After you read Thumbelina to your class of young students, engage them in some hands-on activities about the characters and concepts introduced by Hans Christian Andersen's classic tale. Any child with an imagination will enjoy hearing and experimenting with the concept of a girl no larger than a thumb.
Egg Carton Thumbelina
This craft focuses on the fact that Thumbelina was found inside an opening flower by making an egg carton flower from which a craft stick Thumbelina will appear. Cut out individual sections of an egg carton, cut a slit in the bottom and distribute them to students. Have the children colour them green. Glue petal-shaped sections of coloured construction paper to the insides of the egg carton sections so that large pieces overlap the edges, giving the appearance of blooming flowers. Use markers to decorate a cardboard craft stick; draw a face on the top to be Thumbelina and colour the rest green to be the flower stem. Glue some yarn on the very top for hair. Slide the stick through the slit in the carton so that the face sits inside the "flower." When the bottom portion -- the "stem" -- is pulled down, only a flower is visible, but when it is pushed up Thumbelina appears from inside the flower.
Make a tiny house for a thumb-sized person. Have children paint a clean pint-sized milk carton to use as the structure of the house. Use markers to draw exterior elements, such as a door, windows and trees. See what ideas children can come up with for other miniature items to be used inside the house. Remember that Thumbelina used a walnut shell for her bed, so these items do not have to look like real furniture.
Thumbelina was so tiny that her mattress and blanket were made from flower petals bigger than her body. Instead of making tiny creations, let the children feel like they are the size of Thumbelina by making giant flowers. Layer six sheets of differently coloured tissue paper together and show children how to fold them like accordion-style vertically. Use safety scissors to round the edges while still folded. Tie a pipe cleaner around the sheets at the centre. Unfold the sheets carefully, and pull each sheet of paper individually toward you to give the flower dimension. Tie the ends of the pipe cleaner to a garden stake; tape them for extra security.
Paper Plate Frog
Along her journey, Thumbelina is captured by a frog. Have your students make a frog craft using a paper plate folded in half. Paint the inside of the plate black and the outside green, and glue a red half-circle tongue on the inside so that it shows when the folded plate is closed. Cut out four legs from green construction paper and attach them to the bottom of the plate. Glue two large plastic craft eyes to the top of the folded plate, near the crease.
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