small text medium text large text

BLAST Early Learning
Be Dramatic!


Stuck in the Mud
by Jane Clarke; illustrations by Garry Parsons
In this cumulative, rhyming story, a little chick needs help from all his farmyard friends to get out of the mud.


The Little Red Hen
illustrated by Barry Downard
When the Little Red Hen asks the other barnyard animals who will help with the planting, reaping, and other chores they all say, "Not I," but when the work is done they all want a reward.


Open-ended Questions for Stuck in the Mud:
  • Why was the little chick in the mud?
  • What animals came to help the little chick?


Give the students something easy to act out (such as an animal or a simple activity) and whisper it in their ear.  Let them act it out for the class, and let the class figure out what the answer is.

“The Freeze” (taken from Kids in Motion by Greg and Steve)
Use “The Freeze” song to play a game where the kids dance around and must freeze when the music stops.


Vocabulary Word:

dawning: v.  to start to become light in the morning

“...a new day was dawning, peaceful and calm.”

(taken from Stuck in the Mud by Jane Clarke;  illustrated by Garry Parsons)



“I Am A Magician”: In this game, the teacher starts and says, "I am a magician and turn you all into..." and then gives two adjectives and a noun. For example: slimy, slippery worms, warm fuzzy bunnies, crisp colorful leaves. The students then act them out. If a student has an idea, they can become the magician. Obviously this can also be a good introduction to basic English language components of adjectives and nouns.

Mirroring: Mirroring is a great drama activity for preschoolers. Mirroring is funny, but it also provides the children an opportunity to be silly, all the while challenging them intellectually and physically. Having two children stand in front of each other, facing one another is mirroring. One child should be told what to do ahead of time, and the other child is faced with the daunting task of doing exactly as the other child does. The physical awareness associated with mirroring is very beneficial to the preschool child. It also instills the lesson of following the leader, and doing what is appropriate at a certain time. This lesson is invaluable for the preschooler.

Silly Charades: Ask the children to sit in a circle. The teacher should start the activity by showing any object, for example, a pen and ask the children, “What is this?” Then she should say, “Let’s play a game. We will imagine this to be something else. I will do some action with it. Then you tell me what is it?” Do some actions with it, for example, roll it like a rolling pin then ask the children, “What is this?” Once the children have caught on, let each one of them dramatize an action with it and let the others identify the imagined object.

Nursery Rhyme Charades: Each student in turn goes to the center of the circle and pantomimes an element from a nursery rhyme.  (For instance, he might pantomime someone sleeping for "Little Boy Blue.")  The rest of the class tries to guess what nursery rhyme is meant. When dealing with very young students--although I suppose this activity would work with older kids as well--it is very important for the teacher to carefully guide the acting and guessing, and to make positive comments about the performances ("Wow!  that's a really interesting way to act out Bo Peep!") and about the guesses ("Well, no, that isn't what he's doing, but I can see what you mean.  He does sort of look like he's jumping over a candlestick, doesn't he!") so that everyone feels a part of the learning.



The Giant Carrot
by Jan Peck; pictures by Barry Root
Little Isabelle surprises her family with her unique way of helping a carrot seed grow and of getting the huge vegetable from the ground.  *Includes a recipe for carrot pudding


Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip
by Denia Lewis Hester;
illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic
Grandma Lena grows a turnip so big that it takes her entire family to pull it up and half of the town to eat it.  *Includes a note about cooking "soul food"


The Little Red Hen by Byron Barton
The little red hen finds none of her lazy friends willing to help her plant, harvest, or grind wheat into flour, but all are eager to eat the bread she makes from it.


The Little Red Hen by Jerry Pinkney
A newly illustrated edition of the classic fable of the hen who is forced to do all the work of baking bread and of the animals who learn a bitter lesson from it.