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Fairy-Tale Themes for Preschool Teachers

by Sara Ipatenco, studioD

Fairy tales are fascinating to preschoolers because they bring captivating and fantastical stories to life in the minds of the children. A fairy-tale theme in your preschool classroom is a good way to introduce the children to many of the most well-known and well-loved stories. Utilize fairy tales to help your preschoolers practice their literacy, math and social skills.

Princess and Prince Fairy Tales

Most preschoolers are captivated by the life of a princess falling in love with a prince, especially if she had to first kiss a frog to turn him into a handsome prince. Read several of these fairy tales to your preschoolers. Include the classics such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel. Once you've read the stories, incorporate art into your classroom. Give your students toilet paper tubes and small cardboard boxes and encourage them to make castles. Wooden blocks can serve the same purpose. Provide dress-up clothes and let the children reenact the fairy tales during dramatic play time. Preschoolers might enjoy decorating paper crown cutouts with jewels and glitter so they can pretend to be princesses and princes. Encourage the preschoolers to make magic fairy wands to support the Cinderella story or paint with apple halves when you're teaching them about Snow White.

Famous Fairy Tales

Introduce your preschoolers to the fantastical worlds of famous fairy tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs and Hansel and Gretel. Once you've read the stories to your students, incorporate hands-on activities into the classroom. Help the students plant "magic" beans in cups of potting soil while you're reading Jack and the Beanstalk. Let the preschoolers transfer their lunches to small baskets and go outside to eat while you're studying Little Red Riding Hood. Give the preschoolers sticks, cotton balls and blocks and have them make houses for the pigs. Pretend to be the wolf and try to blow the houses down. When you're reading Hansel and Gretel, give each preschooler a cutout of a gingerbread house and provide stickers, glue, glitter, beads and buttons for them to decorate the house.

Lesser-Known Fairy Tales

Introduce your preschoolers to fairy tales they might not heard before. Read the Elves and the Shoemaker to the children and discuss how the elves helped the shoemaker. Let your students practice their fine motor skills by giving them lacing cards in the shape of shoes to play with. Introduce preschoolers to the story of Humpty Dumpty and then make eggshell collages. Before the lesson, dye several hard-boiled eggs and peel them. Crush the peels into small pieces, somewhat larger than glitter. Ask the preschoolers to write their name by squeezing craft glue out of a bottle onto paper. Show the children how to sprinkle the egg shells onto the glue to reveal their name. The Boy Who Cried Wolf, the Ugly Duckling and the Three Billy Goats Gruff are additional tales preschoolers might enjoy.

Fairy Tales from Around the World

Bring multiculturalism into your classroom with fairy tales from other countries. Read the Catalan fairy tale The Water of Life, which is a story that teaches children to be true to themselves and not give in to the taunting and teasing of others. Use the fairy tale to bring character development lessons, such as being nice to others and saying nice words, into your classroom. Read The Mitten, a Ukrainian fairy tale, and then make construction paper mittens with your preschoolers. The Fairy Grotto, a Chinese tale, The Battle of the Birds, a Scottish fairy tale, and The Fox Sister, a Korean tale, are additional stories preschoolers might enjoy.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Adam Taylor/Digital Vision/Getty Images