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Dancing With the
Nursery Rhyme Stars

Build literacy skills with this fun role play activity! Students read a play script and answer key questions with followup activities

Grade Level: 3-6

Materials: Printable Student Handout Script

Story Preview: Famous nursery rhyme characters compete in a dance contest.

Roles: Narrators 1-2; Old King Cole; Jack and Jill; Jack Be Nimble; Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary; Peter Piper; Queen of Hearts; Little Boy Blue; Little Miss Muffet

Additional Resources

* Mother Goose Rebus Rhymes from Enchanted Learning
* Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose
* Nursery Rhymes and Silly Stuff
* Nursery Rhyme Scavenger Hunt
* The Dance
* Dancing Globe

Setting: present day, a kingdom in a faraway land

Theme(s): nursery rhymes, dance


  • competition: contest; test of skill for an award
  • contestant: person who participates in a contest
  • highness: title for addressing a royal person
  • tuffet: a kind of stool or low seat
  • dynamic: energetic, lively, intense
  • cockleshell: the hard outer covering of a water animal similar to a clam
  • ovation: excited recognition, often with loud clapping
  • tart: a small dessert pie with filling and no top crust

Props: (Optional) classroom desks; CD or other music player (for dance music); teacher-provided or student-made pot; bag of toy coins; student-made paper crowns (for Old King Cole and the Queen of Hearts); toy or student-made horn (for Little Boy Blue); stool or cushion (for Little Miss Muffet); toy or student-made microphone; two coats or capes (for Old King Cole and the Queen of Hearts); a few bells and shells (for Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary); candlestick or candleholder (for Jack Be Nimble)

Follow-Up Questions:

  • Who is the host of the show and who are the judges? Who are the contestants?
  • What is the grand prize?
  • What are some clues in the dialogue that tell about the characters in the play? Give three examples.
  • What is Peter Piper's role?
  • What were three of the dances that were performed?
  • How would you describe the original dances performed by Teams 1 and 2? Compare and contrast them.
  • Who did Jack and Jill donate the pot of gold to? Why?

Follow-Up Activities: Encourage students to research the nursery rhymes for the characters in the play. Then have each student create an original rhyme for a new nursery rhyme character. Invite students to draw pictures to illustrate their characters. Compile students' rhymes and drawings and post them on your class or school Web site, or put them into a booklet for your classroom library. You also might have students research the dances mentioned in the play, as well as other dances. Study how they are performed. Then hold your own classroom dance competition!

Article by Lois Lewis
Education World®
Copyright © 2006 Education World