In the spirit of Disney+ streaming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker this week, I have compiled a list of Disney centred activities. My school-Agers loved Disney so much that our curriculum ran for over two months. Please keep in mind that some of the activities mentioned may be strictly for older age groups, but most can be altered to fit into any curriculum.
Moana and Lilo and Stitch
Though Moana and Lilo and Stitch do not take place in the same area, they do have a lot of similar qualities so I have grouped them together. Some of my favourite activities were based on these movies. When I was younger I used to watch Disney Sing-Alongs, and I loved rein-acting Pearly Shells from Beach Party at Walt Disney World. This is a story told through hand movements, and incorporates hula dancing. You can even have the children make their own grass skirts for the occasion, out of construction paper and streamers. Another great gross motor activity is Limbo, grab a broom handle, throw on some fun music and that’s all you need. I also treated the children to some Hawaiian punch during snack time- if you don’t have any try some pineapple juice this works too. For a great art experience grab some toilet paper rolls, glue, construction paper and stickers and have the children create spaceships. Throw some sand and shells in a bin for a simple sensory experience this can also be used for The Little Mermaid.
The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo
The children created a lot of fun art activities relating to both The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo. Firstly, the children worked together to create 3D aquariums. This activity was continous, they painted the aquariums one day, added more paint details the 2nd day, and the third day they used other materials to create seaweed and fish. On the final day they glued sand to the bottom, added some extra fish stickers and hung their aquariums up using string to display their masterpieces. In the summer the children participated in reading buddies with one of our smaller preschool classes, and worked together to create mermaids out of paper bags. The children showed great leadership skills helping the younger children cut the bags, helped them place materials and answered all their questions.
We also created two different versions of jellyfish. The first was out of a paper bag, they painted it, added some googley eyes and cut the bottom to create the tentacles. The second you can see in the image below. We used old cds and glued on tissue paper and construction paper (to get the rolled effect the children used a pencil and wrapped the paper around it) for tentacles.
This is a great opportunity to introduce an under the sea sensory bin, or if your children like painting as much as mine did give them some water-colour paints and shells. You can even just give them some paintbrushes and water to paint the shells, they would probably enjoy that just as much. For an extra art experience let the children create little fish puppets by tracing their hands, then decorate and finally glue it on a popsicle stick. Encourage the children to trace their own hands to work on their fine motor skills. Finally for both an art and sensory activity create octopus, jellyfish, crab and whale handprints. Take a look below for some more fishie fun crafts.
A great art, sensory and science activity is to make puffy paint. To make it more frozen related leave it white and add glitter, or do different shades of blue and white. If you are able to find snowflake confetti this would be a great touch too (they sell it at the Dollar Store and Dollar Tree during winter). There are many Olaf crafts out there but I have three favourites including using a paper towel roll to create your own Olaf and of course an Olaf footprint. I created the footprints and then cut them out, and displayed them on the window with the phrase “I like warm hugs” painted across it. The third is a little more complicated and is definitely catered towards and older age group, it is the sock snowman. To create this craft you fill a sock with rice, and then decorate the sock with buttons, and fabric – you will need a glue gun. For more instructions see here. For a great sensory and science experiment, why not create a snow storm in a jar. If you have ever made a homemade lava lamp it is essentially the same idea. You fill a jar 3/4 of the way full with baby oil, fill the rest with water, mix in some white paint and of course add some glitter. You may choose to add some blue food colouring but it’s not necessary. Once your jar is ready drop in an alka-seltzer pill and watch the beautiful snow storm in-front of you, and you can repeat this as many times as you’d like. Check out some more fun frozen themed activities and an adorable picture of a visit from Olaf himself below.
The Lion King
I love the snack “worms and dirt”, and it goes along perfectly with this movie. If you don’t know what this delicious snack is, it’s chocolate pudding topped with oreo crumbs and gummy worms. This movie has great opportunities for sensory experiences including using slime and playdough as a filler and tossing in some bugs, or even animals. For a fun art and sensory activity try recreating some of the animal handprints below.
