Posts Tagged ‘literature’

Hamlet: Goofy Skits for Your Merriment

Monday, February 5th, 2018

Hamlet-goofy-skits

My kids performed some goofy skits to summarize Shakespeare’s Hamlet. My daughter played the parts of both Queen Gertrude and Ophelia. My oldest son was the wicked uncle, Claudius. My youngest son was Hamlet, and my second son was all the other male parts. We produced the following video and summary for your merriment:

Hamlet: The Dramatized Summary

Once upon a time in Denmark, a king named Hamlet died mysteriously. His wife Gertrude married his brother Claudius less than two months later. Claudius’ reputation was so bad and his face so ugly, there was widespread suspicion that he murdered the late king for his throne! The prince, also named Hamlet, was shaken by his father’s death and shocked his mother would so quickly re-marry. He was ashamed of the wedding and showed up in all black.

But later the night watchmen told him about a ghost they had seen that looked like the dead king. Intrigued, Hamlet stayed up with them. Sure enough, there was the ghost of his father! In spite of the soldiers’ best efforts to dissuade Hamlet, he went out to speak with the spectre. What would he find out but that the king really had been murdered by Claudius! The ghost begged Hamlet to avenge him, then disappeared into the night.

Over the next few days, Hamlet was so bewildered by what he had seen, everyone thought he had lost his mind. Could love for Ophelia be driving him mad? He thought it was the perfect cover-up for plotting to avenge his father, so he feigned insanity.

One day, some actors were performing a play and worked themselves up to really feel the emotions of their characters. Hamlet was impressed and remembered the case of a murderer who was so moved by the play he was watching, he confessed to the crime. Why wouldn’t this work on his uncle, Claudius? Hamlet wasn’t so sure that what the ghost had told him didn’t come from his own imagination, and this felt like the perfect test.

So he had the actors perform a play in front of Claudius that went exactly as the ghost had described the murder. As they got to the part where the killer poured poison into the victim’s ears, the king felt very ill and had to leave. This made Hamlet sure the ghost’s tale was true, and he followed Claudius out of the room. But when he found the king praying, Hamlet didn’t want his uncle’s last act to be so saintly, so he decided to wait for another opportunity.

Hamlet’s mother wanted to talk to him about how he was acting up lately, and the king felt like it would be a good idea to hide behind a drapery in the room to secretly find out what was really up with Hamlet. Ophelia’s father Polonius volunteered to do the king’s spying for him.

When Hamlet was summoned, he confronted his mother about marrying his uncle so soon after his father died. In the heat of the debate, Polonius, who was secretly listening the whole time, thought Hamlet was attacking his mother in his madness and cried out. Hamlet, thinking the man behind the curtain was Claudius, drew his sword and stabbed him. To his horror, he found he had killed Polonius! His mother exclaimed what a crime he had committed, to which Hamlet replied that to kill the king, then marry his brother was much worse. He compared the late king’s handsomeness with the ugliness of the new one. He scolded his mother for marrying the one most suspected to have killed her husband.

When Claudius found out about Polonius’ death, he thought Hamlet was too dangerous to leave alive. Rather than risk the publicity of sentencing Hamlet to death, he banished Hamlet to England but secretly sent a letter to the courtiers to assassinate him as soon as the ship landed. But Hamlet suspected something like this and crept in at night, found the letter, erased his name, and put in the names of the courtiers.

On the way to England, pirates attacked the ship and Hamlet single-handedly boarded the pirate ship. The ship he came on sailed away, and he was left with the pirates. But they turned out to be well- mannered gentlemanly pirates, so they took him back to Denmark.

But when he got back, he found out the death of Ophelia’s father by his hand drove her to such madness and grief that she had committed suicide. Her brother, Laertes had not heard that Polonius’ death was an accident, so he wanted to kill Hamlet. The king thought this would be perfect, so he arranged for a duel between them with dulled sabers. But he secretly sharpened and poisoned Laertes’ blade.

On the morning of the duel, people placed their bets as to who would win, and the duel began. They fenced skillfully, Hamlet was stabbed with the poisoned blade, and he stabbed Laertes with his own sword, dooming both of them. Meanwhile, the queen accidentally drank from the cup the king had used to poison the blade, and she died. Laertes told Hamlet about the poison, and that he didn’t have long to live. So he stabbed and killed Claudius, and then he died. The end.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Re-enactment!)

Monday, February 27th, 2017

the-very-hungry-caterpillar

My kids and the small red-headed girl next door re-enacted the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar. You can make a simple caterpillar sock puppet by hot gluing some google eyes onto a sock. Then have your kids draw, color, and cut out the many foods that the caterpillar eats throughout the book.

One of my sons filmed and edited the video. The small red-headed girl next door read the story, and my daughter played the part of the caterpillar puppet that chewed through lots of food because it was so hungry. At last the caterpillar became a cocoon, and then he emerged as a butterfly!

Take a look at our cute re-enactment of this classic children’s story:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Unit Study

If you are making this into a unit study, you can also do the following hands-on activities:

  • Make a tissue paper butterfly craft (with free printable)
  • Create stained glass window bowls
  • Tie dye coffee filter butterflies
  • Read other books about butterflies
  • Chase butterflies with a butterfly net and identify them
  • Watch a butterfly drink nectar from a flower

You can find instructions on how to make each of these crafts here:

spring-picture-books

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (film & parody!)

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie

My daughter and I filmed If Your Give a Mouse a Cookie. It was my daughter’s idea; she wanted to film each scene in the same rooms as the book. To get ready, we collected the book and a mouse finger puppet.These are the activities we did to have fun with this classic children’s book:

Bake some chocolate chip cookies.

While reading the story, treat yourself to some milk and cookies.

cookies

Draw and color the mouse family.

