Fairy tales, though centuries old, still captivate the imaginations of children. Classic fables and tales contain important life lessons that go beyond "happily ever after." Dramatic play, reading, writing, crafts and games based on these stories can benefit children by developing self esteem, language skills and creative thinking.
Listen to a Story
Read or tell short versions of some fairy tales. Have the children listen carefully. Ask children to determine whether the story was written to teach a lesson or to end with all the characters living "happily ever after." Allow time for further discussion about a lesson learnt or how the story with the happy ending might have turned out differently.
Create some fairy tale worksheets or print some worksheets from websites like ABC Teach. Read a story out loud to the children or have them read it on their own. Have kids complete a worksheet or a word puzzle, or rewrite a story based on a picture of a fairy tale. Another activity is to have the kids cut out some magazine pictures to glue onto a sheet of paper, then write a fairy tale based on the pictures.
Act Out a Story
Provide clothing, fabric pieces and other items for the children to dress up as characters in a fairy tale. If you break the kids into small groups, each group can choose a different story. For a spur-of-the-moment activity, have the kids cut costumes from paper bags and newsprint, colour the costumes, then act out a story.
Fairy Tale Activity Centers
For a unit of lessons, decorate one or more activity centres to match a fairy tale theme. For castle stories, paint a castle on cardboard and place it along the wall. Drape fabric from the ceiling like a princess canopy. For stories featuring a forest, paint large trees on cardboard to line the walls. Many stories take place inside a simple little home. Decorate the centre like the inside of cabin. In each centre, provide toys that will help the children act out the stories, like dolls, tea sets, blocks and stuffed animals. Another option is to provide craft items for the kids to make pictures.
Games to Play
Have the kids race to build the little pig houses. Hold relays where one team must hop like the "hare" and the other team must crawl like a "tortoise." Hide gingerbread men paper shapes or wrapped cookies around the room for the children to find. Play "tag" or "duck, duck, goose," using a wolf, bear or Hansel and Gretel's witch for the theme.
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