A play performance with preschoolers? Where children pick parts, make props, and decide on what to say? You bet. Instead of telling children what to do, I ask them what they want to do.
We learned about the Southwest, and a favorite book was The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell. It’s a Southwest take on The Three Little Pigs. Perfect story for a play performance!
In this story, the pigs are javelinas, and the wolf is a coyote. The first house built was with tumbleweed (not straw.)
We made the tumbleweed house by gluing shredded paper onto styrofoam balls. That was fun, and it looked just like tumbleweed.
The second house built was with with the sticks that are part of the tall saguaro cactus (not sticks from trees.)
Our sagauro stick house was made with craft sticks glued in long rows. This was fun, and children wanted to make sure that it looked like long saguaro sticks. It did!
The third house was built with adobe bricks (not regular bricks.)
We painted cardboard blocks with gold and brown paint. They became perfect adobe bricks.
Let the play begin!
Children lined up in front of the audience. Cowboy hats, bandanas, and coyote ears were perfect costumes for javelinas and coyotes. Our sellers needed a hard hat and a tool apron, a western vest, and a big sombrero.
They did a wonderful job. When a javelina came to get tumbleweed and saguaro sticks, the sellers said, “Not a good idea.” When a javelina came along to get adobe bricks, the seller said, “Great idea!”
The javelinas persisted, and the sellers gave them their wares. The javelinas built their houses, and of course the coyote came along. The big debate was what to chant, “Little pig”, or “Little javelina.” Yes, children voted on “little javelinia.” They also voted on everyone in the play saying the chant:
Little javelina, little javelina, let me come in.
Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin.
That was so much fun!
Coyotes decided to put their hands on their hips and stomp around, sniffing for javelinas. Children who were javelinas scrambled under tables into their houses, and the chant rang out loud and clear, from house to house.
The play continued; coyotes climbed onto the roof of the adobe brick house, jumped down the stovepipe of the wood stove, and ran away with plenty of howling.
Here’s the thing; I handed over the reins to the children, and they rose to the occasion. Because they were empowered, they grew in confidence. They felt good about themselves. They worked together. They had fun.
Here is a video of part of the play:
Play performances rock, as long as the children are in charge.