Another great art activity that incorporates science is shadow tracing. It’s very simple, grab some animals, paper, a pencil and head outside. Place the animals on the edge of the paper and use the natural sunlight to trace the shadows. When your child is done the activity you can even have them colour in the shadows and create a scene on their papers. If it’s not sunny you can use the light from a lamp instead.
Beauty and the Beast
The live-action Beauty and the Beast came out during our Disney phase, and the children loved the soundtrack so much, I decided to introduce a little musical theatre into our classroom. We recreated the “Belle” performance- we held auditions, distributed roles (actors, director, stage crew), made props and costumes and then performed for other teachers/classrooms. The children learned memorization, team-work, co-operation, creativity, gross motor and communication skills.
As an art activity I traced out mirror shapes onto cardboard, and supplied the children with glue, scissors, aluminum foil, paint, stickers, markers and construction paper. The children used these materials to create their own magic mirrors like the one you see below.
We also created an enchanted rose out of red tissue paper and painted on a stem. During my Pintrest searching I found this interesting take on an enchanted rose that your children might like – click here. Don’t forget to throw your own tea party too – with some cookies.
I always have a “big play idea” board in my classroom where I post information pertaining to what we are focusing on in class. I have posted files for the displays I put together for our Disney curriculum below.
All Disney Movies
I played Disney music non-stop during this time. I created multiple Spotify playlists, and added songs from as many movies as I could to allow the children the opportunity to hear songs they may not have heard before. I always try and supply word searches, word scrambles and themed colouring pages. Some games that were a big hit in my class include Mickey Mouse head scavenger hunt, charades, memory games, pictionary, and I even created a “heads up” game with Disney characters. I also created a reusable jeopardy board (using a poster board, envelopes and chalkboard sheets) and I created multiple versions of Disney trivia. A great way to introduce a gross motor aspect is to have the children toss a ball around, ask them a question and if they get it wrong they sit down. You can also yell out a “category”(ex. animal characters), and whoever repeats something that was already said or takes too long to answer they sit down. I even printed out Disney characters and scenes, laminating both so they could create their own puppet shows. I have linked some game sheets for futures use below.
- Disney Game of Things
- Would you Rather (my kids loved these)
- What would you do? (question cards to get the kids talking
I have also included a file of 3 of my Trivia Activities: Disney, Princess’ and Villians
Creating a Disney Themed Dramatic Play
When I created my dramatic play area I didn’t focus on any specific movie I just compiled a box of items related to different movies, allowing the children more creativity. A quick note: you can find a lot of items at the dollar store, make them yourself or have the children create materials during art. My box included the following:
- Magic mirror (I purchased a hand mirror and decorated it with gems)
- A stuffed frog
- Lion king masks – You can find the printable here
- Plastic rose
- Pirate capes, eye patches, plastic sword, hat
- Witches hat
- Blow up light-sabres
- Message in a bottle
- Pixie dust (a tube with some green glitter)
- Treasure map (mine was a replica of The Goonies map from a subscription box, but you can print one off from the computer and laminate it)
- Plastic jewelry and gloves
- Princess crowns
- Magic wands
- Tea set
- I built a Rapunzel tower out of cardboard boxes
Disney Food Fun
- Mickey Mouse shaped cakes (using mini pan mold)
- Wand fruit kabobs (cut fruit into shapes using cookie cutters)
- Snow Flurries (popcorn in an olaf cup)
- Snow Cones
- Chocolate/yogurt covered bananas (we used this for a jungle book/frozen theme)
- Tropical island jello cups
- Zootopia Pawsicles
- Forky Cupcakes
- Tigger Tails
- Cheshire Cat tails (a wafer cookie and some chocolate drizzle)
More Disney Fun
- Hand print monsters (Monsters Inc)
- Disney princess footprints
- Popsicle stick cars
- Disney Incredible slime
- Make your own Forky with playdough (Toy Story)
- Create Baymax/Snowman out of marshmallows (Big Hero 6/Frozen)
- Paint rocks and turn them into different characters (trolls, aliens etc.)
- Inside Out Sensory Bin
- Yoda Shape Craft (Star Wars)
- Build your own car (we used big boxes, and then had a “drive in” movie when they were complete)
Before we say goodbye can we take in how cute this little Snow White is:
“Around here however we don’t look backwards very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”~ Walt Disney