from Earth Day in Your School and Community © 1993 published by Heartland All Species Project, Kansas City, Missouri USA

Creative Drama Ideas


Now that the students have presented the case for their creature in the Creature Congress, they are ready for further exploration with drama-based learning. Theater is a powerful tool with which the students can communicate information about their studies. Let the students play around with drama exploration while concurrently researching products and food origins or other environmental topics.

Drama is process-oriented. It encourages creativity, self-expression, communication, empathy for others and social relationships. Dramatic activities can include pantomime, creative movement, creative drama, storytelling, choral speaking, storydrama, readers' theatre, theatre games and puppetry.

Some "Tools" of Drama






Cooperation ("teamwork")

Activities and Games

To integrate drama and environmental studies, try simple activities and games to build drama skills and group relationship.

  • A good place to start, especially for younger students, is with the name game. This game is played by naming an animal that starts with the same letter as the student's name. For example, Lesly could be a lion.
  • Discover New Games, which are based on the principles of minimizing competition, playing hard and nobody being hurt. Some examples are "Snake in the Grass," "Pina," "The Mating Game," and "Wind in the Willow." See New Games and More New Games by Andrew Fluegelman, Dolphin Books, Doubleday & Co. Inc.


Move like various animals.

  • Slither, creep, crawl, hop, leap, lope, prance, stalk.
  • Study pictures of animals and how they move and live.
  • Create various "scenes" in which the animals meet each other.
  • When they meet, who is the predator?
  • Don't forget animal sounds!


Characterization is the process of exploring the physical, social and psychological aspects of a role in order to create a believable character.

  • Use movement and sound to create a character (it could be an animal).
  • Learn as much as you can about the character.
  • Study where it lives, its likes, dislikes, and habits.
  • Write about the character as if you were it.
  • Speak as a character ("Creature Congress").
  • Create improvisational scenes by having characters meet in pairs or more. How do they interact?
  • Have people interact with animals.
  • Develop characters based on people from current environmental news events (loggers and salmon fishers).
  • Or people from various cultures or tribes.
  • Make masks and create characters.

Share stories about your experiences with animals or pets.

  • What did you learn about the animals or yourself through those experiences?
  • Can you reenact these stories?


Story drama is developing a story into a drama. Choose a story with clear sequence and characters. Storydrama could utilize narration or choral speaking or other dramatic activities such as puppetry.

Some story ideas you might consider are:

  • Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
  • The Lorax by Dr Seuss
  • The Wump World by Bill Peet
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
  • Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus (especially good for creative dance and art)
  • The Great Peacemaker, an Iroquois legend


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