Tag Archives: fairy tales

Preschool Fun with the Three Bears

The Three Bears PreschoolThis week I planned Arianna and Nico’s preschool activities around the story of “The Three Bears.”  The kids have been going crazy with the library’s summer reading program, and among the huge stack of books Arianna picked out last week I found Paul Galdone’s version of this story. I remembered how much fun Ian had with this story a few years ago, so it seemed like an easy way to keep the little ones entertained.  We did a lot of different activities this time, so if you’re looking for ideas, be sure to check out that post as well.

In addition to reading The Three Bears, Arianna and Nico did several activities throughout the week.  One day we did a number 3 art idea I got from A Spoonful of Learning.  (First the used three colors to trace the 3.  Then they used triangles to fill in the other 3.)

3 Bears 3 worksheet
Another day they colored, sorted, cut and glued pictures from smallest to largest (using one page from some coloring and sorting activity sheets I found free on Teachers Pay Teachers).  For Nico it was enough just to work on coloring and gluing (I cut his out and let him glue them any way he wanted), but Arianna did the whole thing by herself the way it was intended.

3 Bears sort 1 3 Bears sort 2

Arianna also used another page from that set, coloring the picture and cutting out the words to make a sentence, which she was very proud to read herself.

3 Bears sentence
They both enjoyed playing with the Melissa & Doug Wooden Bear Family Dress-Up Puzzle.  This is one of those toys I keep out of reach most of the time to keep it special.  We pull it out to go with books (it’s great with Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?), or other special occasions, which makes it extra fun.

3 Bears puzzle

At the end of the week, I let the watch the James Marshall version of the story on a Storybook Treasures DVD.  We also watched the first Salsa Spanish video from Georgia Public Broadcasting, which has puppets acting out the story in Spanish. (I used this series with Ian through Kindergarten and into first grade, but it was new for my little ones.)  The vocabulary in this video went along great with what all the kids have been learning in a different curriculum, so I thought we’d kill two birds with one stone by reinforcing the Spanish lesson and going along with our preschool theme.

I’m really glad I’ve started doing this preschool time with Arianna and Nico.  It has helped them to have something productive to do in the mornings, and they are both so proud to be doing their own “school work.”

proud Nico

Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood, Isabel Oakley Naftel (1862)

It’s been a while since we spent time focusing on a fairy tale, so we took a break from Five in a Row to have fun with Little Red Riding Hood.  (See posts we’ve done on other classics.)  I love this story, maybe because it has a redeeming ending.  The little girl makes mistakes and certainly suffers the consequences, but in the end things work out and she learns important lessons, like the importance of obedience and not talking to strangers.  Hopefully our children can benefit from her mistakes!

Part of the reason I chose to do the story now is because it corresponded with our Salsa Spanish lessons. We just started the second unit, which has six videos related to “Caperucita Roja,” so we were able to learn some vocabulary words to go along with our story.  (We use the Salsamaterials from the Wyoming Department of Education to get the most out of the videos.)

We looked at several versions:

We’ve talked before about how sometimes old stories like fairy tales are told differently by different people, so I asked Ian to find differences in two versions and we listed them.


We watched a Super Why episode that features the story of Red Riding Hood (Season 1, Episode 9) and enjoyed a free Kindle Fire App. By this point Arianna was pretty familiar with the tale and had lots of fun wearing part of an old Red Hiding Hood costume I had as a child.


We had a blast going through many of the activities in the FREE Little Red Riding Hood Pack from 123homeschool4me.com!  I loved that there were several pages simple enough for Arianna (2), but also several pages that challenged Ian (6).  I went crazy with my laminator and then we spent a whole morning playing with all the goodies in this pack.  (I also put some of the pages in sheet protectors in the boys’ notebooks.)  So much fun learning!


