ASI Theatre, Art and Literacy Lessons For Preschool Age Youth

ASI Theatre and Story telling Program Projects

Weeks 1-6: Getting to Know You


Students will feel comfortable in a new environment, realizing that theatre class is a place where they can make new friends while learning how to sing, dance, and act. Hands-on art projects will help students take their experiences home.

1) Alphabet Art Project

Students draw their names in bubble letters and share with class using an action, adjective (describing word), starting with the same letter their name starts with. *Help younger students identify words starting with the same letter as their first name. Use laminated cartoon bubble as a prop!

Warm-Up: Laughing Liza, Jumping Jack

  • Students stand in a circle, think of their first name and the letter their name starts with. Then think of a word that begins with that same letter which they can act out. It can be an action, adjective (describing word), animal, etc.
  • Start with teacher’s names as an example (“Laughing Liza, Jumping Jack”), demonstrating how to do a movement and sound that corresponds with their descriptive word-name combination.
  • Students with same letters can repeat the word-name combination while doing the movement.
  • After each student has had a turn, start again but this time have them as a group repeat the word-name and movement for each person around the circle to see if they can remember everyone’s name and action.
  • Repeat at the beginning of class for the first few weeks until everyone knows each other’s names.

2) Discussion: What Is Theatre?

  • Ask students, “What is theatre?” Many have never seen a play, so explain how live theatre is different from watching a movie.
  • Talk about how musical theatre consists of singing, dancing, prop-making and acting. Students will try each of these four activities during the next 10 weeks.
  • Show students where the audience will sit for final show. Have students face this direction whenever possible to get used to turning their bodies toward the audience and projecting their voices. 

Build a Theatre and actors with popsicle sticks and paper

Students design a 3-d Stage using ASI Handout, scissors and crayons.

3) Focus: Teaching Tolerance Finding shared interests

  • The group walks around the room, looking at each other carefully.
  • Say, “Find someone who has the same _________ as you” (shirt, shoes, eyes, hair, etc.).
  • Have them form a group with people who share this similarity and review each other’s names.
  • Repeat until everyone has ended up in several different groups. Explain that people can be different and the same in many ways. Read Toad and Frog series.

My Friends and Me

Learn how to draw people using basic proportions (6 heads high rule) and geometric shapes (oval head, hands and feet; rectangles for shirt sleeves and pant legs, triangle skirt). Students draw themselves and their friends with similarities.

4) Self-Portrait with paper bag puppet

Students draw face onto construction paper and glue onto bag so mouth can open and close. Add yarn for hair, pattern paper and cloth for shirts and arms.

Voice: If You’re Happy and You Know It

  • Sing the song, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”.
  • Do the standard verses, then repeat with different actions like “turn around”, “laugh out loud”, and “take a bow”.
  • Simple songs are a great way to introduce students to singing in unison. Practice projecting voice across stage. Use Paper bag puppets as singers.

5) Transportation

Students fold an origami train, plane, boat and fish to fly, float and swim.

Movement: Follow the Leader

  • Students line up behind teacher as the leader.
  • Each student needs to follow the person that is right in front of them (this is challenging for young students) and not get out of line.
  • Have students follow teacher around the room in a variety of ways: marching, hopping, skipping, tiptoeing, ice skating, flying, swimming, riding a horse, like a robot, etc. Use origami to move at seats with large classes.
  • After the class masters coordinated group movement, an older student selected to become the “leader”.

6) Imagination: Sleeping Animals

  • Students spread out around the room. Students pretend to go to sleep when the lights are turned off.
  • When the lights come on, teacher calls out the name of an animal and students move around the room pretending to be that animal.
  • When the lights turn off students go back to sleep. Repeat several times with different animals.
  • Remind the students to use their entire body and face to become the animal.

Reflection Question:

What are the three things people do in theatre (singing, acting, dancing) and which one is each of the student’s favorites so far?

Habitats and Hibernating Animals

Students cut construction paper with scissors and glue to make Animals with moving eyes and eyelids or make animals behind cave rock / grass doors or in holes underground.

Weeks 7-10: Make Believe

7) Objective: Students will use their imaginations to be different characters and go on make believe adventures.

Warm-Up: Imagination Stretching

  • Students sit in a circle and follow teacher in a floor stretch.
  • Butterfly – students put the bottoms of their feet together and move their knees up and down like a butterfly. Students asked where they want to fly today and fly fast and fly slow as class pretends to go there. Then land on a flower (nose to toes) and butterflies go to sleep. When students wake up, ask what color flower they landed on.

Flying Insects!

Make a Butterfly with moving wings by attaching only the center body to a second piece of paper. Use tissue paper and pipe cleaners to make flowers.

8) Warm-Up: Imagination Stretching

  • Students sit in a circle and follow teacher in a floor stretch.
  • Windshield Wipers – put your legs straight out in front of you and move your feet like windshield wipers, back/forth and in/out. Reach up high for the rain clouds and pull them down onto your feet (nose to knees). Students asked where they want to drive to today.

Pop up Car with moving Windshield Wipers

Students fold and cut construction paper with scissors and glue to make 3-D car.

9) Warm-Up: Imagination Stretching

Students sit in a circle and follow teacher in a floor stretch.

  • Spider – open your legs out to the sides. Hook your thumbs together to make spiders. Have the spiders crawl all the way over to one foot, then the other foot, then all the way out to the middle (nose to floor).

Students Sing: “Insie winsie spider”

Dancing Spider

Students use yarn and hole puncher to make moving legs of spider and learn to draw web using black marker. Attach shoes to 8 feet!

Paper Masks

Students use yarn and hole puncher to make masks and decorate with markers, glitter, plastic gem stones, glue and construction paper.

10) Last class,  Art Show and final Skit 

Students sit in a circle and follow teacher in a floor stretch.

  • Seal – Students lie on their stomachs and push up off the floor with arms straight. Reaching their noses up to the air and pretending to balance a ball like a seal.

Moving Seal Head with beach ball

Students cut grey construction paper head of seal with scissors and fold and glue and add whiskers and nose with black marker. Fold two circles and cut half diameter to join to make a 3-D ball.

Art and theatre skit project “ants at a picnic parade” students make ants out of black paper . Students march around room wearing  pipe cleaner antenna and find “food items” that start with the first letter of student’s name. They get items from picnic basket on blanket , say their name “Kalif likes Ketchup ” and then march on to ant hill.