So how do we do this? We trick our children, of course! Here’s an idea: Have the kids pick out a few of their favorite books and tell them you are not going to read them, you are going to re-create them.
- Pick your story. For younger children, choose action stories like Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, or the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Props will be simple, and memorization will be easy for the little ones.
- For longer books, reenact your kids’ favorite scenes or create alternate endings to match what they think should have happened in the story.
- Make sure you have someone to portray each of the main characters. If you’re limited to just a single child or less than three children (whew!), let the kids recruit friends and neighbors to join the cast.
- Consider location and costumes: Will you make the costumes, buy them or borrow them?
- Decide whether you’re doing a line-by-line recreation or if the kids will improvise the story, based on what they know already (only if they’re familiar with the chosen book).
Why this Activity is a Great Idea
Children who act out stories are learning while having fun, so during the summer months, when they are taking a break from the classroom, they are expanding their vocabularies and improving their public speaking skills – all without realizing it.
In addition, this activity might stimulate some of your child’s creative interests. As your children become comfortable with reading and speaking in public, you might find new avenues of entertainment for them in community theatre, as well as drama class, once school starts.
What if My Child Isn’t Into Performing?
For the children who might not be as outgoing or comfortable with taking the stage, making and designing props for your set is a great way to get them involved. They’ll be communicating with a group in a way in which they feel comfortable, all while potentially discovering new talents.
Also, children who are fond of ad libbing and improving variations of their favorite stories may find an interest in penning their own ideas. Consider having your children create their own characters and stories and put on plays of their own, writing for family, friends and neighbors.
Suggestions for Books to Re-Enact
Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak)
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Jon Scieszka)
Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Various Authors)
Jumanji (Chris Van Allsburg)
Rumpelstiltskin (The Brothers Grimm)
A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis)