Playmate

Age Range: 5 - 11
By: Sam Collins

Genre(s): Science Fiction

The story of a boy and his favourite toy. How does their relationship change as the boy grows up?

Teaching Ideas and Resources:

English

  • The quote at the beginning of this film is from John Lasseter, the director of Toy Story. What are the similarities and differences between this film and Toy Story?
  • What other books do you know about the relationship between children and their toys? Can you make any comparisons between them and this film?
  • Stop the film at various points (For example 0:21, 0:40, 0:53, 2:05, 2:53). What is the relationship between the boy and the robot? How does it change over the course of the film?
  • Stop the film at 01:24, 01:29 and 01:36. What is the girl thinking at each of these points?
  • Write a description of a dream with an important message. 
  • Can you think of any books or films where dreams play an important role? (e.g. Alice in Wonderland, A Christmas Carol, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
  • The books on the desk play an important part in the story. Why did the directors choose to squash the robot with James and the Giant Peach? Make a list of books you would like to have on your desk.
  • Write the dialogue between the boy and girl from 2:07 - 2:15.
  • Write the story of how the boy came to own the robot.
  • Make a list of adjectives to describe the setting.
  • Write subtitles to describe the action in the film. 

Maths

  • The children play chess in the film. Do you know how many squares are on a chessboard? Try this popular investigation.
  • Make a graph of the favourite toys of the children in your class. Which type of toys are most popular? 
  • Watch the film carefully. How many toys has the boy got? What different criteria could you use to classify them?
  • Try out some dartboard investigations like this one.

Science

  • Stop the film at 1:00. Who is that? Why is the robot holding his picture up? Research Einstein and find out why he is such an important scientist.

Computing

  • Animate a sequence of a robot moving. 
  • Design a social media page to promote the film. What would you put in it?
  • Use toys to make a stop animation film.

Design Technology

  • Design the pieces for a chess set.
  • Design your dream bedroom - what would be in it?

Art

  • Look at some paintings influenced by dreams (E.g. Salvador Dali, The Dream) and make your own artwork based on them. 
  • Draw a picture of the room from the perspective of the toy.

Music

  • Listen to the soundtrack. How does it change at different points in the animation?
  • Compose some music to accompany parts of the story.

History

  • What kind of toys did you play with when you were younger? What kind of toys do you play with now? 
  • Research the history of toys.

Physical education

  • Make a list of the sports equipment in the boy’s room - rackets, basketball, darts etc. Find out how to play any sports that are new to you.

Languages

  • Learn the names of popular toys in the language you are studying.

PSHE

  • The film has a gap of one year in the story. What do you think has changed in that year? How are you different from a year ago? How might you change over the next year?
  • In the film the robot tries very hard to get the boy’s attention (e.g. 01:51). Why is that?
  • The boy has lots of toys. Why is the robot his favourite? Do you have a favourite toy? Why is it your favourite?
  • Find out about Einstein - why is he an inspiring person?

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