Here is a drama workshop for 5 to 8 year olds based on the theme of “The Magic of Thankfulness”: It is from the book Gratitude Stories on Stage.
Introduction: Begin the workshop by discussing the concept of gratitude and what it means to be thankful. Ask the children to share examples of things for which they are grateful.
Main Focus/The Magic Wand: Mime and Movement – Explain to the children that they will be using their imaginations to pretend they have a magic wand that can make things appear or disappear. Have them practice moving the wand in different ways to make different things happen, such as waving it to make a flower appear or flicking it to make a rock disappear.
Still Image – In small groups, have the children create a frozen image of themselves holding their magic wands and casting spells.
The Ungrateful Friend: Action Narration – Tell the story of an ungrateful friend who never says thank you or appreciates the things others do for them. Have the children act out the story as it unfolds.
Narration: Once upon a time, there was an ungrateful friend named Max. Max had many friends, but he never thanked them for their help or appreciated what they did for him. One day, Max’s friend Sam cooked him a delicious dinner and invited him over. Max came over and enjoyed the meal, but when he left, he didn’t even say thank you to Sam. The next day, Max’s friend Sarah invited him to her birthday party. She decorated her whole house, baked a cake, and had a special present for Max. But when Max arrived, he didn’t even say happy birthday to Sarah or thank her for inviting him. Max’s friends started to get tired of his ungrateful behaviour. They started to distance themselves from him and stopped inviting him to their events. Max didn’t even notice and thought nothing of it. One day, Max needed help with a big project, so he reached out to his friends for assistance. But none of them wanted to help him. Max was surprised and didn’t understand why. He realized that he had taken his friends for granted and never showed them appreciation or gratitude. Max decided to change his ways and started saying thank you and showing appreciation for his friends. He even threw a party to apologize for his past behaviour and to thank his friends for always being there for him. From then on, Max’s friendships grew stronger, and he learned the importance of showing gratitude and appreciation.
During the story, the children can act out the various scenes by showing appreciation, saying thank you, and giving hugs to each other. They can also show Max’s ungrateful behaviour by ignoring their friends and refusing to say thank you. The children can also act out the scene where Max realizes his mistake and shows gratitude to his friends by hugging and thanking them.
Hot Seating – Choose one child to play the ungrateful friend and another to play their best friend. The rest of the children will take turns asking them questions about their actions and feelings towards each other.
The Magic of Thankfulness: Flash Forward – Have the children create a scene showing the ungrateful friend realizing the importance of being thankful and expressing gratitude towards others.
Role Play Sculpting – In small groups, have the children take turns playing the role of someone who has done something kind for them, while the others sculpt them into a frozen image to represent their gratitude towards that person.
The Thankful Tree: Conscience Alley – Set up a “thankful tree” by taping a large piece of paper to the wall and drawing a tree trunk and branches. Have the children take turns walking through the “conscience alley” and adding leaves to the tree with things they are thankful for.
Storytelling – End the workshop by reading a story about thankfulness, such as “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, and encourage the children to share their favourite parts of the story and how it relates to the theme of gratitude.
Conclusion: Gather the children in a circle to reflect on the workshop. Discuss how the different drama techniques helped them understand the theme of gratitude and its importance.
Encourage the children to practice being thankful and expressing gratitude towards others in their daily lives.
Read the following movement story to the children. When they hear any of words in bold they must do the corresponding action. The teacher should go through each action at the beginning.
Boast/boastful/boasting – stand up straight and puff out chest
Woods – children make themselves into trees.
Animals – each child choose a different animal found in the woods and move like that animal.
Hare – make bunny ears with your hands.
Fast – children move as fast as they can
Run/ran – run on the spot
Tortoise – children bend over as if they have something heavy on their back.
Slow/slowly – children move in slow motion around the room.
Once upon a time there was a very boastful hare who lived in a woods with lots of other animals. He was always boasting about how fast he could run. He boasted “I’m the fastest animal in the woods. No one can run as fast as me.” The other animals were tired of listening to him. One day the tortoise said to the hare “Hare, you are so boastful. I challenge you to race.” Hare laughed and said “Tortoise, you will never beat me. You are too slow and steady.” They decided whoever got to the other side of the woods the fastest was the winner. All the other animals in the woods came to watch the race. The hare ran as fast as he could through the woods. After a while he thought to himself “I’m so fast that slow tortoise will never beat me. I think I will take a quick nap.” Soon, he fell asleep. The tortoise walked slowly through the woods. He passed the sleeping hare. The animals watched the tortoise near the finishing line. The animals cheered loudly. The hare woke up and ran as fast as he could through the woods to the finishing line but it was too late. The slow tortoise had won the race. All the animals in the wood congratulated the tortoise. The hare had to remind himself that he shouldn’t boast about his fast pace because slow and steady won the race.
