Esther’s Purim—A Play

Esther’s Purim—A Play lesson plan

This Purim play enchants and engages children, teachers, and families. Tell Esther’s story complete with original script, costumes, and scenery.

  • 1.

    The spring holiday of Purim is joyful for Jewish people all over the world. It is a festival that celebrates survival, focusing on the story of Queen Esther as told in the Book of Esther. Purim is often observed by presenting a play about Esther and how she saved the Jews. Find out the details of the story first, so you can plan your play.

  • 2.

    What needs to be done to put on a play? These are some of the tasks you can divide up for small groups: (a) playwriting — write the script and develop each character (b) directing - assign parts and decide how actors will move in the play (c) costumes - decide what each character wears. Who will make the clothing as well as masks? (d) scenery - design and make the backdrop(s) for the play and any props to create a regal setting (e) actors and actresses - besides Esther, the play includes these royal personages: Ahasuerus; her husband, Haman; his advisor, Mordechai; Esther’s uncle; and maybe Vashti, Ahasuerus’ previous wife

  • 3.

    Masks/headgear. Cut a wide strip of colorful posterboard with Crayola® Scissors. Wrap it around the actor’s forehead so it hangs down and covers the face down to the mouth. Carefully mark where the eyeholes need to go with a Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencil. Remove the mask.

  • 4.

    Ask an adult to help poke small eyeholes with scissors. Cut out holes large enough to see through clearly. Erase extra pencil marks. Cut two parallel slits between eyes at the bottom edge for a nose flap. Draw facial features with Crayola Gel Markers.

  • 5.

    Put the mask back on the actor. Hold the mask where the edges overlap while you remove the mask. Secure edges with Crayola School Glue. Hold the posterboard in place with paper clips until the glue air dries.

  • 6.

    Shape the top edge of the mask into a rounded oval for a better fit around the head. Round off the bottom, too. Fashion tissue paper into a veil or turban and glue to mask. Gather yarn into shanks and glue on for moustaches or hair. Glue on other decorative craft items as needed for each character in the play.

  • 7.

    Scenery and costumes. Make backdrop and costumes for your play with Crayola Fabric Crayons and recycled sheets (ask an adult first). Use 100% polyester fabric (the higher the polyester content, the better the color transfer).

  • 8.

    Cut the fabric as needed for backdrops or costumes. For an abstract look, place a textured object under fabric. Remove papers from crayons. Rub crayons sideways over fabric and object. For more realistic designs, draw directly on the fabric, either before or after warming the surface.

  • 9.

    To make an ironing pad, place newspaper on an iron-safe surface. Cover with white paper.

  • 10.

    Ironing should be done by an adult in a well-ventilated area*. Set iron on synthetic. Place fabric on ironing pad. Cover fabric with white paper. To set crayon, press with slow, steady pressure for 1 to 2 minutes. Lift iron to move it. Hold papers in place to prevent blurring. Cool.

  • 11.

    Apply Crayola Glitter Glue to masks, costumes, and backdrop to add finishing touches. Lay flat to air-dry.

  • 12.

    To hang backdrop, cut openings on sides of sheet and thread backdrop through a large dowel.

Standards

  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of aspects of a topic.
  • LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Give examples of and explain groups and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: Queen Esther Saves Her People by Rita Golden Gelman; The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale by Eric A. Kimmel; The Queen Who Saved Her People by Tilda Balsley
  • Although the story of Esther takes place during Biblical times, students decide what time period their version will be set in. Remind students to make adjustments as needed to move the story to a different time period.
  • What other traditional activities are also a part of Purim? Students research the festivities and practices. Report on these to classmates using an electronic format.
  • What other holidays are celebrated with a play? Research these, including the Hindu Dassehra, and put together an afternoon of plays from different cultural traditions.