William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564; celebrate his birthday with your students using these 5 fun Shakespeare activities. Or if you’d like, use these activities at your own birthday party! They’re educational, too. We’re not talking about Pin the Tail on Puck (though, that isn’t such a bad idea…).
Celebrate the Bard’s birthday or throw a Shakespearean party with these tips
1. Write a Birthday Sonnet
Write a sonnet about Shakespeare…in the Shakespearean sonnet form. Remember to use iambic pentameter, as well as the ABAB / CDCD / EFEF / GG rhyming format. For example, you might begin:
To the man who wrote all those lovely plays,
I wish you the most happy of birthdays.
Listen to Flocabulary rap Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 over some beats.
2. Write a Birthday Rap
Are Sonnets a little too formal for you? You can write an ode to the Bard in a more modern mode of rhyme: rap! Use Flocabulary’s Writing Academic Rhymes lessons to get started, or listen to some of our Shakespeare is Hip-Hop songs to get inspired.
3. Write a Birthday Card using Ye, Thou, Thee, Thy and Thine
These old-fashioned pronouns can be tough. First, learn how to use thou, thee, thy and others here. Then listen to Flocabulary’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Lullaby which uses these words, and “translate” the lines to modern pronouns. Now you’re ready to write your birthday card, and put your new old words to use. “Dear Shakespeare, I hope thy birthday is going well…”
4. Eat Food from Your Favorite Play
You’ve done a lot of writing so far at this party. Now it’s time to eat! Shakespeare included many references to food. So take some time perusing this great list of foods from Shakespeare’s plays, and prepare some of them for yourself. Perhaps you want some “great meals of beef and iron and steel” (Henry V), some “brown bread and garlic” (Measure for Measure) or “mutton and porridge” (Love’s Labour’s Lost)?
5. Play Games from the Elizabethan Era
After snacking on your mutton and porridge, play a game that was mentioned in one of Shakespeare’s plays. Shoot some archery that conjures this metaphor from Romeo and Juliet: “Shot thorough the ear with a love-song; the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy’s butt-shaft.” You could also play “Handy-Dandy” from King Lear, “Flap Dragon” from Henry IV, or “Hide Fox” from Hamlet.