Posted in Role playing stories

The Gruffalo – Drama for young children

The following drama is based on the Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

Children are in the role of Monsters spotters (Mantle of the Expert technique). Ask them what do they need to know about monsters? Ask the children what monsters do they know and what ones have they spotted?
They are in the Monster spotters office.
They get a phone call.
They need to answer – hello my name is …… Monster spotter office how may we help you? They can practice their telephone voice. Get them to go around and shake everyone’s hand and say

Hello my name is …… Monster spotter office how may we help you

The magpie arrives and claims that a Gruffalo has been spotted in the woods. This can be done by the teacher using the teacher in role technique.– The teacher takes on the role of the magpie by using a puppet or changing their voice or their appearance. . The children ask the Magpie questions – (Hotseating technique).

The Magpie hasn’t actually seen the Gruffalo. He gives the children information but it is only hear say. The Magpie leaves and the teacher comes out of role and asks  the following questions. What do they know about the Guffalo? What does he look like? We don’t know but we know that the fox, snake and owl know so we need to go to the woods to find them and ask them about what they saw.

The spotters go to the woods. The teacher has collected and placed pine cones, stones, leaves, sand trays, mushrooms, flowers, piece of bark, twigs all around the room. The children go and touch the objects and feel them. Talk about how it feels and the textures of each items that they have collected. They put all the items on a large sheet of paper. They spray paint all around them so that they see what shape they make.

Ask the children what kind of animals are found in the forest. Ask the children to imagine that they are one of the animals that is found in the woods. Then the children to make a sculpt of their bodies into their animal and freeze (Still Image technique). When the teacher touches them on the shoulder they must shout out the name of their animal and move like it the animal and make the sound of their chosen animal (Role Play). Allow them to make the sound and movement of their animal for a few minutes then the teacher shouts freeze..

Divide them into threes and tell them one of them is going to be the owl, fox and snake. Get them to imagine that they have come across the Gruffalo. Show the face of how their animal will react to seeing the scariest animal in the woods. Are they frightened or are they brave. Do they run or do they stay? They make a still image. While they are in the still image touch them on the shoulder and get them each to tell you one word about how they feel as their character (thought tracking). Then in threes get them to move as their animal (owl, fox and snake) (Moving Picture technique). Get them to say the following together.

A gruffalo? What’s a gruffalo?”
“A gruffalo! Why, didn’t you know? He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.” (Choral Speaking).

Teacher asks what sort of questions would the monster spotters ask the fox snake and owl. The sort of questions could be what does he look like? Why is he scary? Where did he go? When is the last time you saw him? Where was he going? Get the children to devise their own questions.

Then the teacher takes on the role as the fox, snake and owl (Teacher in role) by using a puppet or changing their voices or appearance. The children ask their questions – (hot seating).

The teacher comes out of role and ask the children
What do we know? What information have we gathered..

Using different types and shapes of materials get the children as a group to create an image of what they think the Gruffalo looks like.

Teacher out of role asks the children if they met the Gruffalo what would we ask him? Why is he so scary? Does he want to make friends. Is it hard having no friends. What could he do to make friends. Maybe we could invite to the wood party so he can meet people.
Teacher in role as the Gruffalo – children ask their  questions. They make friends with him in the end when discovers that he is lonely and wants to make some friends.

The Gruffalo is invited to a party in the woods with all the other animals and he make friends with them.

Posted in co-operation, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, Role playing stories

Setting up a role play in an Early Education Setting

Children dressing up as professionals

Role Play

Role Play can be one of the most important activities for young children; it not only stimulates their imagination but can help with their social development. Literacy, numeracy and other curriculum activities can all be planned as part of a role play situation

A Garden Shop

This can be particularly appropriate in the Spring and Summer Terms when it can coincide with growing activities.

Suggested items to collect:

Plant pots, Containers of artificial flowers, Seed packets (made by the children), Posters, and Child sized: Spade, Fork, Trowel, Canes, Watering can, Seed trays and Sieve


Take a trip to a local garden centre.

Grow cress, sunflowers, pumpkins, beans, bean sprouts etc.

Design and make seed packets.

Make paper and card flowers for the shop.

Discuss safety issues in a garden, including poisonous plants and berries.

Maths activities – Counting, using plant pots and seeds, flowers in a bucket.

Money, using a play till and money.

There are endless variations of shops: Bakers, Newsagents, Shoe and Clothes shops, even a mini supermarket which can all incorporate activities from other curriculum areas.

A cafe

This is appropriate any time of the year and can encourage a lot of interaction between the children. Make a change by having a French or Italian cafe – the possibilities are endless.

Suggested items to collect: Plastic Tea set, Beakers, Napkins and serviettes, Plastic cutlery, Trays,  Play food, Cakes and Biscuits,  Menu cards, Blackboard for menu,  Notepads and pencils,  Hats and aprons,  Chairs and tables,


Cooking, making small cakes and biscuits to sell in the shop.

Use the cafe as a way of introducing food from other cultures.

Make menu cards or have a blackboard for the children to write the menu for the day.

Maths activities – Weighing out ingredients when cooking.

Money, using a play till and money.

Counting and sorting cups, saucers, plates and cutlery, cakes etc.

A Theatre or Cinema Box Office

Again this is appropriate any time of the year and could coincide with an end of term performance of songs or play for the parents.

Suggested items to collect: Computer,  Keyboard,  Play till,   Posters, (real or child made),  Tickets,  Simple seating plan, Popcorn,  Programmes (made by the children),  Uniform,


Making posters and programmes.

The box office could be used to sell tickets to parents for an end of term event.

If possible this activity could coincide with a visit to a local theatre.

Making popcorn, looking at the change in the corn

Maths activities – Money, using a play till and money.

Counting by making a seating plan out of squared paper and using coloured stickers to stick on the squares to represent when the seat has been sold.

Introducing time, what time the performances will start.