FREE RESOURCES: Classroom Activities [ Page 8 ]
Student discussions, exercises, games before and after the play
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This page (Page #8) has creative activities for use in the classroom.  Kids love to learn more about the play’s origin and subject.  Check out these articles and activities related to ArtReach’s popular titles: Winnie-the-Pooh, Pinocchio, Emperor's New Clothes, Sleepy Hollow, Christmas Peter Pan, Kid Frankenstein, Little Mermaid, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Jungle BookDon’t forget, a Teachers Guide will come with your School Play Package and contains tons of creative new ideas for your teaching lessons!

The Real Christopher Robin, Biography
Background Educational Material for ArtReach's 'Winnie-the-Pooh'

Christopher Robin Milne (1920 - 1996) was the only child of A. A. Milne and Daphne Milne. As a child, he was the basis of the character Christopher Robin in his father's Winnie-the-Pooh stories and in two books of poems.

"Each parent chose a name, hence his legal name Christopher Robin."
The Bees in Wiinnie the Pooh Large Cast Play Winnie the Pooh
Ottawa School of Theatre, Canada - ArtReach's Winnie-the-Pooh

From an early age, Christopher was cared for by his nanny Olive Brockwell, until May 1930, when he entered boarding school. He called her Nou, and stated "Apart from her fortnight's holiday every September, we had not been out of each other's sight for more than a few hours at a time," and "we lived together in a large nursery on the top floor."

Christopher's father explained that Rosemary was the intended name for their first born, if a girl. Realizing it was going to be a boy, he decided on Billy, but without the intention of actually christening him William. Instead, each parent chose a name, hence his legal name Christopher Robin. He was referred to within the family as Billy Moon, a combination of his nickname and his childhood mispronunciation of Milne. From 1929 onwards, he would be referred to simply as Christopher, and he later stated it was "The only name I feel to be really mine."

"For his birthday, Christopher received a teddy bear."
Piglet in Winnie the Pooh Play ArtRach's Play Winnie-the-Pooh Pooh Bear in Kids Play
Ottawa School of Theatre, Canada - ArtReach's Winnie-the-Pooh

At his first birthday in 1921, Christopher received an Alpha Farnell teddy bear, which he later named Edward. Eeyore was a Christmas present in 1921 and Piglet arrived undated. Edward, along with a real Canadian black bear named Winnipeg that Milne saw at London Zoo, eventually became the inspiration for the Winnie-the-Pooh character. The images of Milne's son Christopher Robin - the inspiration for Milne's character of the same name who was Pooh's best pal - were taken in 1926 and in 1928 (photos of Christopher Robin and his father.) Mini Milne and his stuffed bear - named Edward, a gift he received on his first birthday - sometimes come across semi-creepy, but in that charming, vintage-photo way.

"New generations have found much to love in the classic character."
Large Cast of Young People Applause for Winnie-the-Poo Play
Ottawa School of Theatre, Canada - ArtReach's Winnie-the-Pooh

There is a somewhat sad side to the young Milne's life, however. Later in life, he grew to resent dear old dad for thrusting him into the public eye and essentially exploiting his childhood - or so he felt. He published a series of his own books describing the difficulties of growing up Pooh. He also became an atheist, which is kind of ironic considering the religious associations people often make with Pooh. Fans who cherished Milne's childhood book series were disappointed by his reactions, but new generations have found much to love about the classic character.

Here is the story of ArtReach's Pinocchio from the Teachers Guide
How a Puppet Became a Real Boy: Pictures of Sutter Street Theatre's Production (CA)

As the play begins we are transported to an Italian village where "Lorenzo Magnifico's Magnificent Carnival of Puppets!" is playing today. Lorenzo introduces his magnificent puppets and puppeteers who are given the task of telling today's story.

Not long into the storytelling the proceedings are interrupted by an audience member. But this is no ordinary audience member - indeed, it is a Talking Cricket named Hickory Cricket. Hickory has some curious news about a puppet who talks and walks like a live person. So begins Pinocchio, the story of a puppet who wants to become a real boy.

