About brendan kelso

Brendan is the main creative source and author behind Playing With Plays and the infamous Shakespeare for Kids series. You can typically find him inventing by day, playing with his family by night, and writing by very late night.

Testimonial of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for Kids

The following testimonial touched my heart so much, I had to share it.

I was following up on a Goodreads book giveaway that I did for my latest book Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for Kids. When a mom came back with two paragraphs of glowing sentiment. Here’s an excerpt of what she wrote:

Thank you again so much. I can’t even begin to thank you enough. It was so fun watching them put on this play and the memories we all made will never be forgotten. This is definitely going to be a play they put on every year … Continue reading

Lesson idea: Kids take over Shakespeare’s Home

What a great “day in the life” experience!  Being a kid and working at Shakespeare’s home for the day!!!  I recently came across this a great little article out of the UK about some kids learning about the world of “work and decision making”.  But, what really hit my mind, was that they were in charge of the adults learning about Shakespeare.

kids at Shakespeare's trust Continue reading

The Lulu App: Engaging Teens and Rating #ShakespeareMen

I recently came across a post about an app called Lulu.  Now, mind you this is not an app for kids or Shakespeare for kids, yet, I’m thinking of this as much more for getting teenagers engaged with Shakespeare.  While reading the article about Lulu and Shakespeare’s male characters, which I thought was pretty funny (mind you, it’s not much of an “article” as it is a list of statements about Shakespeare’s male characters) it got me lulu-logo Continue reading

Performing Shakespeare – Days 2-6ish – The Formula

This is a continuation from the article “Shakespeare in a Can: Six Days With the Bard From Start to Stage.” The second installment of performing Shakespeare.

REMEMBER, this mini-Shakespeare play you are doing is NOT a perfect play. Heck, if you want to make it perfect, please don’t do it; that’s a complete waste of creativity, and the kids are chock full of creativity – let’s pull it out! I specifically reference these plays as “Melodramatic Masterpieces,” so please don’t forget the MELODRAMA piece….  It’s what gets the parents rolling in … Continue reading

Book review – Break A Leg – Shakespeare for Kids

I am very diligent about getting kids on stage to perform Shakespeare, or any classic. Now mind you, I do mean in a FUN way (the whole reason I write melodramatic Shakespeare books). Following this mantra, I came across Lise Friedman, co-author of the movie Letters to Juliet. Well Lise is a performing arts guru and has authored a book called Break a Leg! The Kids’ Guide to Acting & Stagecraft.

The Review

After reading through this book (it is more like a kids acting bible than a book) several items popped … Continue reading

The Shakespeare Dictionary – Shakespeare for Kids

The Shakespeare Dictionary, otherwise known as a lexicon, is a very handy tool. For one, I have had numerous teachers contact me to ask me what a specific word means, or to understand what context a word should be used in, or in what play it was found. So, in one shot, I am going to answer all of these questions, in various ways, depending on your mode of absorption.

Shakespeare Dictionary BOOKS

First of all, the easiest for your bookshelf is to find a Shakespeare Dictionary and purchase one. Here are a couple I have used in the past, … Continue reading

Shakespeare Drama Competition with Romeo & Juliet for Kids

drama competition I recently met a teacher from Seattle who decided to use my Romeo & Juliet for Kids play to enter a drama competition for kids in Portland, Oregon.  (It wasn’t limited to just being a Shakespeare competition, but, what a fun idea that would be!) I was able to spend a few minutes with her to see what the experience was like and to give advice to teachers trying … Continue reading

Green Eggs and Hamlet

I recently met a gentleman named Stephan on Goodreads.com. He shared with me a littlegreen eggs and hamlet poem he wrote: Green eggs and Hamlet. He had an interesting concept, what would Shakespeare be like if Dr. Seuss were to write him? This was his take on what he could’ve written:

I do not like ova chartreuse anymore. I will not eat them in Elsinore.
I do not like the … Continue reading

Top 10 Male Shakespeare Characters for Kids to Perform

This is my personal top 10 male Shakespeare characters “for kids”. My thoughts and judgements are based around how much fun they are to perform and play melodramatically on stage, and what you can do with the character to just enjoy and have fun with Shakespeare. This is a list of the top 10 male Shakespeare characters only, the female list will be out soon.  Also, if you have any thoughts or male Shakespeare characters you think I missed, leave a comment below!

10) Prospero – (Tempest) – He’s a wizard with his own personal Monster … Continue reading

Treasure Island for Kids is here!

These are the late nights. Writing Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island for Kids has been a BLAST! Possibly because it is my first foray outside of Shakespeare, possibly because it is about pirates (I mean, who doesn’t want to write about pirates, right?!?!) or possibly it’s because when it comes down to the launch of a new book, it’s always exciting! But, it’s finally here!

Treasure Island Cover Continue reading