Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter Rabbit! What child doesn’t love this classic tale? There have been many versions created from the original story, written by Beatrix Potter. It is a popular story to tell in a classroom or at home.
My children loved the story and I wanted to present it to my class in an interesting and engaging way. Story plays are my absolute favourite activity to prepare and present!
What is a story play? A story play is a unique way of storytelling. You can create a story play for any book. Story plays use small props and toys to create the different settings in the book as well as the characters.
The story is then read, or told, orally, as the storyteller moves the characters and changes the setting as the story is told.
There is something magical about storytelling using small props and characters. Below is my story play of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Since I love to create story plays, and have created many, I have accumulated many small props that I can use for many stories. Props such as small plants, trees and fabrics to place the story on.
A shiny piece of blue fabric can become a stream, a fake house plant can become a tree or garden.
When finding materials or props to do your story play, you can always simply use what you have on hand.
For some story plays that I did not have proper props for, I simply printed, and sometimes laminated, pictures from online and used them despite them being 2D. Children will love it either way!
For this Peter Rabbit story play, I used the following materials:
- A Copy of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”
- Play animals (Rabbits for Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and their mother)
- Small Plants
- Wood Slices (To form a path)
- Green Fabric (To present the story play on)
- Fence Made from Popsicle Sticks (To create the garden)
- Plastic Play Food
- Watering Can
- Box (To create a House/Shed)
- Mr. McGregor (Large human figure or a gardening glove – A glove can be used to simply show Mr. McGregor’s hand. The glove is more effective and to scale, but can be confusing since it is the storytellers hand).
Many of the props that I used were toys that my child had at home. I made a small red or blue vest for the rabbits, like the book, and in order to distinguish between them.
Presenting Peter Rabbit
Once you have all of the materials you need, gather children around the fabric and props on a carpet. I typically then have children predict what they think the story is going to be about based on the props they see in front of them.
Next, begin reading “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”. As you read, move the characters around the different settings and props.
It is great if you know the story well, or even have it memorized, but I always simply read the story and act it out slowly as I go.
Although this idea may seem really complex and time consuming to create, it doesn’t have to be. I have done story plays before that I simply grabbed the materials that I needed for a story just before presenting it.
Children will love listening and watching to any story no matter what the props are.
If you want to add a whole other element to your story play, you can have music playing while you read, or play at certain parts of the story.
I often use my cell phone and a speaker. I have the song or sound effect paused on my phone and play it at the time I need it in the story.
Since my story plays were popular in the classrooms that I presented in, I often found that children started to create their own story plays for books that they had read.
They used toy animals to represent people and building blocks to create home. Anything goes and I just loved the learning that was happening.
If you want to take the story even further, I took children on an ‘adventure’ throughout the school after they watched the story play. We reenacted the story as characters within the tale.
I taped pictures of vegetables on the walls and throughout the school. We quietly walked through the halls so that we weren’t discovered by Mr. McGregor.
At one point we spotted Mr. McGregor, (I had printed and taped on a corner wall an outline of a farmer peeking around a far hallway).
We avoided going down that hall so that we weren’t discovered!
In the end, we found a special garden full of carrots and each child got to pull a ‘carrot’ to enjoy. (They were orange crackers with green ribbon to secure the bags and to look like carrot tops.).
The excitement during these Peter Rabbit activities was unbelievable! Presenting classic stories in these creative ways brings the stories to life, creates memories for children and a hopefully a love of reading and books.
If you are looking for more activities for children to do after you read the story of Peter Rabbit, you can download a FREE copy of a simple Peter Rabbit word search.
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More Hands-On Teaching Ideas
If you are looking for more activities and ideas to do in the classroom, or at home with kids, below are some of my favourite and most popular learning activities.
From a collection of outdoor activities and DIY escape rooms that you can create at home to storytelling activities and printables, there are lots of things to keep kids busy and learning. Click image for activity description.