In his lonely workshop the old wood carver Geppetto delights in his creations - Ivana the Wooden Dancer, his Music Boxes and Cuckoo Clocks. It is all very well to have their company but Geppetto looks at his wooden puppet Pinocchio and wishes he were a real boy. His Lucky Star shines and as Geppetto falls asleep the Blue Fairy comes to Geppetto and grants his wish. She waves her wand and Pinocchio comes to life.

"Geppetto wishes Pinocchio was a real boy."
Pinocchio play for kids Geppetto and puppets Boy from Pinocchio
Sutter Street Theatre's Production of ArtReach's Pinocchio

But the Blue Fairy tells him, he is not yet a real boy and cannot become one until he proves that he is good and honest. Pinocchio pledges to prove himself and the Blue Fairy appoints Hickory Cricket to look after him in his adventures. When Geppetto wakes his is overcome with joy.

Geppetto dresses Pinocchio and gives him school books and money and sets the puppet off to school. Along the way Pinocchio is sidetracked by Fibber the Fox and Lefty the Cat. They scheme to divert Pinocchio, sell him to Lorenzo and get their hands on Lorenzo's money. Pinocchio is completely duped by these tricksters and forgets all about school and Hickory, letting them lure him with promises of getting into show business.

But Lorenzo is not happy with his purchase, telling Pinocchio that people want to see a puppet who can dance. But Pinocchio cannot dance and Lorenzo locks him in cage until he learns how. Pinocchio calls for his friend and Hickory appears but, alas, the Cricket cannot free Pinocchio from his predicament.

The Blue Fairy appears and questions Pinocchio. Pinocchio lies about his actions and his nose begins to grow. She reminds him of his promise to become honest and good and sets him free to try again.

"Pinocchio is duped by tricksters and forgets all about school."
Tricksters in Pinocchio Lampwick in Pinocchio Pinocchio becomes a real boy!
Sutter Street Theatre's Production of ArtReach's Pinocchio

Pinocchio and Hickory set off for home but Pinocchio is once again lured away from his goals when he meets up with Lampwick, a real boy who is running away from home. Lampwick is all bluster and swagger when he tells Pinocchio of Land of Toys where there are no schools and it's always vacation from New Year's Day to Christmas. Pinocchio is duped again and hops a ride on the coach that is carrying children away to the sinister Land of Toys.

Pinocchio and Lampwick have a great time being cool and having fun all day until a strange thing happens. Lampwick and the other children begin to grow ears and bray like donkeys. When he learns that the boys who have become donkeys are being loaded onto a ship Pinocchio calls for Hickory and once again the good Cricket flies to his side.

They set off for home only to find that Geppetto has gone away. The Blue Fairy tells them that Geppetto has gone to the sea to save Pinocchio from the Land of Toys. Worst of all - Geppetto is at the bottom of the sea, living in the belly of a Terrible Whale.

At last Pinocchio musters all his courage and goodness and swears to save his dear Papa. Hickory and Pinocchio dive into the ocean and are swallowed by the Terrible Whale. Inside they find Geppetto but it seems all is lost - how can they escape the whale before they starve to death?

"The Blue Fairy appears and waves her wand."
Pinocchio play script for kids Cast pic from Pinocchio play
Sutter Street Theatre's Production of ArtReach's Pinocchio

Pinocchio becomes the hero when he builds a fire and causes the whale to sneeze! They are rushed on a wave to shore but Pinocchio is lifeless and does not open his eyes. The Blue Fairy appears and waves her wand. Pinocchio has proven himself and she tells him he is now a Real Boy.

When Pinocchio awakens Geppetto is overjoyed and the old man and his real son are together at last.  Lorenzo reminds us once again that we are witnessing his magnificent puppets and asks for the audience applause. Puppets dance and sing and all players return to the stage for their bows.

But the ending is not complete until Hickory joins Pinocchio on stage and declares that wishes really do come true!

ArtReach's "The Emperor’s New Clothes"

The Emperor’s New Clothes is Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale of vanity and foolish pride. Now Children’s Theatre Plays brings the story to life. Join crafty Peter as he plots to embarrass the Emperor and make off with a basket of gold.

Everyone gets into the act as audience members are recruited to help spin the magic cloth!

