Monday, January 23, 2012

Theme of the Week: Fairy Tales

My girls don't go to formal preschool, but I like to create a sort of preschool-like routine at home. We have what we call "Theme of the Week". Here is how our "Theme of the Week" works.
So each week we have a topic we focus on in addition to a letter, number, working on shapes, colors, talking about weather and the calendar, etc. So this week the theme is:

The nice thing about this theme is there is no shortage of books about the topic. In fact, because there are SO many books and ideas that go along with this theme, we actually have Fairy Tales be our theme two times a year. Here are a few of the books I have on the topic. Most of the stories we read over the week were from the "Once Upon a Time" book, which is just a generic fairy tales book.

I don't pretend to be an artist, but here is coloring page I drew for my girls to color with this theme.
We read Jack and the Beanstalk, which is sort of fun for any kids that have recently seen the "Puss in Boots" movie because they reference it there.
Here are the directions to the first activity we did (I think the idea came from a Mailbox magazine but I got it a long time ago and am not sure).
-Jack template
-Long piece of green butcher paper (ours was about 5' tall)
-Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils
-Yarn that is twice as long as your butcher paper
-Single hole paper punch

Here is the Jack template that  I had my girls color.
Cut Jack out (which was great for all those fine-motor skills we have been working on)
Take a piece of yard that is twice as long as your paper and tape your Jack right in the middle of the yarn length.
I drew the beanstalk on the paper, punched a hole at the top and bottom of the paper, and threaded the yarn through the top and bottom hole and tied a knot where they met in the back of the paper so you have the yarn in one big circle. You can see I made my yarn a little too long, so it was sagging, but it still worked. Also, we had to make two Jacks just to avoid any fighting. I then taped the butcher paper to a shelf. You want to make sure that you tape it pretty well because the kids will be pulling on the yarn and if the tape isn't secure it will just pull the butcher paper down.
When I told my husband what we are doing, he said it sounded like too much effort for what I was going to get out of it, but even he had to admit he was wrong later when my girls LOVED this!! They played with it over and over again, pulling the string above Jack and below Jack to make him go down and up the beanstalk. It really was a pretty fun activity. My kids requested we leave it up for a few days so they could keep playing with it.
Next we read The Three Little Pigs.
As I read the story, I acted it out with this puppet I made a long time ago. I don't have a template for it, but it would be easy to make your own. I used felt, googley eyes, and a tiny bit of ribbon. I cut each shape, glued it together and then put a square of velcro on the back of each character and the wolf's breath/wind to be able to take them off and on the glove as the story went. I had the opposite piece of velcro on each finger tip and the palm.

We then used this picture to make the three pigs houses.
We used string/yarn for straw (you can use raffia if you have some), toothpicks for sticks, and legos for brinks.
They also thought this was a fun one and super easy activity to put together for them to do.
We didn't use glue, it was just fun to build onto of each house.
My sister, Natalie, make these finger puppet for us which can be used to tell Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Three Pigs.
My girls took turns retelling The Three Pigs story with the finger puppets and the three houses they had built.
Next we read Goldilocks and the Three Bears with them acting out the parts with the finger puppets.
It is also important to eat porridge (Malt O Meal in our case) for breakfast to be like the three bears. :)
Then we read The Elves and the Shoemaker

I put together this picture of a few different types of shoes for us to "make" after having read the story.
I printed the above picture on red paper, laminated it, and then used a single hole punch along the shoe.
We then used a couple different colored shoe laces to "make" the shoes like the elves did.
As you can see, again, this is another GREAT fine-motor skills activity.

Here are some instructions for a fun princess hat for fairy tale fun from "Artstarts for Little Hands" book.

If you are feeling extra ambitious, here are some instructions about how to make a castle out of styrofoam food trays.

There is a lot of love for princesses and dressing up at our house, so playing make believe being princesses, etc. was also a key part of our week. Watching "Shrek" is a fun way to view many fairy tales all mushed together.  There really are so many fairy tale themed activities out there that we really just touched on a few stories. 

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