A Folktale Play

Explore folktales through drama.

  • Target Age:  3-5 
  • Learning Goals:  creative thinking & problem solving, diversity appreciation & understanding, language & literacy, dramatic play & creative movement
  • Related Episode: Francine Frensky, Superstar


  • folktales (see below)


Listening to folktales from around the world can enrich children's understanding of many cultures. Decide on a story with your children and work with them to turn it into a play.

  1. Set up: Look for stories that lend themselves to easy dramatization. Here are some suggestions:
            Baby Rattlesnake, a Chickasaw tale by Te Ata
            The Bossy Gallito, a Cuban tale by Lucia Gonzalez
            The Chick and the Duckling, a Russian tale by Vladimir Suteev
            Why the Sky Is Far Away, a Nigerian tale by Mary-Joan Gerson
  1. Read: Share the story aloud with your children.
  1. Dramatize: Act out the story with your children. Make sure everyone has a part. (You and your children can play multiple roles.) You may want to narrate the show. Children can ad-lib lines, or mime the action as you provide the words. If the folktale ends with "bad guys" being punished or killed, help your children come up with an alternate ending: Is there a way the characters could have worked things out so they could be friends?

Take It Further

Ask your children to talk about their own heritage and what it means to them.

Look for cultural organizations holding events in your community. Invite family or friends to share their childhood experiences in other countries or among various U.S. cultures. Ask your guests to teach your children a game, song, dance, or greeting specific to their country or culture.

Based on an activity in Play and Learn with Arthur, Volume 1.

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