I often get asked how I get my children to enjoy Shakespeare. I tell everyone to start early. I introduce this author when my children are toddlers – and even sooner now that they have an excellent books for babies such as The Baby Lit Series by Jennifer Adams, which includes the story of Romeo and Juliet. This series has several of my favorite books that all of my kids enjoyed when they were babies.
Once they are around 3 years old, I start reading from a great book that has small snippets of Shakespeare’s best works called Under the Greenwood Tree: Shakespeare for Young People – edited by Barbara Holdridge. It is beautfully illustrated and most passages take less than a
minute to read. My older son’s favorite part of this book was the “Double, double toil and trouble” passage from MacBeth. When they were 5 and 3, we memorized it and made all the “things” that the witches put into the brew out of clay and put on a show for the family. It was a lot of fun for all of us.
We also played memory with the Shakespeare Memo Game. However, my youngest has a new way to play! His favorite way to play is to put the cards in a pile, then match them to build a road and play with his cars and trucks on them.
By incorporating great literature into play, it builds a lifelong foundation of the love of reading that is unbreakable.
I would love to hear any ideas you might have for instilling a love of Shakespeare in your children. Please feel free to leave a comment below.