A Charlie Brown Christmas Family Activity Guide

          November 23rd, 2016

          Welcome!  We are thrilled that you have decided to bring your family to Carousel Theatre for Young People!  We hope the activities and resources on this page will be helpful to you before and after your adventure to the theatre.


          Seasons Greetings

          Charlie Brown feels dejected throughout the play, but when his friends come together to decorate his little tree, they welcome him into the happy group.

          Do you know someone who could use a little cheering up during the holiday season? A simple way to bring cheer to another person who may need a friend is by making and sending an original card.

          Here are some wonderful handmade card ideas:

          Felt cut-out cards

          Potato print snowmen (or reindeer or penguins)

          Washi tape trees

          Fingerprint string of lights

          Tree branch and button ornament cards

          acbc-2eA Little Christmas Tree

          When Charlie Brown goes to buy a Christmas tree to set the mood for pageant rehearsals, instead of choosing a big flashy tree, he finds a drooping little tree he thinks is “just right.” The other kids think the tree is all wrong, but with Linus’s help and “a little love” they transform the tree into a beautiful Christmas tree. In this activity, children can make their own little tree and decorate it to make it “just right.”

          Supplies Needed:
          Green construction paper
          Clear tape

          To decorate: Crayons, markers, glitter glue, tempera paint, other colours of construction paper, glue, hole punch, pompoms, stickers, etc.

          1. Take two sheets of green construction paper and fold together vertically down the center.
          2. Draw half a Christmas tree shape opposite the fold. Cut along the outline. This makes two tree shapes.
          3. Cut along the fold halfway from the bottom on one tree. Cut along the fold halfway from the top on the other tree.
          4. Slip the trees together along the slots and use clear tape to tape the bottoms and the tops. This will help the tree stand up.
          5. Decorate! These make terrific decorations for the holiday table.

          acbc-03Be a Comic Strip Artist

          “All children are artists,” Pablo Picasso famously said. In this activity, kids try their hand at becoming comic strip artists, like Charles M. Schulz. For inspiration, share collections of Schulz’s Peanuts strips, or take a look at the newspaper funnies.

          Materials needed:
          Scrap or sketch paper
          Standard 8½” x 11″ copy paper
          Black pens
          Sharpie Ultra Fine pens (Optional)
          Crayons (Optional)
          Large eraser

          1. The first step in creating an original comic is to get inspired! Michael Corley at “My Kids’ Adventures” (www.mykidsadventures.com/create-comic-strip-kids/) suggests that kids look to the things that excite them and they are passionate about and create a character or story based on that. It could be about a monster, an enchanted castle, trucks and trains, even a favourite pet or a trip they’ve taken.
          2. Using scrap or sketch paper, start sketching the characters. It’s best to make sure they don’t look too much like each other so that it’s easy to tell which is which.
          3. Next, write out the story. Sometimes comics tell a little piece of a longer story each day, and other times the comic tells a story or a joke in one strip.
          4. To start creating the comic strip, artists will need panels to draw in. We have attached a sample comic strip template, or you can make your own. Some may prefer to draw the outline of the comic strip and then decide the number and size of panels it will contain (remember to leave spaces between the outlines of each panel!)
          5. Using pencil, start drawing the characters and scenes in each panel. To help organize the lettering, you can use a ruler and pencil to make light .5 cm rulings in the top third of each panel. Try to shape the blocks of lettering into ellipses to fit into word balloons later.
          6. When the pencil work is complete and the words have been proofread and balloons drawn, it’s time to start inking! Using a fine-point permanent pen, trace over the lines of the drawing, the lettering, and the word balloons. If the panel outlines have been drawn in pencil, ink those too using a ruler and making sure to leave spaces between each panel. If there are any mistakes, dab on correction fluid.
          7. When the inking is complete, use a large eraser and gently and smoothly erase the pencil marks. Hold the paper firmly and use sweeping motions away from the direction you are holding the paper to avoid wrinkles and tears.
          8. Most newspaper comic strips are left black and white, but if students want to add colour, crayons or pencil crayons make it easy to add a light wash.

          Getting to Know Beethoven

          When Charlie Brown and the gang are preparing their Christmas pageant, Schroeder makes sure to include music by his favourite composer, Ludwig van Beethoven.

          The National Arts Centre Orchestra has prepared an excellent resource on Beethoven, his life and music, available at http://artsalive.ca/pdf/mus/beethoven_e.pdf.

          1. To introduce kids to Beethoven’s work (they will hear Für Elise in the show), we suggest playing some of his most famous compositions. These can be found on YouTube or borrow recordings from the library.

          Moonlight Sonata

          5th Symphony

          Ode to Joy

          1. Classical music continues to inspire. Contemporary artists have taken these Beethoven works and put a new, modern or humorous spin on them.

          Moonlight Sonata — The Piano Guys

          5th Symphony — A Fifth of Beethoven

          Muppet Ode to Joy

          1. Play some of Beethoven’s music and let it stir some artistic explorations.

          For younger kids
          Take out the art materials of your choice (finger paint may be especially fun).  While the music plays, kids can paint, draw, or sculpt the rhythm and mood of the piece. What do Moonlight Sonata artworks look like in contrast with Fifth Symphony or Ode to Joy artworks?

          For older kids
          While the music plays, imagine it is the score to an imaginary movie scene. Create a short story, comic, or script describing the scene. Where does it take place? Who are the characters and what do they look like? What is happening in the scene?


          If your children would like to tell us what they thought of the show, please mail us letters and pictures – we love to receive mail! For our contact information please visit the last page of this guide.

          If you have any questions or suggestions, please give us a call at 604.669.3410 or email us at jessica@carouseltheatre.ca.


          © Carousel Theatre for Young People 2013 | Website by the idea lounge and rare design