toddlers wearing masks

Daycare Lesson Plans on Shakespeare

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Finding interesting daycare lesson plan ideas can be challenging sometimes. Introducing Shakespeare to young children in a daycare setting can be a fun and engaging experience. Try these daycare lesson plans on Shakespeare for great enrichment for your kids.

Daycare Lesson Plans on Shakespeare

While you may not delve into the complexities of his works, you can introduce them to the themes, characters, and language of Shakespeare in a simplified and age-appropriate manner. Many classic artworks are full of themes that children shouldn’t be exposed to, so tailor it for toddlers.

Shakespeare tells many tales of violence, suicide, and adult love. But you can teach kids about classics, poetry, friendship, and more that can be based on Shakespeare’s works. Classic literature has so much to offer children.

I start every special unit I teach my daycare kids with a book. I can base a lot of the plans off of the book and flesh it out from there. When we studied Shakespeare, I chose the play a Midsummer Night’s Dream and we changed it from a romantic love story to a friendship story.

My mother has a degree in fine arts, and I went to a few schools that focused on fine art such as Grant Wood Elementary School where we studied a lot of art and were exposed to a lot of art. My mother went to art school in Iowa as well, so that time in my life was very art-focused. My whole family is very artistic, and there were always a lot of books, textiles, artworks, and things around us.

I played classical music on the violin and viola. My sister played it on the clarinet and oboe. My mom played it on the flute. We were always exposed to so many opportunities to learn about it. From having watercolors, and pen and inks in our home, to taking art museum trips around the country.

Childcare lesson plans

A good lesson plan has a mixture of indoor and outdoor play, active and quiet play, teacher-directed structured play, and free play.

Great daycare lesson plans include:

Now, back to Shakespeare. When we studied Shakespeare here at daycare, we talked about poetry, plays, drama, and other types of art. We had a wonderful time learning about how these things impact society and life. How they mimic relationships that happen between people and teach them lessons and how to get along. There is a lot of value in it.

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor born in 1564. He wrote many famous works such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Much Ado About Nothing. He influenced literature through modern times and his works are studied still today.

Shakespeare for toddlers

Remember to keep the activities short, interactive, and age-appropriate, focusing on engaging toddlers’ senses and sparking their curiosity and imagination. Shakespeare can be a source of wonder and magic even for the youngest learners, inspiring a love for storytelling and creative play.

If you would like a printable copy of this two-week lesson plan, you can get it here with the Oklahoma ELGs included. It also includes a supply list of what you’ll need to do them.

For our lesson plans, I began with these two books. We talked about Shakespeare himself for a few days and then talked about drama and Midsummer Night’s Dream for a few, ending in a performance of our own version of it.

Designing lesson plans on Shakespeare for young children requires creativity and adaptation to their developmental level. Below is a sample lesson plan suitable for preschool-aged children (3-5 years old):

flibbertyjibbiet book for shakespeare study for kids

Shakespeare lesson plans

Introduction to Shakespeare

Materials Needed:

  • Pictures of Shakespeare in a book or on the internet
  • Shakespeare story books with simplified versions
  1. Gather children in a circle and introduce the topic of Shakespeare. Show pictures or illustrations of Shakespeare and his famous plays. Discuss what a character is and talk about some of his famous characters such as Puck, Romeo, Hamlet, etc.
  2. Engage children in a discussion about what they know about Shakespeare. Keep it simple and age-appropriate.
  3. Read or tell a simplified version of a Shakespearean story, such as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” or “Romeo and Juliet,” using age-appropriate language and engaging storytelling techniques.
  4. Encourage children to participate by acting out parts of the story, making sound effects, or joining in on repetitive phrases.

Shakespearean Character Dress-Up:

Materials Needed:

  • Picture books or illustrations of Shakespeare’s plays
  • Costumes and props for dramatic play
  1. Set up a dress-up area with costumes and props related to characters from Shakespeare’s plays (e.g., crowns for kings and queens, capes for fairies, hats for jesters).
  2. Allow children to choose costumes and props and encourage them to role-play as characters from Shakespeare’s plays.
  3. Guide children in acting out simple scenes or creating their own stories inspired by Shakespearean characters.
a child making a drama mask

Arts and Crafts – Shakespearean Masks:

Materials Needed:

  • Mask forms or paper plates to cut into masks
  • Decorations such as markers, stickers, pom poms, feathers, glitter, sequins, jewels, etc.
  • Glue or glue dots
  1. Provide children with blank masks, markers, crayons, and craft materials.
  2. Encourage children to decorate their masks with symbols and images inspired by Shakespearean themes (e.g., crowns, stars, flowers, swords).
  3. Assist children in creating their masks and encourage them to share their designs with the group.
kids studying their own faces in the mirror

