While adults teach kids to listen to their elders, the protagonist in Sergei Prokofiev's composition "Peter & the Wolf" defies such convention. Despite his grandfather's warning, Peter goes into the meadow, encounters a dangerous animal and becomes a hero after capturing a wolf. When teaching the musical story and its possible morals, parents and teachers can engage kids in activities incorporating key elements and moments from the tale.
Kids use dance movements to represent characters in "Peter & the Wolf" for this activity. Taking turns, kids try conveying the following character attributes and emotions via dance: Peter's carefree spirit; Peter's grandfather's heavy steps; the bird's fluttery behaviour; the cat's sleek steps; the duck's hopping and swimming motion; the wolf's slyness; and the hunters' stomping march.
Instrument Learning And Matching
With music representing each character in "Peter & the Wolf," kids learn about instruments and instrument sounds in this activity. Using an overhead projector or holding up printouts, the adult asks kids to identify the following instruments and, after listening to a recorded sample, the sound they make: a bassoon, clarinet, flute, French horn, oboe, string instruments, timpani and bass drum. The adult then gives all kids a worksheet, on which they match each character from the story with its corresponding musical instrument(s). For instance, kids should match the bird with the flute; Peter with the strings; and the wolf with French horns. As a variation, kids choose a musical instrument, style or artist that they feel best represents themselves. Kids take turns explaining their choices.
Kids make character puppets and recreate the story of "Peter & the Wolf" in this activity. After reviewing the story, kids use items such as paper bags, paper plates, socks and markers to make the characters. Upon finishing their puppets, kids take turns acting out scenes from the story. As a variation, kids make masks representing each character and perform scenes from the story.
Seeing that Peter defied his grandfather's warning of the dangers that may lurk in the meadow, you could have kids think about the dangers that their families warn them to avoid. Kids divide into groups and create a 60-second safety commercial. After rehearsing their safety message, kids take turns presenting their commercials. If possible, the adult may record all commercials and have kids watch and comment on them.
Sculpting A Character
Kids "sculpt" other kids into "statues" in this "Peter & the Wolf" activity. After kids pair up, the adult assigns each pair a character that the wolf chases (Peter, the cat, the bird or the duck). The "sculptor" kid turns the "clay" kid into a frozen statue, representing their character at the moment he's most scared of the wolf. Kids switch roles after completing their first frozen statue.
While Peter brings the wolf to the zoo after capturing him in "Peter & the Wolf," kids put the wolf on trial to determine his fate in this activity. Kids divide into two groups, with one arguing to send the wolf to the zoo and the other arguing to release him to the wild. The adult moderates as groups take turns presenting their case and debating the issue. After both groups present their case and try to get the other group to change its mind, kids vote on the wolf's fate.
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