The Billy Goats Gruff
9 March 2009
Once again, we have teamed up with Yellow Door to offer you a mini series of interactive resources and activities focusing on three traditional tales. This month, get set to trippetty trap over the bridge…
Tell the children the traditional story of ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’, or read a storybook version.
Talk about the story with the children. Count the three goats and focus on positional language, such as ‘across’, ‘over’, ‘behind’, ‘in’, ‘on’ and the ‘other side’. Look at the goats and ask the children how they are different from each other. Encourage them to use the words ‘smaller’ and ‘bigger’.
Ask the children questions to reinforce the story and each character’s role and motives. For example:
- Who was the first goat to cross over the bridge?
- Why did the little goat want to cross over the bridge?
- Why did the troll want to stop them?
- Why did he let the first two goats past?
- What happened to the troll in the end?
Encourage the children to explore the story through role play by creating a Billy Goats Gruff meadow and river. Provide large construction kit pieces to make a bridge, together with paint, paper or fabric for the river, and mats or cards for the troll’s stones. If your area is outdoors, paint a stream on a hard surface and use a climbing frame as a bridge. Make stepping-stones from sections of tree trunk.
Invite the children to use the Billy Goats Gruff role-play area for imaginative play. Provide them with masks and suggest that they act out the story.
Trippetty trap, trippetty truff
As the children use the role-play area, encourage them to think about how each goat might move over the bridge. Invite the children to join in a ‘follow-my-leader’ dance. Lead the way, demonstrating quick, small, running steps on tiptoe for the small goat; medium, walking steps for the middle-sized goat, and large, loud strides for the big goat. If possible, carry out these activities where there is plenty of space, so that movements are not constrained.
Encourage the children to talk about how they move – is it fast or slow, loud or soft?
Tell it yourself
Download the interactive ‘Tell it yourself’ activity. Let the children move the characters around onscreen as they retell the story or create their own stories.
Talk about the onscreen picture with the children. What can they see? Can they spot where the troll is hiding? Talk about the landscape. How is it different from, or similar to, the area where you live? Have the children ever been anywhere like this?
As the children play with the story onscreen, encourage them to use the characters to make up stories of their own – it could all have ended very differently. Ask what would have happened if…
- the big Billy Goat Gruff had crossed the bridge first?
- the troll came back one day?
- the troll was friendly?
- the little goat found a boat?
Create a meadow, stream and bridge in your small-world play area. Invite the children to play with the story using wooden or plastic figures.
Download the blackline character pictures. Use these pictures to make stick puppets and encourage the children to use them to perform their retelling of the story.
Ask a child or an adult to hold one of the puppets and to assume the role of that character. Invite the rest of the group to ask questions. Begin with simple questions about the character’s name and appearance, before moving on to ‘Why did you…?’ questions. Explore the character’s feelings by asking, ‘How did you feel when…?’.
These ideas and activities are taken from the Come Alive Stories series and are reproduced here by kind permission of Yellow Door.
For each story, there is a resource pack, an interactive CD-ROM and a wooden character set. For more information, visit Yellow Door or call 0845 603 5309.
Add a soundtrack
Suggest that the children use percussion instruments to add a soundtrack to their retelling of the story. Invite them to choose different instruments for each character. Talk about the reasons for their choices. For example, they might choose to play high, clicking notes on the castanets for the little goat; or a low, booming tambour for the big goat. Can they find a mean-sounding instrument for the troll?
Make up a rhythm for each goat as it crosses the bridge. Encourage the children to think about how each goat would move, for example, short, quick notes for the little goat; and long, slow notes for the big goat. Can the children create a quiet rhythm for the little goat, a louder rhythm for the middle goat and the loudest sound for the big goat?
Nursery Education PLUS readers can claim a special 10% discount by quoting ‘Nursery Education Come Alive discount’ when ordering.
- Use the children’s interest in the story as a springboard to finding out more about animals, meadows and bridges.
- With parental permission, take the children to a farm to see some goats. Take photographs and talk about these back at your setting. Bring in some items associated with goats such as wool (cashmere or angora) and goat milk products.
- Discuss why the goats are different sizes. Do the children think that the little goat is younger? Compare the sizes of children in families. Also, look at the differences in size between children of the same age.
- Talk about other animals and plants that you might find in a meadow, for example, flowers, minibeasts, mammals and birds. Make a group collage of the goats’ meadow.
- Look at the bridge in the story and collect pictures of other bridges. Compare different types of bridge. What shape are they? What materials are they made of? Provide construction or recyclable materials for the children to design and make their own bridges.