Today's children are often introduced to fairy tales by the Disney movie versions. You can probably immediately name at least 5 of their fairy tale movies: Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Tangled... and your children can probably name a dozen more. I love the movie versions, and my own children watched them when they were little (and some favorites when not so little).
Of course, as a teacher, I want the children in my charge to do more than sit and passively receive a movie version of the stories. I want BOOKS!
(True confession, I have a problem with children's books. When I closed my preschool, I culled my collection - very painful! - and these are the children's books I KEPT. Could not part with. No, no children in my home, no classroom. These are mine, good friends I could not part with. Same with the two puppies in front of the shelves.)
But I digress. Books have always been, for me, and my generation, a doorway to another world. Growing up, before VHS and Beta, let alone the internet, movies weren't easily accessible, even listening to music relied heavily on waiting for your favorite songs on the radio. The most accessible form of media was books: at home, at school, and at the public library. Books were treasures then, and for me they always will be.
To go along with books, our children also need action and involvement. Do you remember acting out your favorite stories with your friends? It was probably outside, because that's where we played the most. Tammy (my next door neighbor and best friend) and I played and replayed fairy tale stories. She was always the princess, I was always the prince. (I forgive you Tammy.) There was a lot of running and hiding and tree climbing involved, because that's also just how it was.
Today we're blessed with an abundance of fantastic books that tell not only the traditional versions of fairy tales, but also variations galore. There are fractured fairy tales, with unexpected and non-traditional role reversals (the wolf as the good guy, big bad pigs), and variations from other cultures and traditions. Clever people the world over have shared their ideas for making the stories come to life on their blogs and on Pinterest.com. I have a collection of fairy tale ideas at https://www.pinterest.com/paulaspreschool/fairy-tales/, and I'd love to hear your suggestions - please leave a comment if you have an idea to share too!
I'm going to have to write separate blog posts for different tales, because there are so many fun ways to enjoy them. I'm going to start with just a few that come to mind today, and will revisit this over the next few months.
Cinderella clean up game
My kiddos LOVED this game! I put on my very best overdone British accent, and loudly proclaim myself as the evil stepmother, and the classroom as "Filthy!" "Clean it up, or you can't go to the ball!" The girls especially loved this game, but plenty of boys joined in on the action too. I would hand out baby wipes or small cloths, child sized brooms and dustpans, and even get out the vacuum cleaner. Parents arriving during this game were usually amazed to see how hard the children were working, scurrying around, wiping the floor and putting things away. "My child doesn't know how to use a vacuum cleaner," was a frequent comment. Ummmm... yes he does. "I wish she would do this at home," was another. I will tell you all my secret: make it fun. Children love it when we join in and pretend with them. If a silly accent and ridiculous comments will get the room cleaned up, do it! Mary Poppins taught us this long ago, it's the "spoon full of sugar that makes the medicine go down."
Cook something to go with the story
We LOVE Margie Palatini's story, Piggie Pie! You can hear it read on YouTube.com here, but if you can find the recording made to go with the book - do it! We followed up by making our own version of Piggie Pie - pigs in a blanket.
Don't forget crafts and art projects! Here we made queens, to go along with our cherry tart cooking, and a visit from the queen.
Here's a fun reading activity I created to go along with fairy tale learning:
There are so many possibilities, and I need to go back through my kazillions of photos to find more pictures of fairy tale fun at school, so I can work on the next installment to blog about. What's your favorite fairy tale?