"Everyone gets into the act!"
Players gush about the magic clothes Main Stage Playmakers Emperor's New Clothes
Main Stage Playmakers at the Center, Grass Valley CA - ArtReach's The Emperor's New Clothes

The play opens as the Orchestra Members introduce the play with their percussion instruments: drum, bell, horn, triangle, whistle, kazoo. They get the whole thing started with a hilarious fanfare and so the play begins!

His Grandmother tells Peter that, because of his laziness, they are dirt poor and have nothing to eat. Peter vows to go to the big city and become rich. Grandmother just laughs. “Go back to playing tricks and games, Peter,” she tells him.

But Peter has made up his mind and sets out for the Russian city of Kostroma, the most prosperous city in the empire. When he arrives he is tired and very hungry but the street merchants tell him he must have money to buy their food. Soon he meets with a Blacksmith who tells him of the Emperor and the royal procession that is to be held on Saturday. The Blacksmith tells Peter of the Emperor’s obsession with beautiful clothes. Suddenly Peter has an idea. “I shall be rich!” he declares.

Peter goes to the Emperor’s palace and tells the Empress that is a very clever tailor – that he can make clothes that are magic! Finally he convinces her to let him in the palace.  Peter hides as he spies the Emperor walking in his sleep, having a nightmare. The Emperor dreams that his people are claiming that he is not a good Emperor, that he is unfit for the office that he  holds. Peter knows just was to do with this knowledge.  When the Emperor awakens, Peter claims that his magic clothes have a very special power. “this cloth,” he says, “is invisible to anyone who is unfit for the office that he holds or is very stupid”.

Peter the Tailor has an idea. “I shall be rich!”
Comedy Play for Young People Director of ArtReach's Playscript
Main Stage Playmakers at the Center, Grass Valley CA - ArtReach's The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor and Empress are amazed and agree to have Peter make his clothes for the upcoming procession. Peter asks for baskets full of golden thread and jewels, planning to make off with the loot before the Emperor discovers his scheme. Peter has no idea how to weave cloth so he asks the audience to help him out.

Their sounds convince the Emperor that Peter is doing his work. Now the Empress and the Cabinet Ministers come to view the cloth.  Peter is betting they will say they love the beautiful cloth even though there is nothing there because they do not want to be considered stupid. Peter'’ plan works and finally when the Emperor see the cloth he too pretends to see it! After all, he doesn’t want anyone to think he is unfit for office.

But the Emperor foils Peter’s plans by insisting that Peter stay for the procession on Saturday. Peter had hoped to take off with the riches but has no choice but to stay for the parade. He hopes that everyone in the village will pretend they see the clothes because they do not want to be considered stupid.

"The Orchestra tells us - they all lived happily ever after."
Invisible Clothes in Emperor's New Clothes Playmakers perform ArtReach Play
 Main Stage Playmakers at the Center, Grass Valley CA - ArtReach's The Emperor's New Clothes

The procession begins with the hilarious sight of the Emperor standing proud and regal – in nothing but his silly underwear! Just as the Emperor is about to bestow a high honor Peter, a child in the audience (audience member) calls out, “The Emperor has not clothes on!” suddenly the Emperor sees he has been tricked and chases Peter through the audience. Peter must run away, leaving behind all the riches he had hoped to take home.

Peter runs home to his Grandmother and tells her the fantastic story of his adventure as the Emperor’s tailor. Of course, she doesn’t believe him and explains that while he was goofing off she had to sell his bed to get money for food. Peter will have to sleep on the floor or as his Grandmother laughing suggests, make a bed, “like you made the Emperor’s suit&ldots; with magic.”

The play ends as the Orchestra begins to wrap up the story and all member of the cast begin to take their bows. From the back of the house the Emperor chases Peter on stage and peruses him as he hides among the cast members who are taking their bows. In then end all actors who have played the part of Peter hop on stage, the Emperor chases them all out of the theatre. And as the Orchestra tells us&ldots; they all lived happily ever after.

“Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers”
Hans Christian Andersen

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Aurora Children's Theatre Study Guide

Ichabod's Life Lessons: Sleepy Hollow's flawed characters and what they can teach us.  The characters in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow all contribute to the unfortunate end. From each of these characters we can learn how selfish acts, and working against each other, rather than with one another can lead to unfortunate incidents.

