form with their bodies when the music stops.
For example, I may say: “until the music stops you will make a hand dance” and dance mostly with their hands. Then the music stops and I say “Now you will make a shoulder dance”. etc.
With the other variation, I let them dance however they want, and then I say “Next time the music stops I want you to make straight lines with your arms and legs” and then they do it when the music stops. Then I give them something else “Next time the music stops you have to have one foot and one hand in the air”… It can be anything really, I just want them to be creative and start problem solving with their bodies… When there’s a holiday coming up I ask them to shape their body like a star, like a Christmas tree, or like a heart for valentine’s day. They love it and that way they are still developing skills and body awareness while having crazy loads of fun!
For more movement games and activities, click here.
Aesop was an ancient Greek storyteller who was is believed to have lived around 500 B.C. He was a Phrygian slave. He was owned by two different masters before gaining his freedom due to his intelligence. He went from place to place telling his fables to the masses however it is also widely believed that he did not write most of them, he just collected them. Aesop’s fables were used to offer advice to their audience. He supposedly met his death by being thrown a cliff at Delphi for being ugly and deformed. Over the centuries Aesop’s fables have been rewritten, illustrated and translated into every language in the world.
A fable is a short story. Fables typically involve animals with human like qualities. Usually in a fable, the time and the place are unspecified. Often fables illustrate how smaller and weaker characters use their intelligence to defeat the bigger and more powerful characters. There is always a hero, a villain, a character with a weakness and most importantly a moral. A moral is a lifelong lesson.
The most common characters found in fables are:
There are always good characters and evil characters.
Examples of good characters:
Cow. Examples of evil characters:
Write your own fable:
Character with a weakness:
The Lion and Mouse
A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion’s nose. Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her.
“Spare me!” begged the poor Mouse. “Please let me go and some day I will surely repay you.”
The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go.
Some days later, while stalking his prey in the forest, the Lion was caught in the toils of a hunter’s net. Unable to free himself, he filled the forest with his angry roaring. The Mouse knew the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net. Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it until it parted, and soon the Lion was free.
“You laughed when I said I would repay you,” said the Mouse. “Now you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion.”
“A kindness is never wasted”
Click here for more children’s plays based on Aesop’s fables.
• Everyone has learnt a lesson for a story.
• A story is metaphorical when used to communicate something more than the events itself.
• Symbols are the smallest units of metaphor.
• The story is a metaphor for the ideas it expresses.
• The Importance of fantasy.
The Importance of Fantasy:
Fantasy is the inner world of the child.
Two types of play:
• Imitative – follow the leader, cook like a mother
• Fantasy or symbolic play – a chair becomes a rocket.
Options about what to do when presented difficult issues
• New possibilities, creative solutions for overcoming problems
• Ways to dealing more effectively with emotional difficulties
• Options for new ways of reacting to situations.
• Allows the child to stay longer in the situation.
• Provides the means for the child to stay look at his powerful feelings from a distance.
Unknown Thought (Bollas, 1987):
• “ I know this exactly but I have not ever thought it” (Margot Sunderland, 2007)
• When an unknown thought can be named, then it can be thought through and felt through.
• Children need emotional education and therapeutic story help achieve this education.
The Child and the therapeutic story:
• Must be aptly chosen
• Must identify with the main character
• Must suffer the defeats, obstacles and courage of the main character
• Must feel the character’s joys and relief in coming through conflict and crisis to resolution.
• Must be indirect – this where safety lies.
When to tell a Therapeutic Story:
When the child is
– Giving full attention
– Being receptive
– Not distracted
– Before they go to sleep.
Important things to remember:
Story can be
-Do not put irrelevant character or side plots into the story,
-Symbolic and not literal,
-Can be interactive.
Therapeutic Story Making:
• Identify a list of emotional issues that children may experience.
• Set a therapeutic objective
• What would you like to change?
• Think of a strategy to achieve this change.
Develop a framework:
• Put the issues into a different metaphorical context ……to which the child can relate.
• Borrow ideas from stories you know.
• Start at the end a work backwards.
• Present the main character as experience the same emotional problem as the child- Metaphorical conflict.
• Show the main character using similar methods to deal with the problem as those used by the child – personify unconscious processes and potential in the form of heroes/helpers and villains or obstructions.
• Show how these methods lead your character problems which lead to failure –metaphorical crisis.
• The story so far should have captured the whole context of how that character came to that moment of crisis in their life.
Move towards the solution – vital part of the journey-someone in the story appears to help the character change direction and to move on to a better coping mechanism which makes them feel a lot better.
• Don’t move too quick – story becomes unbelievable.
• Show the journey from crisis to positive solution – new
sense of identification
• Culminates with a celebration in which the protagonist’s special worth is acknowledged.
A symbol – a word or image which implies one thing but means something else.
• Locked door
• Hole in the heart
Metaphors – using language to talk about one thing while meaning something else.
• Watching paint dry.
• Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
• Give me the bottom line.
• Don’t put your eggs in one basket.
• Metaphorical Conflict – Birth of funny looking duckling.
• Unconscious processes and potentials – Mother defends him, cites positive qualities, gets a first look at swans.
• Parallel learning situations – Learning to swim, take care of himself and fly.
• Metaphorical crisis – Attack in the marsh, cold winter in the pond.
• New identification – Beholds beautiful new image in the water.
• Celebration – The old swans are in awe of him.
• In groups think of a fairytale that could be used as a therapeutic story. Put it into the above framework. The Magic Forest
Once upon a time there was a young child called Matilda. Matilda’s parents were the king and queen of the magic forest. The king, Matilda’s father was very ……………….. and the queen, Matilda’s mother was always ……………….. Matilda was the kind of child who never …………………… but always ………. Sometimes the king, the queen and Matilda would ………………… but they never ……………… All of them would sometimes go …………and Matilda would feel ……….. One day while walking in the magic forest, Matilda lost her way. She tried and tried to see if she could get back home to the castle. Matilda became ……….. After a while a wizard came hobbling along the path and told Matilda ………………… The wizard also gave …………. The first thing that Matilda did was ………. and she ……………
Finally, after wandering around for a long time, Matilda recognised the path back to the castle. She hurried towards it but suddenly she came across a …………… Now she felt ………… As the sun was setting Matilda trudged through the castle gates and into the castle where the king and queen were very, very, very, ………….. Her father the King told Matilda ………… Matilda felt …………. So told the king and queen……………… It had been a very tiring day for Matilda and she fell asleep. The king and queen watched Matilda as she slept and thought ……………
The next morning Matilda woke up and said to her self “………………………………………………………………………”
In groups, full in the blanks. Read your story out to the rest of the class. Devise an improvisation based around your story.