“He was not of an age, but for all time!”


Happy Birthday, Will Shakespeare!

by Brave Writer instructor, Susanne Barrett

To mark William Shakespeare’s 451st birthday, (he was baptized on April 26, 1564, and children at that time were usually baptized three days after birth) and the 399th anniversary of his death, celebration is going on in the United States as well as in Stratford-upon-Avon.

When I was in a Shakespeare class in high school, we had a HUGE birthday party for Shakespeare with British food and drink (rather like a high tea). A month beforehand, we had each drawn the name of a fellow student for which we were to make a handmade gift. I remember hemming handkerchiefs in pink embroidery thread with the initials “M.A.” for one student, and I still have the floral wreath strung with ribbons (meant to be worn on the head) hanging on my bedroom wall…although I don’t remember which young man made it for me (or more likely, his mother made it on his behalf, LOL).

So let’s celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday in our home!

Here are three ideas:

Character Party Game

Write the names of famous Shakespeare characters on 3X5 cards with a Sharpie (pick characters that the kids know) and without letting the person see, tape a card to each person’s back. Then each person asks “yes-no” type questions of other players to try to determine which character’s name is on his/her back. When someone guesses their character, tape a different character to his/her back. Several rounds may be played, depending on the number of players. (Sample questions: Am I male or female? Is my father dead? Is a play named after me?)

Quills and Quotes

Make quills from feathers (either dip feathers into ink or insert the innards of a ball point pen into the bottom of a feather and wrap with florist tape if needed; see this link: Instructables) and copy some favorite Shakespeare quotations or insults onto parchment (or regular) paper.

Trivia Games

Sporcle’s Shakespeare Trivia Home Page has games such as “Shakespeare vs. Batman Quotes,” “Shakespeare Threats & Insults,” and “Complete the Shakespeare Quote.” (Note: these quizzes are hard–I missed quite a few!)

And find more ideas here!

So, Happy 451st Birthday, William Shakespeare, from your friends at Brave Writer!!!

“So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.”

~Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

Susanne Barrett has homeschooled her four children since 1997. She has a  B.A. in Literature and a Master of Arts in English. Her stories, poetry, and essays have been published in various venues. She is a well-loved, highly gifted Senior Teacher, Staff Writer, and Curriculum Developer with Brave Writer and is currently leading our popular Shakespeare Family Workshop.

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