"Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning."
The story of Peter Pan, Wendy and Tinker Bell is an all-time favourite for many readers, both young and old, and its numerous adaptations have made it a popular both on screen and stage, as well as comic books and theme-parks. As most stories for children, Peter Pan also deals with serious themes such as growing up, motherhood, childhood and innocence, adulthood and responsibility. Besides the philosophical questions which make the story interesting for adult readers, it also offers a lot of entertainment for younger people. Magical creatures, faraway lands, friendship and family relationships make the story accessible for children, too.
Today we have three projects to do before or after reading the story with elementary and pre-intermediate learners between the ages 7 and 12. For this age group we have thought of playful projects to familiarise the readers with the story, its characters and setting it through interaction in small groups.
Fairies, pirates, crocodiles (with a clock inside), mermaids and flying children are just a few of the creatures that we meet in the story of Peter Pan. Try two activities with with your groups, depending on what resources you have.
Costumes and arts & crafts
If you have the right materials, you could create costumes for the characters in the book. Here are the materials you need to make some of them:
- Fairy: wings (wire, cloth, paper, glitter, threads), a magic wand, a skirt, flowers, golden or silver powder, scissors, glue
- Pirate: eye patch, hook, old clothes, hat, and a toy parrot!
Creating your own magical creatures
- Hook's nemesis, the crocodile with the clock inside is a fascinating creature. What other creatures might scare the evil pirate captain?
- What would you look like if you were a fairy? Draw pictures of each other.
Neverland and other lands
Take a large sheet of paper (or stick together some A3 size sheets) and grab lots of coloured pencils, crayons or paint. Discuss what Neverland is like, and what other faraway magical lands you can imagine.
- Who would live there?
- What kinds of plants would grow?
- Where would your house be? Underground? In the trees?
- Would the different creatures live in peace?
Come up with names and directions for your version for Neverland. In the story Peter says that he lives "Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning". Can you come up with similar directions and addresses? What would your Neverland be called?
Wendy and Peter Pan exchange small gifts as 'kisses' in the story. Wendy gives Peter a thimble, and Peter gives her a button. What other small things do you think they could have given to each other? What tiny objects make good gifts that you can keep with yourself? Make a list and put these fairy gifts in a box.
Then, take each object and describe it in class.
- What colour is it?
- What material is it?
- What is it good for?
- What magic power might it have?
Then you can save this box for later and play guessing games with the objects, when one student draws an object and the others have to ask questions to find out what it is.
Do you have other playful projects for young language learners? Share them with us!