"King Midas and the Golden Touch" is an ancient Greek myth about the pitfalls of greed, wealth and materialism. King Midas learns that being able to turn anything he wants into gold can lead to terrible consequences. The story and corresponding activities are best suited for kindergarten through fourth grade. Classroom activities should revolve around the story plot, characters' responses to Midas' powers and the moral of the story.
Storytelling With Pictures
Have kindergarten or first-grade students practice storytelling by asking them to create alternate scenarios that might have occurred in the story. Start with the same premise -- King Midas is greedy and obsessed with money, turning everything he touches to gold -- but ask your class to come up with other objects he might have touched and problems those actions would have created. For example, King Midas might have turned his bed to gold and couldn't sleep because it was too hard, or he might have turned his cloak to gold and couldn't move because it was too heavy. Have students draw pictures to illustrate the alternate scenarios and take turns retelling their stories with the new plot twists. The goal is to teach young students about sequencing and help them understand the concept of cause and effect.
Golden Touch Arts and Crafts
Instruct kindergarten through second-grade students to make handprint artwork to represent the story, as suggested on the Crayola website. Have students trace their hands on white paper using gold glitter glue, metallic-gold colored pencils or washable gold markers. Above their gold-drawn fingertips, students might draw things that King Midas turned to gold -- such as shoes, a table, bread and his daughter -- or add their own pictures to the story. Students can outline their drawings in gold or glue, and sprinkle glitter on their pages. Discuss how greed resulted in problems for King Midas, and ask students to come up with reasons why greed could negatively affect them, too -- overeating, too much TV, conflict with siblings or parents and never enjoying birthday or holiday gifts.
King Midas Character Sketches
Ask students in grades 2 through 4 to write a character sketch of King Midas. Explain to your class that a character sketch describes what the person looks like on the outside, as well as his thoughts, feelings and actions. King Midas isn't an entirely good or bad character, so remind students to discuss both sides -- selfishness and greed intermixed with genuine love for his daughter. Encourage your students to use descriptive language, adjectives and adverbs to describe the king -- you don't want them to write a summary of the plot.
Involve third- and fourth-graders in a play about Kind Midas, and allow them to take turns playing the different characters. You might use the script provided by Scholastic Teaching Resources, or develop your own. Provide props for the play, such as a golden paper crown for the king to wear, a princess hat, and a gold-painted leaf, flower and goblet. Encourage your students to improvise as they see fit, using their emotions and acting skills to make the story come to life.
- Pearson Education, Inc.: Celebration Press Reading -- Good Habits Good Readers: King Midas and the Golden Touch
- Scholastic Teaching Resources: Greek Myths Plays, Carol Pugliano-Martin: King Midas and the Golden Touch
- New York State Common Core Literacy Curriculum: Engage NY: Kindergarten ELA Domain 7 -- Kings and Queens
- Crayola: King Midas's Golden Touch
- IvanMikhaylov/iStock/Getty Images