Sleepy Boy: The Sleepy Boy from the beginning of our tale immediately doesn't like Ichabod Crane because Mr. Crane is different than the Sleepy boy. This kind of thinking is closed minded and unfair to the person being judged. Thinking to yourself that you do not like someone just because they are different could be holding you back from meeting someone you would actually like and become friends with.

The Lessons of Sleepy Hollow
Sleepy Hollow for Family Audiences Sleepy Hollow for Halloween
ArtReach's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Jonesborough Repertory Theatre, TN

Brom Bones: Brom is a character who revels in making others feel small to make himself feel better. He finds the weakness that Ichabod has, and continually uses this against him. This tactic eventually works in Brom's favor, but at the cost of hurting someone. On top of hurting Ichabod, the satisfaction Brom obtains will never last. He is ahead of the game for only a short while, as Katrina already has a new beau in mind.

"Ichabod allows himself to get distracted."
The Woman in White - Sleepy Hollow play script Ghost stoies in Sleepy Hollow Play
ArtReach's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Winthrop High School Drama, Winthrop MA

Ichabod Crane: Ichabod is a man distracted by fear and greed. Ichabod allows himself to get distracted by his greed, which leads to his fighting with Brom, and eventually his own downfall. Ichabod letting his fears get the best of him is how Brom eventually "wins" the game he and Ichabod are playing.

Katrina Van Tassel:  Katrina uses both Brom and Ichabod to get what she wants. This is another catalyst to Ichabod's downfall. Establishing relationships with others will eventually render reward, sometimes in the form favors, but what is important is the bond you establish with the other person.

A Christmas Peter Pan Classroom Ideas
Lesson Ideas – A Christmas Peter Pan

The classic tale of Peter Pan explores the world of fantasy and imagination. The popular story, also captured on film and written by James Matthew Barrie in 1904, has captivated audiences for decades. Take your students on a journey of exploration with Peter Pan and the gang through the world of Neverland. Adapt a lesson plan for K-12 students from math to physical education with Peter Pan classroom activities.

Walk the Plank Vocabulary: The menace of the story of Peter Pan is the pirate, Captain Hook. Gather your students and invite them to test their vocabulary knowledge aboard Hook's plank. You can create a plank out of cardboard or wood or alternatively use tape or other items to identify the tip of the plank. Using words from the book like "engrossed," "spinster" and "subtle," ask the students either how to spell or define terms. Every mistake means one step closer to the edge of the plank. After hitting the edge students are eliminated from the game until there is one player left.

Neverland Math: Create mystical math questions for your students to solve using the Peter Pan theme. For younger grades stick to simpler equations using addition and subtraction. For example, if Peter Pan has three wishes and he uses one, how many does he have left? For higher level students you can create tougher questions using multiplication, division and word problems. For example, if Captain Hook has a treasure chest with 100 pieces of gold and Peter Pan takes half but drops half while getting away, how much gold does Peter bring back to Wendy?

Hook's Treasure Hunt: Take your students on a hunt around the world to locate Hook's treasure. All you need is a map or globe of the world and a few stickers to mark the spot. You can perform this activity one of two ways. One requires you to mark the map prior to the game and have the children identify the city and/or country of each mark. You may also present the clean map or globe to the class and name cities or countries that the students must locate and mark on the map.

Peter Pan: Keep your students active with physical activities based on Peter Pan. For younger students, play a variation of Duck, Duck, Goose entitled Peter, Peter, Pan. Seat the kids in a circle with one child, known as Captain Hook, walking around lightly tapping the heads of his peers exclaiming "Peter" until he lands on the one he wishes to race. He must exclaim "Pan" when tapping the head to initiate the race. The two students, Peter and Hook, must run around the circle. If Peter manages to tag Hook before he sits in Peter’s spot in the circle, the student playing Peter now plays Hook and gets to tap heads around the circle.

