Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Magic Tree House: Night of the Ninjas
props and scenery for dramatic play*

I've mentioned before that my youngest's Kindergarten class is doing unit studies based on the books in The Magic Treehouse series.  Being the first year they are trying this curriculum, the teachers have asked for help with ideas and supplies for projects, activities, and their dramatic play stations.  The class first spends a week learning facts about the area/time/events that will be featured in the upcoming book.  Then over the next two school weeks, they read one chapter aloud each day and then break in to five small groups to act out the chapter that was just read to them.  Then they are allowed free "play" time in which they are allowed to still use the themed props and scenery if they'd like.  Those of you familiar with the series can imagine how easy and fun it has been to come up with ideas for subjects like Knights, Egypt and Mummies, and Pirates.  Next week they will be starting Night of the Ninjas.  Myself, a few other parents, and one of the teachers all tried googling ninjas and came up with nothing.  Well, except for about a hundred links on how to make a ninja costume and a whole bunch of  links to TMNT related items and places.  Not helpful.  So, I read the book and this is what I've come up with so far...


First off, Jack and Annie find an unfinished note in the tree house... how mysterious!  So I photo copied the page, enlarged just the two lines of the "note" and printed it out five times.  First prop, done.


Next, Japan (where the treehouse brings them) is described as having mountains in view (easily drawn and cut out using posterboard)  and, everywhere they look,  trees with white flowers.   Enter a project the class can do themselves next week...






Simply take some white (hopefully recycled) tissue paper, add a dab of glue, and stick to some brown paper that has been cut out to look like branches.  Hang up.









In the story, Jack and Annie know the samurai warriors are nearby because they can see their torches in the night.  Empty wrapping paper tubes (these projects being needed  right after Christmas worked out well!), filled at one end with construction paper flames made great torches.



I haven't completed the rest of my ideas yet, but here's a sneak peek...






Five trash bags (filled with all of the discarded wrappings and boxes  from presents!) wait in my garage to be spray painted with "stone" spray paint, to make the boulder that Jack and Annie "become" (in the way of the ninjas)  when hiding from the Samurai.  One for each group.


I also need to pick up some fabric


Some I will cut into strips so the kids can weave five mats(again, one for each group) next week.  The ninja master sits on a mat in a cave during meetings.


Also, some larger strips of black material can be used to fashion ninja head wraps for the kids.




Lastly,  I would like to pick up five mice (I'm thinking maybe a pet store, the cat toy aisle.).  "Peanut" is almost a main character in this book.



Dollar Store reading glasses with the lenses popped out would make great glasses for "Jack".




And small notebooks and pencils for when "Jack" writes down his knowledge of all things ninja.








and moonstones Just one for each group...



The teacher already has swords on hand from earlier stories; The ninjas had one tied to their backs, and the samurai warriors carried two.



Still thinking on..

creative and inexpensive ways to:


create a river for each center.  I was thinking maybe just some water scrapbook paper-  cutting swervy edges into them and laminating them, then just taping them to the floor, end to end.


Also, the samurai warriors are described as wearing bamboo shields on their chests and backs.   I was thinking of two bamboo placemats tied to together with rope (to sling the piece over the kids shoulders), leaving one in front and the other in back.  However, that could get pricey.  I have to look around...





*You know, I was just thinking,
this would make a great idea for a themed birthday party too!







In a related note: 

How cute are these ninja peg dolls...






set of three... $25


get them here.







16 comments:

Shell said...

Wow, that is amazing! I'm so impressed that they are doing that.

Things like this make me miss teaching. Maybe I'll go back some day.

For the river: does the school have any big rolls of colored butcher paper? Just a big section of blue would work for that- you could use some blue chalk/pastels to make some waves on it.

Did I already tell you that I found you on twitter? I don't know why some people can find me and some can't. I put a follow on twitter button on my blog and that's working...not that I know what I'm doing on there anyway.

gina said...

Oh, that's a good idea, better than trying to piece together smaller sheets of paper!

Wendy said...

I've always admired (and been a tad jealous!) of your creativity. You come up with some of the most awesome ideas!

gianna said...

I WANT A NINJA DOLL! :D
mommy i must have them

Shona Leah said...

Oh goodness! those ninja peg dolls! my kids will flip. We LOVE the Magic Treehouse Series AND my boys' birthday parties are coming up soon, we were just thinking up themes today. I can't wait to show them this, thank-you Gina, you are all kinds of awesome!

Tammy said...

You are SO creative! These are great ideas! Your daughter's class is so lucky to have your help. This is going to be an awesome play!

Cherry Tree Lane said...

I can't WAIT to see all of the final product.
and the ninjas? AMAZING.

Queenie Jeannie said...

Wow! Very creative!!!

kel said...

I love, love, love Magic Tree House! And what advanced Kindergarteners! My daughter's second grade class is just reading them now!

gina said...

Kel - it's all part of the Tools of the Mind program. It's modeled around the whole languauge method of teaching reading and spelling. I'm loving it so far!!

LisaLisa said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog SITSta! Wow how cool, I must say you are very creative...what a gr8 gift you have! Thanks for sharing this post!

Laura [What I Like] said...

How lucky your children are! The scenery is fantastic, and I imagine that it was great fun to make. It brings back wonderful memories of little plays that I was in as a very young child...Strega Nonna I think was my favorite with all of the pasta all over the place. I love those cute little peg dolls...may just have to treat myself

Muthering Heights said...

That is so creative...they did a good job!

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

mamabear said...

Wow, Gina! Great work! I'm very impressed with all the cool and creative ideas to go along with the book. Sounds like the kids are going to learn a lot, and have a ton of fun in the process. Does the class have an integrated snack to go along with the books as well? I know some schools do that, and some don't.

Sarah Johnson said...

Thanks for sharing MTH ideas. I teach 2nd graders and have started a Magic Tree House Club on Saturday mornings. We started 3 weeks ago and read one book each week. The kids are loving it! But, I'm trying to keep one step ahead of them with creative ideas for each week of the Club. Next Saturday is book 5, so I really appreciate your post!

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