By Allie Magnuson
“Winter Friends” is about a deer who wants to play outside with his friends, but soon realizes that some of his friends sleep through the winter. In the end, a little blue jay invites him to come out and play with the birds and the other deer.
Costumes and props are part of the fun in Reader’s Theater, so set out some random materials and let the kids create their own! My second graders did a fabulous job, with just a little support. You may wish to enlist the help of an older student as a volunteer.
The whole play takes place as telephone conversations between the deer and the other forest animals (a groundhog, a snake, a bear, and a blue jay), so you need animal costumes, and phones for props.
The phones were made with felt-covered wooden blocks, and pipe cleaners for the screens and antennae.
These hats were assembled using construction paper, googly eyes, and crayons, with sentence strips for the bands. They were put together with staples and glue.
The blue jay was a bit more complex. Its wings were made out of thin cardboard backing and feathers, and string was threaded through them so they could be attached to a student’s arms. Its beak was constructed with folded paper, and hole-punched for the string that went around the child’s head.
To give each student a chance to be one of the six characters, perform it for different classes. Both the kids doing the play and the audience will love it!
For an extension activity connected to this play, teach a lesson about hibernation. Make a chart of which animals hibernate in the winter, and why.