"Explore the world of fantasy and imagination."
Great Parts for Young Kids!  A Christmas Peter Pan! A Christmas Peter Pan!  Christmas Musicals for Children! Large Cast Musicals for Children!  A Christmas Peter Pan!
ArtReach's A Christmas Peter Pan, North Shore Children's Theatre, Salem, MA


SNOW FAIRIES:  Ask the class to pretend that they are snow fairies.  What is your name and what do you look like?  Where do you live and why?  Do you have a magic wand, or could your special powers be in your shoe or your hat?  What are your magical powers?  If the sun was shining brightly on you, what would you do?  Show how you would do it.

CHRISTMAS CAROLS:  Which are your favorite Christmas Carols and why?  Have everyone sing a Christmas Carol.  Now pretend you are a pirate singing the song.  What words would you change to make it sound more like a pirate?

CAPTAIN HOOK TREASURE MAP:  Choose Christmas tree ornaments to be treasures.  Hide them on the around the school or on the playground and let the children find them like an Easter egg hunt.  Have them draw a map from their desk to the place where they found the treasure.  Look at places on a map or a globe where pirates once sailed such as the Caribbean and Spain.  Find your home on the map and trace the way to the nearest port and then to the place of the pirates’ origin.

SANTA ELVES:  If you were an elf what would your name be and what kind of toy would you make?  What kind of materials would you use?  Paper, wood, plastic, glue?   What tools would you use?  Are these in your garage at home or would you need to invent special magical tool? How long do you think it would take you to make such a toy?  Who would you give your toy to?  Draw picture of the toy you would like to give your best friend or family member.

CROCODILE:  Have everyone draw a picture of a crocodile.  How wide is your crocodiles mouth, how big are his teeth?  What does he like to eat the best?  Discuss the difference between crocodiles and alligators.  Look up where they live and find them on a map.  Do you think a crocodile would rather live in a zoo or in the sea?

PIRATE’S SHIP:  Draw a picture of a pirate ships and identify the various parts of the ship:  main deck, rigging, mast, sails, port, starboard, bow, stern.  Pretend that you are a pirate and you are being attacked by another ship.  What kind of treasure do you have on board and what will you do to protect it?  Pretend the Captain is a villain like Captain Hook and stage a mutiny.

Classroom Activities for Kid Frankenstein
Talk, Write and Perform Kid Frankenstein

Mad Scientist:  The idea of the Mad Scientist is that the scientist loves his work so much he takes it too far.  Think of other professions, especially those you aspire to be.  Talk about what can go wrong when someone takes their ambitions a little too far.  Suggestions: Astronaut, Baker, Football Player, Librarian, School Bus Driver.

Create Your Own Silly Monster:  Think of all things you think are funny.  Tutus, chickens, top hats, tricycles, wigs, even things from your freezer or refrigerator.  After you have named these things, draw your own monster incorporating these objects as part of the monster.  For instance, your monster may have a beak like a chicken and wear a tutu and a top hat.  What magical powers does your silly monster have?

"What is your favorite monster?"
 Kid Frankenstein is fun play for Kids to Perform! Zany Science Experiments in Kid Frankenstein! Frankenstein play for kids to perform
"Crazy am I? We'll see if I'm crazy or not!" - Mad Scientist Frankie Stein in ArtReach's play 'Kid Frankenstein'!
Youth Summer Theatre Program, Grand Rapids, MN

Create Your Own Laboratory:  Have each student bring in or draw a picture of something in their own home that could become a part of a magical laboratory where anything can happen.  Look for objects with electric cords, knobs, wheels, dials, buttons, etc.  Pretend the object has a magic power.   Demonstrate that power to the class.  Now have students put their magic objects together to make a laboratory.  Demonstrate your laboratory’s process and what is the outcome of the function?    Frankie chose to make a Frankenstein monster in his laboratory.  What would you like to make?

Dress as Monsters:  What monsters are your favorites?  Have kids come to school dressed as their favorite monster.  This can be especially fun on the day of the performance of Kid Frankenstein – especially if it’s around Halloween!

Real Life Monsters:  Monsters are just a figment of our imaginations.  Monsters come from people looking at real creatures and assigning them super powers.   Think about real life animals and natural objects like gnarly trees and clouds in the sky.  Imagine that you see monsters in these objects that come to life.  What do they look like?  What powers do they have?

