Shakespeare for Kids: Activities!

by Adrienne Edwards

[O-G tutoring in Columbus OH: see below]

Shakespeare for Kids: His Life and Times, by Colleen Aagsen and Margie Blumberg (Chicago Review Press) arrived in the mail this month.  This slick, colorful, oversized and lavishly illustrated book offers — in addition to a deep look into the Elizabethan world — a glimpse of the habitats and habits of the Bard himself.  There are, in addition, twenty-one activities for a young student of Shakespeare to do.

If you’re a teacher who is bringing drama into the classroom, if you offer theater classes, or if you’re the parent of a kid who is participating in a “Shakespeare in the Park” experience (or thinking about it), you can find in this book a wealth of information and fun projects to build the kind of background information he or she will be grateful to have in Middle and High School.

The book is organized into five “Acts,” each of which contains historical and biographical material, as well as projects typical of life in these times.

In “Act 1, Early Years: A  World Full of Wonders” your student can make a pomander ball, decorate a pair of gloves, learn how to juggle, create a habitat for birds, make a hornbook, whip up some Apple Moye , and create new words (and then even focus in on Oxymorons).

“Act 2, Days of Love: Leaving Marriage and Family,” you’ll learn two Elizabethan games to play: Teetotum and Nine Men’s Morris.

“Act 3, A Life and Career in London: The Nature of Success,” explains how to make a quill pen, compose a sonnet, create sound effects, design a coat of arms, use a goblet for a prop, create a shushed-shirt costume, or make a sword.

“Act 4, Home Again: Naturally Shakespeare Returns,” will allow your student to paint a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, bind your own folio, and start a scrapbook.

And finally, in “Act 5, Your Place in This World of Wonders,” your student will have access to a Glossary; she or he will find a List of Shakespeare’s Plays, as well as web sites and a bibliography for more exploring.

Charts, illustrations, maps and photographs show (among many other pleasures) Shakespeare’s family tree (you can make one of your family!), the various Shakespearean homes and their layouts, Shakespeare’s baptismal record, the interior of the King Edward VI New School, a map of London showing the playhouses erected before 1840, a contemporary “View of London from the Thames,”and a photo of Shakespeare’s monument in Stratford.

“This book provides a welcoming and expansive gateway for young people to enter the powerfully imaginative world of Shakespeare’s plays,” writes Edward Gero, an actor at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC.

“Chock-full of information, insight, and entertaining hands-on projects, Shakespeare for Kids brings the stories and characters to life in clear, accessible ways. And it’s fun!”

Check it out!

ISBN 1-55652-347-5

And here they are on Facebook:

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email 


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