Index of non-FIAR literature, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales

Here are some of the books we’ve done units on outside of Five in a Row:

I want my children to be familiar with all the major fairy tales and folk tales, though sometimes we just read the story.  Here are ones we’ve spent a little more time on:

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel's Angel Vision-

It has been said that guardian spirits watch over and protect small children, and that may be so.  But there are also stories of children who find the courage to protect themselves.  Such is the story of Hansel and Gretel.”  Cynthia Rylant

We took a break from Five in a Row (FIAR) this week in order to spend some time with another classic fairy tale: Hansel and Gretel.  I chose to use this book by Cynthia Rylant as our main source, though we used a number of other resources as well.  I really enjoyed Rylant’s writing style and her focus on the children’s bravery.

In addition to reading that book several times, we listened to the classic version by the Brothers Grimm from Listen to Genius, as well as enjoying the beautiful illustrations from Paul O. Zelinsky in Hansel and Gretel retold by Rika Lesser.  Ian had fun with an Android App from StoryChimes that he played with on my Kindle Fire.  Other than that, we took it pretty easy this week as far as “school” because of a busy schedule.  If we do this story again in a few years with my younger children, I hope to do more, like build a gingerbread house, make patterns with candy, or take a walk and try to follow a trail of stones.

The one big thing we did do was go to see a children’s concert version of the opera by Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921), featuring selected songs, sung in English, with a narrator.  Ian was already familiar with most of the music because we listen to a recording of it quite often. It was his first time at a major orchestral performance and he was slightly overwhelmed at first, but ended up enjoying it.  We also watched a video (available streaming on Netflix) that uses a lot of the opera’s music and its storyline (which is slightly different from the more familiar Grimm’s version).

While I love Rylant’s description of the children’s bravery, I think Humperdinck completes the picture with his repeated mentions of God’s providence and protection of children in a scary situation.  His beautiful “Evening Prayer” is one song I don’t mind being stuck in my head.

When at night I go to sleep
Fourteen angels watch do keep
Two my head are guarding’
Two my feet are guiding
Two are on my right hand
Two are on my left hand
Two who warmly cover
Two who o’er me hover
Two to whom ’tis given
To guide my steps to heaven

Wise and Foolish Builders

This was one of those weeks that just didn’t turn out quite the way I planned it.  But that’s okay.  I’m learning to go with the flow and grab those teachable moments.

Our Bible lesson was from ABC Jesus Loves Me 3-Year Old Curriculum Week 21: the wise man who built his house upon the rock and his foolish counterpart (found in Matthew 7:24-27).  For literature, I thought we’d spend some time with the Three Little Pigs, since the stories fit so well together.  My main objective was for Ian to associate being “wise” with doing things God’s way (which often means being patient), and being “foolish” means just doing whatever we want.  For a memory verse I wanted to begin working on Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  That was the plan anyway.

But things happen.

#1.  I forgot to put the memory verse on our iPod playlist. Plus, Ian enjoyed LAST week’s playlist so much, that was all he really wanted to listen to. So while I tried to spend time listening to this week’s lesson, I figured I’d go with his interest.  After all, he’s going to hear this Bible story many times over the course of his life.

#2. We finally got to have a playdate with some of our good friends.  So we lost a day there.

#3. We discovered ReadingEggs.com (more to come on this one!)  We lost most of Thursday morning to this, but I have to say it was time well spent as by the end of it, Ian had read his first sight words!

#4. We decided to use our tickets to Ian’s favorite children’s museum, which are only good through the end of the month.  So there goes Friday as well.

We did spend a little time on the Three Little Pigs.  We read the classic story from English Fairy Tales collected by Joseph Jacobs (great for learning to just listen and FREE for Kindle), as well as a simple mini-book from Scholastic. The boys also enjoyed a free storybook app on my Kindle Fire and listened to the story on a CD from the library read by Holly Hunter.  Ian especially got a kick out of The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivisas.

There were a number of ideas at Making Learning Fun (tracing numbers, mazes, concentration cards, etc.), but the closest I got to any of them was introducing Ian to cuisinaire rods, which I loved playing with as a child.  They are a great tool for building “number sense,” and I hope to use them in many different ways in the future.  My goal this week was to help him get familiar with them and be able to do at least part of this addition activity, but alas…

I don’t want to linger on this lesson (it’s such a short passage of Scripture and the meaning is too abstract for Ian to really grasp anyway), so we’ll just move on next week and work on being more intentional about focusing on the Bible.