Props and Costumes – Idea File

Students explore how props and costumes help tell the story in a dramatic performance.
Grades: K-3

Cat and Rat

Teaching Concepts:

  • Props and costumes in plays help tell the story.
  • A storyteller and an actor in a play have different ways of telling stories.

Academic Content

  • Drama: technical elements (scenery, props, and costumes)
  • Creative Dramatics: role-playing, improvisation

Lesson Idea

Open: Bring in a box of Halloween costumes. Have students come to the front of the class in groups of three or four. Each student selects a costume and describes the character he or she portrays when wearing the costume. Define costume and prop. Talk about the effects of costumes and props in playing make-believe and in a play.

View: “Cat and Rat.” Discuss the main ideas of the story. Ask students to consider what they would need to make this a play. View the video excerpt “Wind in the Willows: The Motor Car” without the sound to explore how costumes and props create dramatic effects.

Discuss: The teaching concepts.

Expand: Have students create costumes and props to dramatize the story of Cat and Rat. Possible props for each character might include a knife for the cat, a rat’s tail for the rat, milk for the cow, hay for the barn, a key for the shop, coal for the coal bank, a feather for the eagle, a piglet for the sow, corn for the corncrib, and a key for the man.

Mary Henson

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K-12The Arts