At West End in Schools, we like to honour Roald Dahl all year round with our very own gloriumtious workshops, where children get the chance to imagine and explore Dahl’s whacky characters through dance and drama. But today we have an extra reason to delve into the world of one of the best loved children’s authors of all time.
To celebrate Roald Dahl Day and the 102nd anniversary of one of the most phizz-whizzing writers of all time, we have compiled a list of our top five easy ways to get creative with Roald Dahl. Read on for classroom ideas and our handy downloadable infographic below!
1. Marvellous Masks - The Twits
“...you would probably see much larger objects that had escaped the wipe of his hand, things that had been there for months and months, like a piece of maggoty green cheese or a mouldy old cornflake or even the slimy tail of a tinned sardine.” - The Twits, Roald Dahl
Ideal for: Early Years and KS1
Materials Required: Card beard templates, brown string, glue, elastic, all sorts of odds and ends that might have got lost in Mr Twit’s beard!
Re-read the passage of the book pointing out all of the gruesome things lurking in Mr Twit’s beard!
Onto their beard template, students first need to glue the brown string to create the bristling hairs.
Next, add in as many things as you can find that may have gotten lost in there. Have they been lost for months? Are they green with mould or have they become a habitat for other small critters?
Finally, help the students to attach their mask with the elastic. Who can pull the grumpiest Mr Twit facial expression with their trogglehumper mask?
2. Creative Characters - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
“Veruca Salt, the little brute,
Has just gone down the garbage chute .”
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
Ideal For: KS1/2
Materials Required: Paper, markers
Split students into groups to design their own vile visitor to the chocolate factory. Think about:
What do they look like?
How do they behave?
What is so horrid about them?
Who are their friends and family?
Share the designs with the rest of the class. Can we bring them to life?
How would they walk?
How would they dance?
How do they say hello?
Extension: What happens to them in the factory? Can you act it out?
3. Tell-Tale Teachers - Matilda
“...If you get on the wrong side of Miss Trunchbull she will liquidise you like a carrot in a kitchen blender.” - Matilda, Roald Dahl
Ideal for: KS2
Materials required: Imagination!
Explain the rules of the game to the students:
You must raise your hand to ask the character a question - they can’t hear if you all shout.
You can ask any question. It doesn’t need to be about the story. E.g. what did you have for breakfast? Who is your favourite superhero?
If you know the character keep it to yourself until you’re asked to guess (don’t give it away!).
As soon as you (the teacher) sits in the character chair, immediately assume the role of Miss Honey or Miss Trunchbull. As the students ask questions think about what the character would say and how they would say it!
Can the class guess who you were pretending to be?
Are any of the children brave enough to take the hot-seat and embody a character from Matilda?
4. Freeze Frames - The Dentist and the Crocodile
“Watch out!” the dentist shrieked and started climbing up the wall.
“He’s after me! He’s after you! He’s going to eat us all!”
“Don’t be a twit,” the lady said, and flashed a gorgeous smile.
“He’s harmless. He’s my little pet, my lovely crocodile.”
- The Dentist and the Crocodile, Roald Dahl
Ideal for: KS1/KS2
Materials required: Imagination, and a bit of space!
Look at particularly descriptive moments in the poem and try to recreate the Dentist’s facial expressions. What about the Crocodile’s cunning smile?
Break the poem into three or four sections which can become images assigned to different groups.
Give each group time to create a still image with their bodies which shows what is happening at that moment in the poem. (N.B students can decide if they want to have lots of dentists reacting to a crocodile or if they wanted to explore using their bodies to make furniture.)
Put all four images together one after the other to tell the story of the poem!
Extension: Can you bring the still images to life with 2 seconds of movement?
5. Magical Moves - George’s Marvellous Medicine
“Fume and spume and spoondrift spray Fizzle swizzle shout hooray
Watch it sloshing, swashing, sploshing
Hear it hissing, squishing, spissing
Grandma better start to pray.” - George’s Marvelous Medicine, Roald Dahl
Ideal for: Early Years/ KS1
Materials required: Imagination and a bit of space! Possibly, pen and paper or a whiteboard if you want to note down the words you find.
As a class make a list of some of the unusual words used throughout this magical book.
Have fun exploring actions and movements that represent those words.
Select your five favourite words and actions to apply to a fun movement based game of ‘George Says... ‘ (with the same familiar rules as Simon Says!)
Looking for even more ideas for teaching Roald Dahl? Take a look at our blog full of teacher resources on The BFG, or learn about our Bringing Books to Life workshops and Story Explorer drama workshops.
You can download our Dahl infographic here. We hope you have a whoopsy whiffling Roald Dahl day!