Peter Pan – Planning Overview

Written by Dan

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Are you looking to introduce the wonderful world of J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan to your students but need help figuring out how best to do it? Look no further!

This blog post offers an overview of what teachers need to consider when planning a fun and enriching unit on Peter Pan and the magical Neverland – from literacy activities that bring home its themes of adventure, loyalty, courage and friendship to kinesthetic learning experiences that help bridge the gap between readers and storytellers.

With this helpful guide by your side, planting the seeds for an unforgettable journey into one of literature’s greatest imaginative works has never been easier!

Related: For more, check out our article on Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo  here.

The Storyline of Peter Pan by J.M Barrie

Peter Pan follows the story of three children, Wendy Darling, John, and Michael, as they’re whisked away to the magical world of Neverland. They meet the Lost Boys, a group of cheerful youths who never grow up and join Captain Hook’s treasure-seeking pirates on their adventures.

Meanwhile, Peter Pan leads them on several exciting journeys in an attempt to outwit Captain Hook and protect his home in Neverland. Along the way, they encounter dangerous mermaids, crocodiles with ticking clocks inside them, and other perils that lurk around every corner.

But with faith, courage, and friendship, they eventually save the day and go back home safe and sound.

Key Themes of Peter Pan by J.M Barrie

Growing Up

Throughout the story, the characters are confronted with the idea of growing up and leaving behind their childhood adventures. Wendy is especially reluctant to give up her childhood, as she has grown close to Peter and his Lost Boys.

This theme is explored through Peter’s denial of growing up and his determination to stay a child forever in Neverland. He advises Wendy not to grow up, seeing it as something that will take away her innocence and spirit.


The power of friendship lies at the heart of this story, with companies forming between all kinds of characters – from Wendy and Peter to Captain Hook and Tiger Lily.

Through these friendships, we learn about loyalty, loyalty overcoming differences, honesty, and compassion. We also see how important it is to find a group accepting us for who we are.


Adventure is everywhere in this story; from exploring mysterious caves and tiny ships on a giant lake to battling pirates with swords – this book has it all! It shows us how important it is for us all to seek adventure in our lives, regardless of age or origin.

Key Characters of Peter Pan by J.M Barrie

Peter Pan

Peter Pan is the main character and a symbol of not growing up. He leads the Lost Boys, a group of children who can never age. He can fly and fights against Captain Hook and his crew of pirates in a heroic effort to protect his home in Neverland.

He’s brave, impulsive, and protective over Wendy Darling, who he views as a mother figure.

Wendy Darling

Wendy is an adventurous girl from London who is taken to Neverland with her brothers John and Michael by Peter Pan. She becomes their protector during their adventures and learns valuable lessons about growing up while she’s there.

Throughout their journey, she finds a strength that she didn’t know she had, with some help from her newfound friends.

Captain Hook

Captain Hook is Peter Pan’s main nemesis, who has vowed revenge on him ever since Peter cut off his hand (which was later replaced by a hook). Along with his pirate crew, he sets out to find treasure on various islands but ends up getting into trouble or being foiled by multiple obstacles, such as mermaids or ticking crocodiles along the way.

Despite this, he remains one step ahead of Peter Pan, making him a formidable enemy for our hero throughout the story.

Teaching Opportunities Through Peter Pan by J.M Barrie

  • Exploring the theme of growing up in literature and how it relates to life.
  • Introducing friendship between characters of different backgrounds and personalities.
  • Analyzing Captain Hook as a villain and why he remains one step ahead of Peter Pan throughout the story.
  • Discuss the importance of adventure in our lives, no matter what age or where we come from.
  • Learning about loyalty, honesty, and compassion through the friendships formed within the story.
Lesson Plan

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1: Exploring Growing Up in Literature


In this lesson, we will explore how the theme of growing up is presented in Peter Pan by J.M Barrie. We will discuss how the characters grow and develop throughout the story and consider how this relates to life outside of Neverland.

