Celebrate spring with lesson plans, crafts, and science activities to help you teach about plants, insects, and weather!
In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb: A Reader's Theater Script
Capture the excitement of spring with a play that covers the theme of changing seasons.
- The Lion-like North Wind (played collectively by any number of students)
- The Lamb-like Spring Breeze (played collectively by any number of students)
- Dark gray winter cloud
- Snowflakes (played by any number of students)
- Flowers (played by any number of students)
- Woodland animals: squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits (played by any number of students)
Props and Costumes (Optional)
- Paper leaves (cut from red, orange, and yellow construction paper)
- Paper icicles (cut from blue construction paper)
- Paper leaf buds (cut from green construction paper)
- Length of brown craft paper (running across the entire length of stage), cut lengthwise to represent uneven ground line (approximately 3 feet high) for characters to "burrow" behind. This paper ground line may be taped upright against student chairs placed a few feet apart.
- Help children design paper-plate stick puppets to serve as simple masks representing the characters in the play. As they perform the play, they can hold the puppet masks as they go through the movements. Consider adding ribbons or crepe-paper streamers to the masks representing the wind and the water.
- Tip: Since nature is depicted as characters in this play, this is a good opportunity to introduce students to the concept of personification in literature.
- A supply of paper-plate spring flower masks can be hidden behind the craft-paper ground line. Students playing the snowflakes can "melt" and then exchange their snowflake masks for spring flower masks.
- To prepare the student trees, tape autumn leaves to their "branches." Then place a supply of paper icicles and paper leaf buds nearby for the wind to tape to the branches at the appropriate times.
Pantomime Production Notes
The action words in italics in the following pantomime play suggest movements the students may act out. Before asking the children to pantomime any movements suggested by the story, have them listen as you read through the entire story line. Then print the underlined words on a piece of chart paper. As you familiarize students with the list, encourage them to suggest a variety of ways they might use movements to depict each action. Be prepared to offer some ideas of your own — especially for those movements that children may find difficult to envision. Jot any movement ideas in parenthesis next to the words on the list, for example:
darkened: hunch shoulders, lift elbows, and cover face with hands
bubbled and foamed: bend the knees up and down standing in place
icy gusts: make large circles across the front of the body with the arms
felt quite powerful: puff up chest, throw shoulders back
give up hope: throw hands up in despair
melted over to nibble: slither body down and up again
scurried over to hear: run with tiny, hurried steps
swirled up to nudge away: flutter wrist upwards
Act I: The Winter Woodland
Narrator: It was the beginning of March, the dead cold of winter. Each day, a cheerless cloud darkened the sky as the powerful North Wind roared across the woodland like a huge lion with razor-sharp icicle teeth. Ever since the first snowflakes of winter first drifted down in November past, North Wind could not be stopped.
[Students representing snowflakes can begin swirling around and then moving more furiously on stage as the wind whips them around. Also, if you have opted to use paper-plate snowflakes, a few of these may be placed in front of the ground line to simulate snow piling up.]
All winter long, the wind ripped a frozen path through the woods, slamming this way and that, leaving crusty layers of ice and snow in its wake. Trees that once stood tall with branches full of colorful autumn leaves, now hung low with sharp, glassy icicles. [Students playing the wind take away taped-on autumn leaves and replace them with icicles.]
Streams and brooks that once bubbled and foamed were frozen into solid ribbons of ice; woodland animals that once scampered in the warm autumn sun, now huddled together in the stone-cold ground to escape the wind's force; flowers that once swayed in the autumn air now lay quiet and bent beneath the silent weight of the frosty snow.
Even the children, who, in November, had dangled tongues and mittens in the air trying to catch the first snowflakes of winter, now lowered their heads and squinted against the icy gusts that bit into their faces.
By mid-March, North Wind thought it time to swirl about and survey its work. It licked its icy lips and smiled a frosty smile as it glared at the frozen land. North Wind knew it had helped to freeze the woods over, and it felt quite powerful, indeed! All the woodland plants and animals — and even the children who played there - were about ready to give up hope that the spring thaw would ever arrive.
And then, at the end of March, just when the whole world — including all the hope and promise — seemed to be forever frozen still and lifeless, a tiny springtime surprise popped up! The trees stretched over to see it. The frozen waters melted over to nibble at it. The woodland animals scurried over to hear it. The children bent near to smell it. And together everyone was feeling the same sense of wonder for a velvety crocus flower — the very first flower of springtime — had managed to push its fresh, flowery face up through the sparkly snow.
Everyone began shouting hoorah! — that is until the North Wind spotted the tiny bud, drew in its breath, bent down dangerously close to the fledgling flower and tried blowing a blustery wind against the delicate petals. But, much to North Wind's surprise, all that came out was a whisper-soft spring breeze, warm and gentle as a baby lamb's breath.
The breeze touched the bud's petals and then swirled up to nudge away the dark winter clouds that hung above. Suddenly the woods were bathed in sunlight. The new bud turned its petal face toward the light.
Meanwhile, more and more flower buds began popping up everywhere! Snow and ice melted into liquid streams and brooks. Animals hopped out of their hiding places to stretch and scamper at last. Icicles on the trees melted, leaving tiny leaf buds on the tree branches. [Students playing the wind can now replace the taped-on icicles with taped-on leaf buds.]
Children peeled off their winter mittens, boots, and hats so they could run and play spring games. By the time March turned into April, the whole woodland was dancing around to celebrate the new spring season — especially the lamb-like spring breeze who had once blown fierce as a lion in winter.
Adapted from Plays Around the Year: More Than 20 Thematic Plays for the Classroom, edited by Liza Schafer and Mary Beth Spann.