All the World’s a Stage

Have you ever heard the phrase “all’s well that ends well?” How about “all that glitters is not gold?” Did you know that these things we say today come from William Shakespeare, a playwright and poet who lived 400 years ago — and whose birthday and death day we celebrate today? All the world’s a stage, and today you will need your imaginations as we create chalk art (you can even make your own chalks), build fairy houses with Mary Bruce, make sock puppets, create backyard theater, and discover that Shakespeare Rocks! Miss Katie from Handley Regional Library shares a read aloud with us, and there are lots of links that will take you around the globe to see actual performances of Shakespeare’s plays! So grab your costumes and join us for All the World’s a Stage! These activities include things that will help your child develop fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving and engineering skills, and can help them engage in cooperative play, while fostering creativity and perseverance. Each theme also comes with recommended literature and movie connections. Feel free to throw in your own activities that might relate, and don’t forget to post your results to social media and tag @discoverymuse to share with everyone else!

Art Activity/Fine Motor Activity x 3

Chalk Up Your Shakespeare!

Chalk Up Your Shakespeare! by making your own sidewalk chalk and making an outdoor masterpiece.

For this activity, you will need:

  • Chalk — you can use your own or make the chalk in the science experiment below
  • Shakespeare quotes — you can use your own or use the ones we gathered below
  • A surface for writing

Directions: All the world’s a stage, so turn the driveway or sidewalk into your canvas! Write your favorite Shakespeare quotes, draw pictures, be creative, and make the world a more beautiful place!

Shakespeare Rocks!

Shakespeare Rocks! with these Bard-inspired rocks you can paint and leave around the neighborhood.

For this activity, you will need:

  • Rocks
  • Shakespeare quotes — you can use your own or use the ones we gathered below
  • Permanent markers
  • Paints and paint brushes
  • An old towel so you don’t make a mess

Directions: Shakespeare wrote some pretty cool things 400 years ago, so let’s honor his birthday by rocking out with the Bard! 

  • This activity can get a little messy so we suggest doing it outside if at all possible.
  • Paint your rocks first.
  • Let them dry.
  • Use your permanent markers to write your favorite Shakespeare quotes on the rocks.
  • You can also draw or paint pictures.
  • After the rocks are dry, go on a nature rock and leave your Shakespeare Rocks! where people can find them and enjoy them.

Sock Puppets!

Get the whole family involved in making sock puppets and putting on a show!

For this activity, you will need:

  • Old socks (make sure your grown up doesn’t want them)
  • Permanent markers or fabric markers
  • Optional: buttons, yarn, needle, thread if you want to sew pieces onto your puppet

Directions: All the world’s a stage, so create some puppet friends to tell your story!

  • Find a clean sock to be your puppet.
  • Use your markers to create a silly face for your puppet.
  • Remember that the heel of the sock and the top of the sock will form the mouth when you put the sock puppet on your hand.
  • Add extra elements to your puppet if you like (yarn hair, button eyes, ribbons, etc.)
  • Make enough sock puppets that everyone in your family can get involved in telling a puppet story.
  • Now, create a puppet story! Who are your characters? Where are they? What kind of adventure are they having today?

Fun Shakespeare Quotes for Rocks, Chalk, and More!

Science Experiment: DIY Sidewalk Chalk

DIY Sidewalk Chalk with cornstarch, water, and food coloring!

To make your own sidewalk chalk, you’ll need the following:

  • Cold water
  • Bowls (or recycled tubs) to mix the chalk colors in.
  • Food coloring
  • Corn starch
  • Craft sticks
  • Measuring cup and measuring spoons
  • Toilet Paper cardboard tubes (clean and empty)
  • Cardboard Box
  • Place where you can be messy

NOTE: This can be a very messy project. If you do it outside, you will cut way down on the mess factor.

Directions:

  • Fill each bowl or plastic tub with ¾ cup cold water.
  • Add 1 TBS of food coloring to each plastic tub. These will be the colors of chalk you get, so choose wisely. 🙂
  • Slowly add ¾ cup of cornstarch to each plastic tub of water. We suggest doing this ¼ cup of cornstarch at a time, so you can stir well.
  • Stir with your craft stick until it is well blended. There will be some liquid, but it will mostly be thick and lumpy.
  • Pour the mixture into the toilet paper tube. BE SURE THE TOILET PAPER TUBE is on/in the cardboard box to contain the extra mess. If you want to put your toilet paper tube into an empty and clean plastic yogurt container, that will reduce your mess even more!
  • Put the craft stick into the middle of your chalk mold. Helps in taking it out, but not critical for the success of the project.
  • Repeat for as many sticks of chalk/colors of chalk as you are making.
  • Let all of the chalk molds cure (sit in the sun or in a dry place) for at least a day.
  • Have fun making beautiful sidewalk chalk drawings!
  • Share your creations with us @discoverymuse on social media.

Science Bonus: Remember when we talked about washing your hands? You can do this with Shakespeare!

Use the Shakespeare monologues provided by the American Shakespeare Center when you wash your hands!

WASH YOUR HANDS:

Check out these tips from the CDC for healthy handwashing for the entire family! 

Use the Shakespeare monologues provided by the American Shakespeare Center when you wash your hands!

Don’t forget to laugh and dance as you make even germ busting part of your stage world! You can make washing your hands and keeping your space clean and healthy a fun part of your day.

Can you do your Germ Busting with the Bard?

Physical Activity: Take a Nature Walk with Mary Bruce and Create a Fairy House

Gather your nature items and build a fairy house with Mary Bruce!
Young Ella builds a fairy home with found objects in the woods.

For this activity, you will need:

  • A Paper Bag or Tote Bag for collecting
  • Items you find on a nature walk that your grown up says you may collect (e.g. bark, moss, cut flowers, rocks, pine cones, pine needles, leaves, etc.)
  • Your Imagination

Directions: William Shakespeare wrote some wonderful plays with fairies in them — think Midsummer Night’s Dream or The Tempest.

  • What kind of home do you think the fairies would like?
  • Go on a nature walk with your grown up and collect items to build your fairy house.
  • Create a special home for the fairies. How many walls do you want? What will be the roof? How will you make the floor? Do you want to make fairy furniture? What can you add to make the fairy home a beautiful place to live and play?

Play Theater Games and Put on a Family Show

Get some of those wiggles out while learning a little about how to create your own backyard play with sets (where the play takes place), costumes (what the characters wear), characters (who is in the play, what are their names, what do they want), and plot (what happens to the characters, what adventures do they have, what is the beginning, middle, and end of your story).

Let Miss Miranda and her “volunteer” show you the basics of putting on a family show!

Grab your family and put on a play! Here are some ideas to get you started.

Conversation Starters and Research Questions

Who was William Shakespeare? What did he write? Why do we still care about his birthday 400 years later?

Outside the Globe Theatre in London!

Videos and Websites

Inside the Globe Theatre in London!

Movie/Literature Connection:

Because we know you’re stuck at home with limited access to movies and books, we tried to compile a list that connects to today’s theme that you might already have in your collection or be able to access online. These include:

Movies/Plays:

Books: If all the world’s a stage, there are surprises around every corner. Join Handley Regional Library’s Katie Moss for a special read aloud of Circus Surprise.

Enter the magical world of Circus Surprise with Miss Katie from Handley Regional Library.
Visiting the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA before COVID-19. Check out their website to watch the plays virtually.