My husband is an actor and I teach children’s drama classes, so it’s really no surprise that our children jump at every opportunity for dramatic play. The dress up box is the most frequently used object in the lounge. Despite our love of drama and role-play, we don’t actually use dramatic play that often in our homeschool. However, sometimes the opportunity is too good to pass up.
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There are so many Easter craft ideas and worksheets to be found online, but using dramatic play in learning can be a more effective (and fun!) way of teaching. I’ve put together some of my favorite ideas for using dramatic play to celebrate Easter.
Who doesn’t love puppets? And there are so many kinds of puppets to choose from, that you really have no excuse not to make some.
- Print out some ready-made figures. These work especially well when you’ve been so busy with other things that Easter kind of sneaks up on you before you realise it, and you suddenly need something to do with your kids.
- Draw outlines of characters and have your children colour them in, then stick a popsicle stick on the back. My children love to make popsicle stick puppets.
- Sew some hand puppets from scrap material, or old socks. This is a great handicraft option for all you Charlotte Mason-ers out there.
Cut the bottom out of a large cardboard box and turn it on its side, or turn the couch around and throw a sheet over it, and your puppet theatre is ready.
My children love to role play. My eldest usually takes charge and often tells her sister what to do and say. One Palm Sunday when the girls were one and three, we re-enacted Jesus’ triumphal entry. The large stuffed lion got to be the Lion of Judah, the rocking horse played the part of the donkey, and the girls waved cardboard palm leaves and shouted “Hosanna! Hosanna!”
Some other scenes which would make fun role play are:
- Jesus turning over the tables in the Temple
- The Last Supper
- The soldiers arresting Jesus at Gethsemane
- Judas returning the money to the Pharisees
- Jesus’ trial before Pilate
- The women encountering the angel at the tomb
Older children might enjoy preparing a scripted scene to perform for friends and family. This would work really well for a co-op or youth group where there are lots of children to take part. There are many short scenes available for free online.
Some children might even want to write their own scenes, or try a one-act play. Other children might prefer learning an Easter poem to share.
Okay, this isn’t really dramatic play – but it still falls into the category of drama, so I’m including it. My husband loves watching movies, and so do the children. (I’m trying so hard to limit screen time, and it works pretty well until my husband gets home and puts on a kung fu movie “just for ten minutes”. Anyway.) Here are some of our favourite Easter-themed movies:
- The Passion of the Christ. My husband and I try to watch this every year. The kids are still too young – it’s very graphic – but it is so beautifully done.
- Jesus: He Lived Among Us. The girls love this movie and watch it several times throughout the year. It’s a children’s movie, but has led to some interesting conversations – like “Mommy, what’s adultery?”
- Buck Denver Asks: What’s In The Bible? Volume Ten. Jesus Is The Good News! We love, love, love Buck Denver.
- Lion of Judah. This is a sweet retelling from the perspective of a little lamb. The girls love this one as well.
What kind of dramatic play do your children enjoy?