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 'Jack and the Beanstalk' Play


(Note: works best with at least three students)

'Jack and the Beanstalk' storybook

Cloth pouch with real bean seeds

Fishing pole

Long stretch of 3" or 4" green ribbon

or narrow 3" or 4" strip of lightweight green fabric

Green cardstock

Hot-glue gun | scissors | Velcro fastener tape

An audience!

(A simpler version is found in Preschool 08 - 'Jack and the Beanstalk' Week)

            Bring this classic fairy tale to life with a magical stage presentation to show the growth of the magical beans!

            First, read the story aloud to the students so they can review this classic favorite and its signature line: "FEE FIE FO FUM! I SMELL THE BLOOD OF AN ENGLISHMAN!!!"

For a set, you will need back curtains on a stage, or perhaps a room divider - something to hide the props person who is going to make the beanstalk "grow" using the fishing pole and invisible line!

            Unless you have time, you can do this play without elaborate scenery or costumes, so just find a place that can work as a stage and set up chairs for your audience.

Select a student to play-act the part of Jack, another to be the giant, and another to run the fishing pole "prop" - see below.

If your students are old enough to read well, you could also select a narrator to read the story aloud, or use a series of narrators. If the children are too young, then have an adult, such as a parent or grandparent, read the story and have the kids act out the parts.

If you have more students, you could add parts such as Jack's mother, the family's cow, the con artists who traded Jack the beans, and the giant's wife. All other students can be in the audience, and maybe they can have parts in your next play, or do this same one over again.

Your main prop besides the bag of bean seeds is going to be the "beanstalk" of green ribbon or fabric that you will make magically "grow" with the fishing line.

With adult supervision, run the fishing line with the hook CAREFULLY over a pipe, part of a ceiling grid, or over a room divider, and onto the floor in front. NEVER swing the hook around in such a way that it could get into anybody's eye or hurt anyone. Safety FIRST, in drama as in any other pursuit in life!

Now hook the fishing pole's hook CAREFULLY into one end of the green ribbon or green fabric. Leave the hooked ribbon or fabric on the floor.

Appoint a props master. That person or student should now go "backstage," whether it is behind a curtain or a room divider or whatever you have rigged up, and practice reeling in the fishing line so that the "beanstalk" rises up into the air.

Now you can see why it was important to get LIGHTWEIGHT green fabric, or ribbon, so that it rises easily without having to tug too hard on the fishing line!

Once you see that it is going to work, you can cut out green leaves from the cardstock or bits of extra green ribbon and hot-glue them at various intervals along the ribbon or fabric "beanstalk."

Practice again so that you know the beanstalk will "grow."

Now have either a student or an adult read the story again, and this time, the students can act out the parts. The giant should have the only line: FEE FI FO FUM!

One last touch: if you're really organized, you can pre-cut the beanstalk a few feet above ground when fully "grown," and reconnect with a Velcro fastener on both ends.

Then, in the climactic scene of the play, when Jack "cuts" down the beanstalk, you can have the actor playing Jack's part disconnect the Velcro fasteners.

The "props master" behind the scenes can unhook the rest of the beanstalk and let it fall to the floor. Voila! The giant loses again . . . as he does each time this story is presented . . . but the kids will WIN with this rather wacky but fun after-school play.

It's a charming touch to send home a few pole bean seeds in a muslin pouch for each student.

Include growing instructions from the back of the seed packet, which are usually to:

§  Plant outside in mid-May;

§  Dig and loosen the soil about one foot down;

§  Put the seeds about 1" under the soil surface;

§  Place seeds about 3 inches apart;

§  Cover with fine dirt;

§  Pat down gently;

§  Water in

§  Keep moist

§  Wait 7 to 10 days for green seedlings to appear.

Beans are very fun for children to watch because they grow so fast. You can place a beanpole next to each seed and watch the beanstalk grow like in the story! Water once or twice a week, and within two months, you should have beans to pick . . . and better yet, to eat!

Now if they would only create a seed to grow your own Goose That Will Lay Golden Eggs. . . .

By Susan Darst Williams • • Reading 02 © 2010

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