Friday, February 26, 2016

Fairy Tales: Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk is a favorite story with the little guys ... it has everything - magic, a giant bad guy, a castle - all their favorites in one fairy tale!

Make a playset to act out the story, including a castle in the clouds and a tall, tall beanstalk! A file folder, opened top to bottom, makes a great tall backdrop to situate your scenery on. Your children can set their castles near the top and make sure they add some cotton ball clouds. Next, have them use markers, chenille sticks, paper, or whatever you have around to make the tall, tall beanstalk that grew from the magic beans. Then, draw or color some characters and they will have their own "stage" to act out or retell the story.

Be sure to start out with "Once upon a time," and "far, far away" ... fairy tales help little ones sort out good and bad, and develop some sense of resolution, especially when the ending is "happily ever after."

Before reading the story, check for any background your audience has with this story or similar fairy tales.

Then, begin to relate the story in the style of an old-time storyteller, without the book ... just to spark their interest and get their attention.

Next, pull out the book, and launch into the story, pausing to have them participate physically whenever possible ... tossing beans, climbing up the stalk, peeking under the giant's door. They will love the movement, and it will help to imprint the story on their brains :)

When you're all finished, look for some short video clips - there are some great animated short clips of all the popular fairy tales - and compare and contrast with the story you read aloud! Your little ones will amaze you with their attention to detail :)

For more extension activities...
  • plant some bean seeds ... use either dirt or get really magical with seeds sealed up with damp paper towels in ziplocs and hung in the window - roots and sprouts to come!
  • sort all sorts of dry beans and count, pattern, etc. for math
  • have friends draw pictures for each of the story parts, or the giant's special things, and practice sequencing 
  • photograph your little ones in climbing poses, cut them out, and help them fashion a paper beanstalk to "climb" - they will get a big kick out it! 
Have fun!

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