"What magical powers does your monster have?"
Kid Frankenstein Play for kids
Immaculate Heart of Mary School, Little Rock AR

Frankenstein at the Movies!  Show classic movies such as Frankenstein (1931), Bride of Frankenstein and Young Frankenstein.  If you are short on time or wish to cut out certain scenes, just show excerpts.   Pop some popcorn!   Throw blankets on the floor and let kids sit on the floor.   Tell them if they get too scared to grab each other and scream their heads off!  That’s part of the fun.  And remind them that nothing in the movie is real.  Afterwards talk about scary movies and how to keep from getting too scared by them.

"Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
-- Albert Einstein

Creative Dramatics and More Fun Ideas for Jack and the Beanstalk!
Have Classroom Fun with this Famous Mountain Jack Tale

Appalachia: Has anyone visited the Smoky Mountains? Do they know of anyone who hiked the Appalachian Trail? Tell the class about your experiences. What did you like best about the area? Have everyone imagine a favorite mountain or valley spot and draw a picture. Draw children in the picture. How do they spend their days? Imagine yourself in the deep dark woods. Is it peaceful? Describe the things that live in the forest.

Cows: If you were going to dress up as a cow for Halloween, how would you look? What kind of costume pieces would you need to be a cow? If there's a cowbell around, ring it for the class and talk about its uses for farmers. Ask kids, do you like the sound? Do you think cows do?

Magic Beans, Crazy Creatures & Giants in the Sky!
Old Dan TuckerMusical Jack and the Beanstalk Country Style Musical Lots of Fun songs in this musical for kids!
Jack in the Beanstalk is one of ArtReach's most popular musicals!

Folksongs: Folk music is fun because it's music that anyone can join in with! And it's interesting because every single culture has their own folk music! There's English folk music, Scottish folk music, Welsh folk music, Irish folk music, American folk music, South American folk music, Polish folk music, Hungarian folk music, Russian folk music, Australian Aboriginal folk music and on and on. Can you name a song that you have learned in your class that is a folk song? Find out what country or region it is from. Locate it on the map and look up other songs from that area. You may be surprised how many you know! Ask the music teacher to devote a session to old folk songs and new songs that sound like folk songs.

Crazy Creatures: Jack was afraid of purple-eyed monsters, horny-toed dragons and warty-faced giants. What kind of scary beings do you imagine? Make a mask out of construction paper or foam. Show the class how your scary creature walks and talks. What does he eat? Are they afraid of him too?

For a fun creative dramatics exercise, have each student choose a characteristic from the first column and a type of creature in the second. Combine the two, become the crazy creature and sing Polly Wolly Doodle as your creature would.

IItchy-eared           Elephant

Lizard-tongued    Spider

Baggy-kneed        Astronaut

Sticky-fingered     Orangutan

Three-horned        Kitty cat

Think of ways to defeat the monster and stage the battle for the class. Do you feel like a hero? Divide the class into two sides and have a battle of imaginary beasts. 

Magic Beans: Do you believe in magic beans, like Jack did? Plant some sunflower seeds in a cup and grow it on a windowsill in the classroom. Talk about the very large plant that comes from a tiny seed. Can you see why that growth would cause people to be inspired by its "magic"? Consider the trees you can see from your school. They grow much slower than Jack's beanstalk but they certainly grow magically tall, don't they?

"Do you believe in magic beans, like Jack did?"
Jack and the Beanstalk Classroom Activities Giant in Musical Jack and the Beanstalk Magic Beans in Jack and the Beanstalk Play
ArtReach's Jack in the Beanstalk - Campanile Summer Youth Theatre, Minocqua WI

Dreams of Magic: Magic Polly tells Jack the magic beans will do all his chores and grow candy canes. If you had magic beans what powers would you like them to have?

Castle in the Sky: What kind of castle do the giants live in? Is it beautiful and ornate? Or run down and falling apart? What kind of furniture do you think you would find there? Jack hid in a potato bin. What kind of hiding places would you look for in a castle in the sky? Roll out some paper on the floor and draw a picture of your classes' castle.

“Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So get on your way!”
-- Dr. Seuss

The Little Mermaid is Full of Fun Activities
Have an Underwater Sea Party!