Main Teaching Points

  • Discuss the main points of J.M Barrie’s book, Peter Pan.
  • Explore how characters such as Peter, Wendy and Captain Hook grow and develop during their journey in Neverland.
  • Consider how these themes can be related to real-life situations in growing up.
  • Draw connections between Peter Pan’s story and other works of literature that explore similar growing-up themes.

Reflections & Key Questions:

  • What have you learned about growing up from reading this story?
  • How would you describe the journey that each character takes throughout the novel?
  • Are there any lessons to be taken away from Peter Pan’s trip? If so, what are they?

Lesson Plan 2: Friendship Between Characters from Different Backgrounds


In this lesson, we will explore how the friendship between characters from different backgrounds is portrayed in Peter Pan by J.M Barrie.

We will discuss why individuals may find comfort in each other despite their differences and consider how these themes can be applied to our relationships outside of Neverland.

Main Teaching Points

  • Review some critical points about J.M Barrie’s book, Peter Pan.
  • Identify friendships between characters from different backgrounds (Peter & Wendy, John & Michael etc.) within the story.
  • Discuss why friends from various locations or perspectives may benefit individuals – even if they don’t agree on everything!

Reflections & Key Questions:

  • Why do you think it is essential for us to develop friendships with those different from us?
  • How does understanding someone else’s perspective help us learn more about ourselves?
  • How can we take what we’ve learned in this lesson into our relationships?

Lesson Plan 3: Analyzing Captain Hook


In this lesson, we will analyze why Captain Hook remains one step ahead of Peter Pan throughout the story. We will discuss the character’s motivations and consider how his role as a villain may have contributed to his success.

Main Teaching Points

  • Discuss who Captain Hook is in the story and why he is often portrayed as a villain.
  • Examine some of the reasons Captain Hook remains one step ahead of Peter Pan throughout the novel – looking closely at his ability to manipulate others.
  • Consider what can be learned from examining villains as characters beyond simply being a ‘bad guy’ or ‘evil person’.

Reflections & Key Questions:

  • What do you think motivates Captain Hook’s behaviour?
  • How does he use other characters to his advantage?
  • In your opinion, what makes a successful villain?
  • Is there any benefit in analyzing villains as characters beyond being seen as bad/evil?

Lesson Plan 4: The Importance Of Adventure


In this lesson, we will explore how the adventure is presented in Peter Pan by J.M Barrie and discuss why it is essential, no matter our age or origin. We will consider how experience can help us grow physically and emotionally develop.

Main Teaching Points

  • Review some critical points about J.M Barrie’s book, Peter Pan.
  • Identify moments of adventure within the story (i.e. travelling to Neverland).
  • Consider how taking risks through experience can help us learn more about ourselves outside our comfort zones.
  • Discuss how exploring new places or activities can contribute to personal growth and physical and emotional development!

Reflections & Key Questions:

  • What do you think has been the most important thing that you’ve taken away from this story?
  • Are there any places/experiences you haven’t tried that could offer something new?
  • Should everyone take opportunities when they arise to try something different/adventurous?
  • How can taking risks/trying something new lead to further discoveries about ourselves?

Books with Similar Themes to Peter Pan

Website Resources:

This collection of three web pages provides resources and activities related to the classic story Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.

Tes : This page offers a range of activities and lesson starters for teaching about Peter Pan, from worksheets to creative tasks such as designing a book cover or writing a sequel to the original story.

Literacy Shed Plus: This page provides a comprehensive range of resource sheets covering themes from the novel, such as Neverland, The Lost Boys and Tinkerbell, to use in the classroom to inspire creative writing and cross-curricular activities suitable for 9 – 11-year-olds.

Book Units Teacher: This page provides interactive PDF files with activities and questions based on Peter Pan’s main characters, plot elements and themes, all designed to encourage discussion, comprehension and summarizing skills suitable for students aged 4 – 8.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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