We’ve teamed up with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, organisers of Shakespeare Week, to create a challenge based on one of his best-known plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

This is a brilliant opportunity to take learning outdoors and to let the natural beauty of trees and woods inspire your pupils. It can also support literacy and drama lessons.

When you complete this challenge you’ll earn two points on the Green Tree Schools Award.

Discover trees and plants

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set in an enchanted wood filled with trees, flowers… and mischievous fairies!

Go on a class trip to a local wood and see if you can find some of the trees and plants that pop up in the play. Can you spot violets, ivy or oak trees? Download the Shakespeare plant ID sheet (PDF 809 KB) to help your pupils identify them. Take some notebooks and pencils so children can draw the plants they find.

Encourage your class to use all their senses to explore. Ask them to write down words and phrases that describe the sights, sounds and smells of the wood so you can discuss them back in the classroom.

Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for signs of fairies too…

  • Where might fairies be hiding?
  • Can you find a patch of soft moss where Titania might sleep?
  • Which plants might Puck choose to make spells with?

Perform among the trees

Find a clearing and create a woodland theatre. Use natural objects like logs and rocks for your audience to sit on, then tell your own stories and fairy tales.

Act out part of the play or quote some of Shakespeare’s famous lines, like those below. They describe the woodland setting where Titania sleeps:

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk-roses and with eglantine. There sleeps Titania sometime of the night, lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight.

Act II Scene I, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
William Shakespeare

Get creative in the classroom

Back at school, create a display about A Midsummer Night’s Dream inspired by your visit to the woods. Use your pupils’ words and descriptions, include quotes from the play, add photos and drawings of the plants you found along with any other highlights of your trip.

Your class could also write some Shakespeare-inspired poetry or descriptive passages to add to the display. Encourage them to explore themes like magical plants, fairies, an enchanted wood, plants, trees or flowers.

Get two points on the Green Tree Schools Award

To claim your points, show us how your school has completed the Shakespeare challenge.

Email your photos, videos, poems and illustrations to learning@woodlandtrust.org.uk with the subject line 'Shakespeare challenge'.

We’ll add your points to your account after we’ve received your evidence (usually within two weeks).

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Take part in Shakespeare Week

This challenge was created with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to mark Shakespeare Week - a national celebration that inspires children about the world's greatest playwright.

More ideas for schools