Invitations:  The wording of your under the sea birthday party invitations can say "Calling all Jellyfish, Sharks, Squid and Seals, too...There's going to be an adventure, and we'd love to share it with you! You're O-Fish-ally invited to come under the sea. It's (your child's name) Under the Sea Birthday Party!". Then include day, time, address. 

Here is a slightly different idea for your under the sea party invitations. Make your under the sea birthday party invitations as "messages-in-bottles." Simply fill clear plastic bottles with sand, mini sea shells, glitter, etc. Write your invitations on parchment paper, then roll them into scrolls, and insert invitations into bottles.

"Let them create a mural of sea life."
Great roles for boys in THE LITTLE MERMAID Underwater Creatures in The Little Mermaid
George J. Mitchell School, Egg Harbor NJ

Decorations: Decorate your under the sea birthday party room with green and blue balloons. Hang green "seaweed" streamers from the ceiling, chairs, or from the top of a windowsill. Cut out starfish, seahorses, and other sea animals from construction paper. Tape cutouts to some of the streamers. Cover the lights in the room with blue cellophane paper, which will give the party  "under water" feeling. Spread out any stuffed sea animals that you might have around the room. Have Mylar fish and dolphin balloons free-floating in the area, and have lots of blue latex balloons on the floor to create "ocean atmosphere."  Hang a fish net in the corner of the under the sea birthday party room.  Put a blue or turquoise tablecloth on your under the sea party table, and then spread multi-colored confetti around it. Put plastic fish in a clear bowl for table centerpiece. Hang a personalized theme "Happy Birthday!" banner in the area.

Guest Arrival and Introductory Activities:  

Seascape Gel Bags: Here are some directions for your under the sea birthday party guests to follow for this activity. Cut small fish from foam paper. Fill a Ziploc bag with blue hair gel so when the bag is closed it's about 1/4" thick. Place the fish shapes, colored beads, and some glitter in the bag. Squeeze out excess air from the bag before sealing it Place the bag, sealed end first, inside another bag. Seal the second bag and cover the zipped end with clear tape. Have children make the fish move by running their hands over the surface of the bag.

Sea Life Mural: Tape a wide sheet of butcher paper on the wall at kids' eye level. Spread posters and pictures of tropical fish, dolphins, sharks, and other sea animals for ideas. Provide the kids with paints and markers, and let them create a mural of sea life.

"Calling all Jellyfish, Sharks, Squid and Seals, too..."
Large Cast of Little Mermaid Play
ArtReach's The Little Mermaid - Maryland Heights Parks & Rec, MO

Party Favors: Since kids are fascinated with sea life, any theme related items as keepsakes will do the trick! For your under the sea party favors, you can have such items as beach balls, fish squirts, straws, sticker sheets, toy dolphins, and starfishes.

Under the Sea Birthday Party Games: 

Pin-the-Tail on the Whale: This classic game is easy to design and set up. Just draw a large whale on paper, leaving out the tail. Then cut out "whale tails" for all your guests. Put children's initials and a double-sided tape on each tail. At game time, blindfold the kids one by one, spin them around, and get them to pin their tail shapes where they belong.

Shark Chase: Get the kids to spread out on one side of the party area - they are fish. Scatter five or more hula hoops around the opposite side of the area (the hoops are the fish's "homes").  Select one child to be a shark, and have that player stand between the "fish" and their "homes." When the "shark" calls Shark!, he or she runs after the "fish" and tags as many as possible. The fish must reach home - step inside the hula hoop - to be safe from the shark.  Any player who is tagged becomes a shark for the next round, and tags remaining fish. For each round, take away one hula hoop until only one hoop is left. The game continues until all the fish are caught.

Play "Shark Chase" and "Octopus Alert" with your students!
The Little Mermaid! Fun Sailor Roles for Kids!
Lindsey Elementary, Chesterland OH - Old Rochester Regional Jr High VT

Beanbag Fish Toss: Place candies or small prizes in three or four pails. Place the pails against the walls. Have a couple of beanbags for children to throw. (It's ideal that you make a beanbag that looks like fish, but it's not crucial!) Have the kids take turns throwing beanbags into a pail. Allow children to choose a prize from whatever bucket the beanbag lands in. Be sure every under the sea birthday party guest receives a prize.

