Play with illustration, pantomime and adapting a story into a show in this Family Activity especially created for 4-7 year olds! For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past Family Activities on our
is based on the famous children’s books by Mo Willems? Learn how to draw Piggie from the illustrator himself!
In the play, Elephant and Piggie realize that anything is possible. In this activity, discover if anything is possible for your family too.
Slips of paper, writing utensil, bag or hat
On slips of paper write down some action words or activities. Use this list as inspiration or write your own!
Once you have your actions written down, put them in a bag or hat and pull them out one by one and do that action.
Now try doing more than one at at a time. Can you skip AND play ping-pong WHILE wearing silly hats? Elephant and Piggie can! It becomes even more fun if you make sound effects that go along with the actions.
Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play
is an adaptation of the popular storybooks written by Mo Willems. The Kennedy Center then took those stories and turned them into a musical! If you were to make a show based on a storybook, what would it be?
The first step in adapting a story for the stage is turning the text into a script.
Downloadable script template
, writing utensils
As a family, choose a favorite storybook. Ask yourself these questions:
- What makes this story so special?
- What memories do you have reading this story together?
- What is your favorite part of the story and why?
Go through the book and create a list of all the characters in the story.
Next, using our script template
, write down the lines the characters say in the story. This is your script!
Adults – watch the video below from Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences On Tour and hear about the writing and creation process of the show.
Now that you have lines, it’s time to cast your play and get into character!
Downloadable casting template
, writing utensils, costuming materials
Think about each character in the story. What are their personalities like? Is one particularly grumpy? Maybe that part goes to Grandpa! Decide on which family member will play each role and assign the roles using our casting template
Practice performing your lines in different theatrical ways. Try:
- Changing your voice
- Playing with a new posture
- Walking the way you think your character would walk
It’s time to add costumes. A costume piece helps an actor get into the spirit of the character. Choose something that you think your character would wear, or a color that represents who they are.
If you are playing an animal, try to find an article of clothing that looks like fur or scales (depending on the animal of course!).
Have a fashion show and show each other what you chose to wear for the play. Try doing this in character!
There are many elements that make storytelling theatrical, including the set, sound and lighting. Theatrical design helps to establish the mood of the characters’ world and it provides hints for the audience to understand what they are watching. How can you transform your living space into a theatrical world?
Furniture, blankets or sheets
Look around your room to decide where the stage should be and where the audience will sit.
Talk about the world of your play and the elements that it contains. Does it take place in an ocean? A bustling city? A forest? On the moon?!
Transform the room using furniture and tables as set pieces. Get creative and drape fabric over chairs to create different shapes.
Once you have your set in place, rehearse the story you have created.
Perform your play for your family and friends. Don’t forget to take your bow!
Adults – watch the video below from Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences On Tour and hear from the people who created the look and feel of the show.