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Activities for “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak

written by: Keren Perles • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 2/14/2012

“Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak, has long been a classic in children’s literature. Here are some fun “Where the Wild Things Are” activities you can use in your classroom when teaching the book.

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    “Let the Wild Rumpus Start!”

    As the first of many “Where the Wild Things Are” activities, have students think about what the “wild rumpus” in the book might have looked like. After all, there were several different types of monsters involved in the wild rumpus, and most of them don’t look too coordinated. If possible, split up the class into several groups and have each group organize its own wild rumpus, complete with dance steps and (sung) music.

    Alternatively, you can put on some music and let students pretend to be one of the monsters in the book as they dance to the music. One student at a time can act like Max, King of the Wild Things, but this role should change periodically so that several students get a chance to play the part.

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    Letter of Apology

    Instruct students to make a list of the “mischief” Max did at the beginning of the book. Then encourage them to write an apology letter from Max to his mother. Select several students to read their notes aloud, and ask which one the class thinks would be most likely to satisfy Max’s mother.

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    Create a Food Monster

    Give students various types of healthy food that come in different shapes, including celery sticks, baby carrots, peanut butter, crackers, raisins, dried apricots, cream cheese, bean sprouts, and rice cakes, and instruct them to use the ingredients to make their own edible monsters. Encourage students to use their imagination to be as creative as possible, making the bean sprouts into hair, fur, or a bushy tail; the raisins as facial features, polka dots, or earrings; and the carrot sticks into spikes, antennae, or stubby legs. Then have students name their monsters and tell the class about them. Remind them that these monsters are products of their imaginations, just like the monsters in the book are product’s of Max’s imagination.

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    “When I Feel Sad, I Will…”

    Students may connect most to the book because of the way that Max reacts when he is punished for “making mischief.” Discuss with students what Max’s response is to being sent to bed without supper, and talk about what other reactions Max could have had. Make a list of things that people might do when they feel sad or worried about something, and discuss which of these responses is most helpful. Then have students write about what they think they should do when they become sad. Younger students can write a sentence using the sentence frame, “When I feel sad, I will…” and draw a full-page picture to accompany the sentence.

    These “Where the Wild Things Are” activities are just a few ideas you can use to help students relate to the book they have read. For more ideas, see the rest of the articles in this series.

"Where the Wild Things Are" Teacher's Guide

Thinking about using "Where the Wild Things Are," by Maurice Sendak, in your classroom? This "Where the Wild Things Are" teacher's guide will give you some great lesson plans and activities you can use when teaching this classic children's book.
  1. Lesson Plans for “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak
  2. Activities for “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak
  3. Literature Lesson Plans: Art Ideas for “Where the Wild Things Are,” by Maurice Sendak