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Away to Neverland

Lesson Summary

  • Dance movements from the story of Peter Pan.
  • Understand key details, characters, and plot in the story of Peter Pan.

Lesson Plan and Procedure


Lesson Key Facts

  • Grade(s): 1
  • Subject(s): Dance, English Language Arts
  • Duration of lesson: 35 minutes
  • Author(s): Jana Shumway

This story will be told through the use of movement. A prior classroom reading/introduction to the story of Peter Pan is appropriate. The following activites can be used to engage students in various parts of the story. 


Activity 1: Sleeping

Have the children lie down and "go to sleep" as they listen to the "Main Title" from the Peter Pan original soundtrack. 

Activity 2: Shadow 

After the song has ended, run to the children and ask if they have seen their shadow. Have them look around for their shadow (under a desk, out the window, behind a shelf, and so on).

Turn off all the lights and shine the flashlight on the wall.

Teacher: Oh, there's my shadow!


Have the children follow your exaggerated dance movements in the light of the spotlight. You could create accompaniment during this section with a drum. Have the children make their shadows leap, jump, disappear, become crooked, straight, rounded, twisted, have only legs, have only arms, be tiny, be huge, and such.

Have the students sneak up on their shadows and try and catch them. Have the children spread out in the room and attempt to put their shadows on.

Remind them of what Wendy said: The proper way to put on your shadow is to sew it on. Have the children pretend to sew their shadow on, and then have them stand up and dance to make sure that it will not fall off. 

Activity 3: Flying

Play “You Can Fly!” and follow the words of the song.

Stop and freeze in a low shape.

Think of happy thoughts while pointing to your head.

Start to rise. Fly (run with outstretched arms). Repeat.

Have the children fall crazily down. Pretend to sprinkle them with pixie dust. After being sprinkled with pixie dust, have students think of new thoughts, rise, and fly in curving pathways. Add leaps and turns in the air.

Have the children fly out the imaginary window into the night. Go around the stars and over the moon. End on a cloud (crouched down as if resting).

Look. (Pretend to look through a telescope.)

Teacher: There’s Neverland!


Activity 4: Pirates

Play “A Pirate's Life.”

Teacher: Look, I see Captain Hook and Smee! Let’s join them!

Play the song again and dance your own pirate dance (steps, hops, leg kicks with arms behind your back, an off-balanced turn, and so on). Repeat the song and dance.

Activity 5: Walk the Plank

Teacher: Guess what time it is? It’s time to walk the plank! Line up behind me.

Walk to the beat of the drum in a straight line. Repeat.

Lift one leg slowly and fall toward that leg in a big, twisting, crazy fall into the “water.” Have all the children follow.

Activity 6: Crocodile

Play “Never Smile at a Crocodile.”

Start to swim (movements are low and rolling with big arms).

Have the children roll onto their backs and open and close their arms slowly (representing the mouth of a crocodile) to the beat of the music.

Have the children stand up and tick-tock back and forth, then dive back into the water and repeat the crocodile-mouth movement.


Activity 7: I Won't Grow Up

Remind students of what Wendy said: Peter, it’s time to get back to London. Then Peter responded, No! If I go back I’ll have to grow up. I won’t grow up!

Play “I Won’t Grow Up.”


Put on your Peter hat and, with the music, make four shapes. Have the children copy these shapes.

Free dance. During the free dancing, place the hat on a child. Have the child make a shape that the rest of the class copies. Have them create four shapes.

Repeat this free dance, picking other students to wear the hat as they each lead the class through four dance steps.

Activity 8: Fly Home

Teacher: It’s time to fly home. Wave good-bye to Neverland.

Play “Main Title” again.

Have the children fly through the night (swooping, leaping, running in curving pathways, doing big gallops, and so on) and arrive back in London.

Have them lie down in bed and "go to sleep."


Discuss key details on the content in the story. 

Have the class answer as a whole or individually questions such as these:

  • Who is the main character?
  • Who are other characters?
  • Where did the story take place?
  • What were their adventures?
  • Peter never wanted to _________? (Answer: Grow up.)

Standards Summary


Grade 1 English Language Arts 

  • Retell stories, including key details.
  • Understand central messages of stories.
  • Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

Grade 1 Dance 

  • Explore movement inspired by stimuli.
  • Change movement through guided improvisational experiences.
  • Recognize steady beat.
  • Explore the use of simple props.

Utah State Board of Education Standards


Grade 1 English Language Arts

  • Reading Literature Standard 2: Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
  • Reading: Literature Standard 9: Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

Grade 1 Dance 

  • Standard 1.D.CR.5: Reflect on movement choices and change movement through guided improvisational experiences or remember short sequences.
  • Standard 1.D.P.5: Recognize steady beat and move to varying tempos.

Equipment and Materials Needed

  • Spotlight/flashlight
  • Drum
  • Green hat (for the Peter Pan hat)
  • Musical tracks from Peter Pan (Original Soundtrack):
    • "Main Title"
    • "You Can Fly"
    • "A Pirate's Life"
    • "Following the Leader"
    • "Never Smile at a Crocodile"
    • "I Won't Grow Up" (Cathy Rigby)

Additional Resources



Reference List