Learn Shakespeare with Projects and Activities
We know that Shakespeare wrote drama to be performed in a theater not "literature" to be analyzed during language arts lessons. So reading his plays doesn't achieve the same effect as watching a performance.
But you can actually bring the theater home by acting out Shakespearean plays in your living room. Dress up and be actors, or use puppets instead.
Here are some ideas to add a fun element to your Shakespeare studies.
Shakespeare Paper Crafts - free printables for hands-on exploration
If you want to keep it simple with a minimum of preparation, puppets and paperdolls are great for narrating scenes from a Shakespearean play. When you add that hands-on approach, the learning sticks forever.
- Globe Paper Craft
Construct a small paper Globe Theater with this printable.
- Toy-A-Day: Shakespeare
A free printable Shakespeare (the man) paper craft. This is sort of like a 3D paper doll. If you like this boxy doll, the site also offers a blank template you could use for making your own actors for a play.
- Puppets & Coloring Pages for A Midsummer Night's Dream
Puppets and coloring pages based on the work of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and from the stories retold by Phee McFaddell.
- Practical Pages --Fashions through the Past Women Paperdolls
The first time period covered is the 1500's, perfect for Romeo and Juliet. (Pictured below; used in my daughter's re-enactment of King Lear.)
- Practical Pages -- Men from History Paperdolls
Among other time periods, these free paper dolls include Elizabethan men that would serve well for male roles in Shakespearean plays. (Pictured below; used in my daughter's re-enactment of King Lear.)
Enacting King Lear with Puppets
Masterpuppet Theater - The World of Shakespeare--at your Fingertips!
This set includes finger puppets and backdrops for narrating famous scenes from Shakespeare.
Masterpuppet Theater in Action
Great Characters from Shakespeare Paper Dolls
Reference the collection at Cleveland Press Shakespeare Photographs for inspiration if you choose to design your own Shakespeare paperdolls or dress up in character.
Need printable puppet templates? Visit Puppets for Narration for several links.
Acting Out Shakespeare's Plays - Making it Really Come Alive
If you want to go a bit deeper and get an even better taste of Shakespeare's theater, act out some scenes from the drama that you are studying.
1. Choose a play that you are familiar with and then select the favorite scene or scenes. Your children may even want to do a quick summary of the entire plot.
2. Create a simple script.
3. Plan costumes, props, and backdrops.
4. Rehearse and then give a show.
Read how other homeschool families have produced Shakespeare performances:
This book gives six scenes to enact yourself.
As You Like It -- Re-enacted by Homeschoolers
Shakespeare for Kids - His Life and Times, 21 Activities (For Kids series)
The Play's the Thing Board Game
Shakespeare's Globe - An Interactive Pop-up Theatre
What an incredible tool for narrating back what you've just read or for creative play.
To see more pictures of it in action, visit To Shakespeare or Not to Shakespeare.
It seems this item is currently unavailable. I hope that it will be back in stock at Amazon soon.
Onnica on August 15, 2016:
I don't suppose that you have the PDF of the paper toy that you could send me. The link on the website is broken! I would love to have the paper toy. It is awesome!
Highlandview on October 30, 2013:
I love these ideas and I am going to use them this year with my middle school homeschoolers.
blessedmomto7 on February 26, 2013:
After reading the other Shakespeare lens, I had to come visit this one too. Great stuff!
Obscure_Treasures on December 07, 2011:
Hands-on Shakespeare seems to be really effective. Good job.
Shanir LM on July 07, 2011:
Nice lens :) great ways to get students engaged and interested :)
scrapnsew on April 17, 2011:
thanks for this info, I will be using this year!
cdevries on April 07, 2011:
Great Lens! Lots of good information and hands-on fun.
sandralynnsparks on February 14, 2011:
A hello from one "Hands On Shakespeare" to another! Rather like finding we've worn the same dress to a party, except we accessorized it differently! ;) Lovely lens!
lilgirllapbooker on December 22, 2010:
Lovely Lens as always! Really nice!
Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on October 30, 2010:
DecoratingEvents on October 28, 2010:
Jimmie this is a wonderful lens with valuable resources for teaching ours kids about Shakespeare. Leaving an Angel Blessing!
QueSea on October 16, 2010:
Wonderful lens. You bring so many elements together for your readers, it's a joy to behold....and a favorite too.
SpellOutloud on October 16, 2010:
Lots of wonderful examples of bringing Shakespeare to life!
KarenTBTEN on October 16, 2010:
Looks like a fun set of projects for learning Shakespeare. I've got it featured it on my social studies dioramas lens.
JoyfulPamela2 from Pennsylvania, USA on October 16, 2010:
I love Shakespeare, but my kids groan will I quote him or pull out his books. I need to try some of your ideas!: )