Physical warm up: Get each child to find a clear space. They must make sure that they are not touching anyone else. The children crouch down on the floor and make a ball shape with their bodies. The
teacher explains that all children are magic rocks and that the teacher is a magic wizard. The teacher waves the magic wand and says: “Magic rocks turn into hares.” All the children turn into hares and move around the room as hares. The teacher then says: “Magic rocks turn into magic rocks.” The children return to their clear spaces and crouch down on the floor again as quickly as possible. The magic wizard can change the magic rocks into animal they can be found in the jungle.
Variation: The children can take it turns to be the magic wizard.
Role on the wall: Divide the class into groups of four. Give each group either an outline of the hare or the tortoise and ask the children to write inside the image the different characteristics or personality traits of the hare or the tortoise. If they are too young to write, get them to draw inside the image. Each group talks about their image and what they put inside.
Still Image: Ask each child to make a still image of the Hare at the beginning of the race. The teacher taps each child on the shoulder and they must say how they feel. Then get them to make a still image of the hare at the end of the race. The teacher taps each child on the shoulder and they must say how they feel. Can they tell the difference?
Freeze Frame: Divide the class into pairs. They have to make six images that tell the story of the hare and the tortoise. They then show their freeze frame to the rest of the class.
Teacher in Role: The teacher takes on the role of the tortoise. She tells the children she feels sorry for the hare because he thought he was the fastest in the forest and now he is upset. Ask the children what do they suggest they could do to make him feel better.
Hot seating: One of the children volunteers to be the hare. The hare sits in the hot seat and the rest of the children asks him questions.
Closure: The children sit in a circle. Each child finishes the following sentences “if I could be an animal I would be a………
Turn on some music and everyone dances as their animal.
The following is a Drama workshop to do with children in primary or elementary school. It is a useful workshop if you want to focus on the issue of Bully and isolation. It is based on the fable from the Panchatantra called “The Lion and the Clever Rabbit”. Here is a link to a version on you tube.
Once the teacher has told the story or watched the video ask the children to get into groups of four.
Physical warm up: In each group there is a monkey, an elephant, a snake and a rabbit. Get the children to move around the room and sound like their different animals. Get them to find the animal that is like them from the other groups and interact and play with them. The teacher gives a loud roar and the animals are frightened.
Teacher in role: The teacher in role as the Lion roars at them. She says “I’m very hungry and I’m going to eat all the animals in the jungle one by one.”
Still Image: In their animal groups the children make a still image of how they feel when they think the Lion is coming to get catch them and eat them.
Thought tracking: Once all groups are in the still image then the teacher out of role goes and touches them on the shoulder. Each animal has to say how they feel at that moment.
Conscience alley: Once the children are out of their still image they make two lines facing each other. The teacher in role as the the Lion walks in between the line as the children speak out as his conscience. The children in the line on the left hand should speak out that it is wrong to scare and eat the other animals and the children on the right hand side should speak out saying that he is right to scare and the eat the animals.
Examples: The left side could say “the animals are scared”, “what about their families?”,
“they want to stay in the jungle and play with their friends”.
The right side could say: “none of the other animals like you”, “you are hungry and you need to eat”, “you have no friends so you don’t care what they think of you”.
Hot seating: The teacher in role as the Lion sits in the hot seat. The children who are being themselves ask the Lion why he is behaving this way. Why does he want to eat all the animals in the jungle? Why is he horrible and mean to the other animals?
Group discussion: Get the children to get into role as their original animals. Tell them that they are going to change the ending of the story because the way the Clever Rabbit treated the Lion was as bad as how the Lion treated the other animals. They must come up with a more positive ending.
Group improvisation: The groups all improvise their endings in front of the other groups. The teacher takes on the role as the Lion in each group.
Role on the wall: Put two outlines of a Lion on the wall. Let the children choose words that describes the Lion before he got stuck in the well and one for after he was rescued from the well.
Closure|relaxation activity: Sleeping Lions – get the children to lie still on the floor and pretend to be a sleep. If they move then they are out and have to wake up with aloud roar.