While the chocolate chip cookies are baking, you can draw the picture that the mouse draws in the book, because you will need it for the scene where the mouse tapes the drawing to the refrigerator.

drawing-if-you-give-your-mouse-a-cookie

Film your version of the book.

If your kids want to film their own version of the book, you can film a “response” to our 2-minute YouTube video:

Here are some scenes we photographed. The first is the mouse drinking the milk with a bendy straw.

mouse-drinks-milk

Here is a photo of the mouse and the “box” with a blanket and pillow. My daughter reads him a bedtime story.

mouse-a-cookie

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Parody for Older Kids

If you have older kids (junior high and high school), you can do a parody of a classic work of literature, using the basic story structure of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. For example, here is a parody we wrote using Romeo and Juliet:

If You Give Romeo Juliet

If you give Romeo Juliet,
hes’ going to freak out when he realizes she’s a Capulet.
When he freaks out,
he will be too hormonal to care, so he’ll ask her to marry him.
When he asks her to marry him,
she will go to a friar who will give her a fake poison to drink.
When Juliet drinks the friar’s fake poison,
Romeo will think she is dead, so he will stab himself.
Shortly after Romeo stabs himself,
Juliet will wake up from her fake death.
When she wakes up and realizes that Romeo is dead,
she will fall on her sword.
When both families hear of their deaths,
they will decide to reconcile.
So… when a future Romeo loves a Juliet,
he will not have to freak out when she’s a Capulet!

If you would like a great deal on Early Childhood workshops, take a look at this Early Childhood Mega Pack.

If your kids are older, you will love the Romeo and Juliet Unit Study!

 

Humorous Summary of Paradise Lost

Monday, January 11th, 2016

fun-summary-of-paradise-lost

My son Bryan wrote a fun summary of Paradise Lost by John Milton:

It all started when the #1 angel, Lucifer, made the most monumental miscalculation in the history of the universe. Somehow the most intelligent finite being ever actually thought he was more powerful than God! Next to infinity, all finite numbers look identical, so it blows my mind that he thought this. Not only that, but he got one third of all the other angels to believe him and tried to get a rebellion going.

This part of the poem is kind of silly. The good angels and the evil ones fought fiercely, until they realized their wounds healed almost instantly. They decided to call a truce to go back to their… tents? They slept through the night, because there’s nighttime in Heaven? I guess? Except team evil decided to spend the night inventing gunpowder. In the morning, they all got ready for battle. Team good drew their swords and team evil shot them with guns. But this turned out to be just as pointless, so they threw mountains at each other. Wait, there were mountains in Heaven? Jesus eventually grew disinterested in the aimless conflict, so He went to the middle of the battlefield and opened a trapdoor in Heaven under team evil, and they fell down into Hell.

In Hell, the demons built a large capital city called Pandemonium. From there, they decided to send Satan out of Hell on a reconnaissance mission. Meanwhile, God was creating the earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars. On the sixth day He made Adam, who wondered why he existed. God had him name all the animals, and he realized that there was more than one of each kind of creature, but he was the only human being in existence. Then God put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs and formed it into Eve. Adam and Eve fell in love and lived in the garden of Eden. They could eat of any fruit in the garden except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Satan had disguised himself as a regular angel, but he acted rather strangely and was spotted from a distance by another angel. A warning was sent out that a spy was in their midst, and a division of angels was sent to find the impostor. God knew perfectly well what Satan was up to, and (spoiler alert) that Satan would manage to bring sin into the world by deceiving Eve; however, God decided (but isn’t He omniscient?) to let free will exist so people would have to chose Him over other things. Adam and Eve went to sleep, and Satan put dreams of eating the forbidden fruit in Eve’s mind while disguised as a toad. That’s when the angels found Satan and brought him to a high-ranking angel, and they argued for a while. Then Satan was forced to retreat.

Meanwhile, Adam and Eve woke up. Later in the day, an angel named Raphael came for a visit and told Adam almost everything that had happened in the universe up to that point. No kidding. It took all evening. Some of it was like this: “If you disobey God and eat from the forbidden tree, you’ll bring sin into the world, and lose Paradise, and one day you’ll die!” “I’ll never do that! I don’t want to lose Paradise!” Adam replied. (How does he know Paradise is a good thing? It’s all he’s ever experienced up to this point.) “Be sure to warn Eve about this,” advised Raphael.

After that, Adam and Eve went gardening, and Eve suggested they split up. “But Eve, if we split up, you might be tempted by the enemy to sin against God by eating the forbidden fruit!” (How do they know what sin is? They haven’t eaten the forbidden fruit yet.) “I would never listen to the enemy and eat the fruit! I would withstand the temptation!” argued Eve. “Good for you! But let’s not split up anyway,” counseled Adam. Eventually Eve convinced Adam they should split up.

Satan possessed a serpent which came up to Eve and said, “Why don’t you go disobey God and do what you specifically told Adam you wouldn’t do? (By the way, I’m totally not the enemy Adam specifically told you not to listen to.)” Eve thought to herself, “No innocent-looking 60-foot python’s advice could possibly be bad.” So she ate the forbidden fruit. Then she went to Adam and offered him a bite. Adam decided to die with her, and he ate it as well.

God came to the garden and asked, “Why are you hiding from me?” and Adam said, “We were afraid because we were naked.” “Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” demanded God. “Eve did, then gave me a piece,” blamed Adam. “Well, this rather innocent-looking 60-foot python told me I should!” So God cursed the serpent on its belly, gave Eve pain in childbirth, and made the ground grow thorns. Also, they were to leave paradise.

But before that, Michael (another high-ranking angel) was sent to tell Adam about loads of stuff about the future like Noah and the flood. This conversation, once again, must have taken ages. After this, Adam and Eve were thrown out of Paradise.

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