Self-Reflection and Fine Motor – Study Faces

Materials Needed:

  1. Provide children with their own mirrors.
  2. Encourage them to study their own features and describe what they see.
  3. Talk to them about how Shakespeare expressed himself through different kinds of art.
  4. Give them a piece of paper and let them draw their own faces how they see themselves.
  5. Talk about what Shakespeare might have worn and how the dress was at the time.
  6. Let them color the sheet in whatever colors they choose.
kids coloring shakespeare pictures

Music and Movement – Shakespearean Dance

Materials Needed:

  • Renaissance music
  • Scarves, bubbles, instruments, etc.
  1. Set up sensory stations around the room with different materials for toddlers to explore.
  2. Use colored scarves for dancing and movement activities to represent magic and fairies. Blow bubbles to create a magical atmosphere. Provide musical instruments for toddlers to make sounds like fairy magic.
  3. Encourage toddlers to explore and interact with the sensory materials at their own pace, providing supervision and support as needed.
  4. Play instrumental music inspired by the Renaissance era or Shakespearean plays.
  5. Lead children in simple dance movements or gestures inspired by the music and themes of Shakespeare.
  6. Encourage children to use their imaginations and express themselves through movement.
a story that toddlers wrote as a group

Cooperation – Writing a Group Story

Materials Needed:

  • Notebook or piece of paper and pen
  1. Suggest to the kids that you will make up a story together. Tell them the first line such as, when I woke up today, I…
  2. Allow each child to add a sentence or two to the story building on what the last person said. You can reread the story and then ask them what happens next.
  3. Once each child has had a turn, tell them the story is finished and read it all back to them.
homemade quill pens and homemade blackberry ink
blackberries straining over a bowl for making homemade ink

Make Your Own Quill Pens and Ink

the end of a feather being cut with an exacto knife

Materials Needed:

  • 1 pint of fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • Medium sized feathers. Big feathers don’t work, you need some side feathers from a turkey or pheasant feathers with medium sized ends, not the big turkey feathers with big ends.
  • Exacto knife
  • Small jar like a baby food jar or 2 oz mason jar
  • White paper
a child looking at a turkey feather
kids writing with homemade quill pens
  1. Place your blackberries in a colander and smash them well. You can also whiz them up in a blender.
  2. Place them in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and let it set for a few hours to drip out all the juice.
  3. Add the salt and vinegar to the juice to preserve it and make the ink stay on the paper. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  4. Now it’s time to make your quill pen. Slice off the end of your feather at an angle.
  5. You will see that the feather is hollow, that is what holds the ink for writing.
  6. Cut the very tip of the feather off straight and then cut down the length of the long side so when you press down with your hand, the two pieces spread apart a little bit to allow the ink out and write.
  7. Allow the kids to dip the ends of their quill pens into the blackberry ink and write. It’s magical!
a child in a donkey costume and another child looking at him

Shakespeare Drama – Acting out A Mid Summer Night’s Dream

kids acting out shakespeare's A Mid Summer Night's Dream Play

Materials Needed:

  • A Greek male, a Greek female, and Fairy Costumes, plus a Donkey Costume
  1. Ask the kids which character they want to be and help them all get their costumes on.
  2. We talked about the play, how we were going to act it, and what would happen with each act. Then we practiced and performed it. The kids loved it! Here’s how we did ours from our own interpretation:
Kids in costumes acting out a Shakespeare play
  • The man and the woman were best friends and ran away to play in the woods.
  • The fairies were watching from the woods.
  • When the man and the woman fell asleep, the naughty fairy turned the man into a donkey.
  • When he woke up he and the woman were scared. The woman ran away.
  • The other fairies were mad that he scared the people.
  • They turned the man back into a man.
  • When the naughty fairy fell asleep they turned him into a donkey.
  • He woke up and was scared.
  • Then they turned him back into a fairy and he learned his lesson.
  • The fairies and the people became friends and played together.

Super simple, and so fun. The kids thought turning into a donkey was hilarious. You can interpret a story any way you’d like, but we enjoyed this.

It’s so much fun to use daycare lesson plans that are different from what we usually see. For more ideas that aren’t your normal themes to study, check these out:

And also check these out:

If you’re looking for some amazing resources to help you run the business side of your daycare or plan activities with your kids, check these supports out:

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