William Shakespeare facts for kids

William Shakespeare facts for kids- William Shakespeare profile

William Shakespeare facts for kids

Shakespeare day is on the 23rd of April to celebrate the playwright and poet and enjoy his famous work. William Shakespeare is a core part of the English curriculum, particularly for secondary school where pupils study and analyse his work.

To celebrate Shakespeare and teach children about him, we have sourced some William Shakespeare facts for kids. Use this as a way to give pupils little knowledge about him to prepare them for secondary school.


Shakespeare’s birth date is actually unknown

Shakespeare’s date of birth is unknown exactly, but it is believed to be the 23rd of April 1564 hence why it is Shakespeare day. This date is believed throughout the years due to the known fact that William Shakespeare was baptised on the 26th of April 1564. Traditions for this time was that a baptism would take place when a baby was three days old. However, he was born under the Julian calendar which changed to the Gregorian calendar that we use today. So, this date would be May 3rd in today’s calendar.


He lived in Stratford Upon Avon

Stratford Upon Avon is known as the place where Shakespeare lived. This Warwickshire town has become a famous historic place due to it being Shakespeare’s hometown. However, he left Stratford Upon Avon to venture to London around the late 1580s. He moved to Bishopsgate which is a short distance from the famous Shakespeare’s Globe theatre where many of his plays were and still are performed.


He had seven siblings

Shakespeare came from a large family; his parents John and Mary Shakespeare had 8 children in total. William was the third child but his two older siblings died leaving him as the oldest. Many of his siblings unfortunately passed away before they reached adulthood. His siblings were called Joan (born 1558), Margaret (born 1562), Gilbert (born 1566), Joan (born 1571), Richard (born 1574) and Edmund (born 1580).


Married Anne Hathaway and had 3 children

Shakespeare met Anne Hathaway and they got married. They went on to have three children together, a son Hamnet who died in 1596, and two daughters Susanna and Judith. However, Shakespeare has no descendants anymore as his only grandchild, Elizabeth, died childless in 1670.


Died on what is believed to be his birthday

William Shakespeare died on the 23rd of April 1616 which was believed to be on his birthday. He was 52 years old when he passed away which was considered quite old in those days as people’s lifetimes were shorter then. He was buried at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford Upon Avon which can be visited today. If your school is local to here, why not take your pupils to visit Shakespeare’s grave as a trip out and educate them about his life?


Wrote for his own gravestone

One of the more unusual William Shakespeare facts for kids is that he wrote a curse for his gravestone. He wanted to protect his grave by cursing anyone who messed with it or dug it up. This can be seen at the Holy Trinity Church in his hometown. The curse he wrote reads:

Good friend for Jesus’ sake forbear,

To dig the dust enclosed here.

Blessed be the man that spares these stones,

And cursed be he that moves my bones.”

Share this fun fact with your pupils and get them talking and thinking about what Shakespeare might have meant with these words. Let them have an enjoyable discussion between themselves and as a class to analyse this poem. It is a great way to start building children’s analytical skills which they will need for secondary school.


William Shakespeare facts for kids- Shakespeares globe theatre



His plays were hits

Shakespeare’s plays became huge hits straight away everyone loved them and wanted to watch them. He wrote all sorts of genres which can be divided into three main genres which are:

  • Tragedy- Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, King Lear and Othello fall into this category.
  • Comedy- A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night fall into this category.
  • History- Henry IV, and Richard III fall into this category.

Due to the success of his plays, Shakespeare became very famous and rich. By 1598, he owned multiple houses in London and Stratford Upon Avon.

These plays were often performed in the large, open-air theatre known as the Globe. This theatre was one of the first to allow people from all different types of life to watch performances. However, poor people could only afford tickets for the ground floor where you have to stand and if in bad weather, they would get wet. Rich people could afford the higher-level tickets where there is a cover to protect them from the weather and comfy seats.


He was also an actor

Shakespeare wasn’t just a writer, but he was also an actor as well. This is a less known fact about Shakespeare as many people only know him as a famous writer who wrote many plays, poems and sonnets. However, he performed in many of his own plays and even other playwrights shows too.

Let your pupils become actors and split them into small groups to perform one of Shakespeares plays. Try using a book such as this Macbeth one to help guide children. If they struggle with the words, help them sound them out and allow them to not follow the text and base a performance around it.


The royal family loved Shakespeare

The royal family at that time loved Shakespeare and his work. Both Queen Elizabeth I and James VI of Scotland would often hire him and his company to perform at the royal court for them. He would go and entertain the royal family multiple times with his company, which led to his fame growing rapidly and wealthiness too.


He was part of a theatre company

Before he created his own theatre company through his success, Shakespeare was a part of a theatre company. This theatre company was the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. He performed with them regularly at The Theatre which was then renamed the Globe where later his own plays were performed.


He disappeared for 7 years

In the year 1585 William Shakespeare mysteriously disappeared for a whole seven years! He was not on records during this period of time and none of his work was documented if he did any through the seven years. Historians refer to this time as the lost years of Shakespeare.

In 1592, he reappeared suddenly in London as an actor and playwright. He was back on records, and this is where his career bloomed. Yet Shakespeare didn’t have it easy. He ended up having jealous rivals known as the university wits. These people criticised and made fun of his work and a writer referred to him as an upstart crow. Shakespeare had to prove his talent to many people and work through criticism.


Theatre was different when Shakespeare wrote plays

In Shakespearean times, plays were very different from what they are today. Females were not allowed to act so any women parts were played by men. Men had to dress as women and portray these female characters as acting wasn’t seen as something a female should do. The audience were very different too as they were rowdy and would never quietly enjoy a play. They would shout at the actors, boo and even throw their food at them if they didn’t like the actor or the play that was being performed.



Share these William Shakespeare facts for kids with your class and introduce them to Shakespeare, making them familiar with his life and work. This is a great way to slowly teach children about him preparing them for secondary school where they analyse his work. Create fun activities and discussions around these facts and celebrate Shakespeare Day and his famous work.

Why not watch a film adaptation of one of his plays for children to easily grasp the old English language and his work? Doing this will be easier for children rather than trying to read his texts as it can be quite difficult.

Introduce other types of poetry as well as Shakespeare to your pupils with our poetry activities in this blog.

<a href="https://blog.hope-education.co.uk/author/amber-vaccianna/" target="_self">Amber Vaccianna</a>

Amber Vaccianna

Hope blog writer

14 April 2023

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