Octopus Alert: Here is a great outdoor game for under the sea birthday party, and it will require water balloons. Choose one person to be an octopus. Arrange everyone else in a big circle around the octopus. Have the kids in the circle toss a water balloon back and forth, trying to keep it away from the octopus. If the octopus pops the water balloon by batting it out of the circle, the person who threw it is out. Last child left in the circle wins.

Musical Sea Animal: Have your party guests sit in a circle. Play lively music in the background, and let the kids pass around a sea animal toy. Whenever the music stops the person holding the toy - goes out of the game, and receives a prize (e.g., favor bag). Play until everyone has won a prize.

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale.”
Hans Christian Andersen<tjb>

ArtReach's Rudyard Kipling Classic: THE JUNGLE BOOK
Preparing for the Play: GLOSSARY

Creeper: A plant such as ivy that grows over a surface like the ground or tree truck. This appears in Kipling’s poem The Law of the Jungle. In the Mowgli stories, the boy uses the creepers as vines and ropes.

Girdle: This word’s most common meaning refers to an undergarment. But in Kipling’s poem it means something that encircles the body like a belt. So that in the poem the words “girdles the tree trunk” mean that the vine has grown around the tree, making a circle that runs “forward and back”, symbolizing life.

Pack: A group of wild animals, especially wolves, living and hunting together.

"For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf."
Kai in The Jungle Book play Play for Kids to Perform, The Jungle Book
ArtReach's The Jungle Book, Ardtornish School, St Agnes AU

Red Flower: Kipling made this term up for this story. It is the word the Jungle-People use for fire. Only the humans or Man-People can make and use fire so it is the one thing that they feel is truly owned only by humans.

Cattle: The Jungle-People consider cattle or cows to be different from Jungle-Animals since they are domesticated and do not have the freedom to run wild like them. Therefore, the Jungle-Animals believe it is wrong to hunt cattle. Shere Khan goes against Jungle Law by hunting them.

Council Rock: The place where the Wolves go to make decisions together. Every important decision must be deliberated at the Council Rock.

Peace Rock: This is a rock in the river that is only visible during a drought when the water is low. So during the difficult time of drought the animals gather there to call a hunting Truce, meaning they will not hunt each other. All may drink freely and safely until the rains come and replenish the river.

Master-Words: In Kipling’s Jungle Books all animals have their own language, called the Master-Word. Bagheera teaches these languages to Mowgli. In the play we use a few words for each group of animals to symbolize their individual languages.

Stranger’s Hunting Call: This is how one type of animal requests the right to feed in another animal’s territory: “Give me leave to hunt here because I am hungry.” The polite answer is: “Hunt then for food but not for pleasure.” Kipling implies by this, that there is an ethical agreement among animals which allows killing but only enough necessary for the world’s creatures to survive.

 "And the strength of the Wolf is the Pack."
Students perform The Jungle Book Kids perform The Jungle Book script play
ArtReach's The Jungle Book, Ardtornish School, St Agnes AU

Trumpet: The word commonly refers to a musical instrument. However, the loud sound that an elephant makes with his trunk is called a “trumpet”. It is also used as a verb in the play as in “The elephant trumpets.”

Vulture: Large bird of prey with a featherless head that feeds on carrion, or animal carcasses. Often maligned for this trait, Kipling presents Chil, a kite, as a necessary animal performing a service in the hierarchy of the food chain. In the play Chil circles the Jungle-People at Peace Rock, waiting for some of the animals to perish. Akela does not repel her, saying only that her time has not come. Since the vulture respects Akela’s authority she takes no offense and promises to return when her time has come.

Python: Any large non-venomous snake of the family Pythonidae of Africa, S Asia, and Australia. They can reach a length of more than 20 feet and kill their prey by constriction. The Python was represented in Greece mythology of having a demon spirit which may be why Kipling chose this animal and gave it hypnotizing powers.

Bandar-log: A term used in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book to describe monkeys - specifically, Langur monkeys. In Hindi, Bandar means 'monkey' (although specifically not Langur monkeys) log means 'people'.

“There is none like to me, says the Cub in the pride of his earliest kill.
But the jungle is large and the Cub he is small. Let him think and be still.”
-- Rudyard Kipling

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