Preschool Fairy Tale Princess Unit

When my daughter was about a year into her boycott of pants she discovered a book at the library. It was a version of Rapunzel with stunning illustrations by Sarah Gibb. We read this book together every day for a month, renewed the book and read it every day for two more weeks. She returned it to the library regrudgingly and then checked it out one week later for a whole other month. Clearly, she was in love.

At this point I wasn’t sure, was she in love with the story? The character of Rapunzel? The illustrations (easily swoon worthy)? or Something else entirely.

Not being a huge princess fan, I admit I waited a while before venturing down the road any further with her. At the end of the day, however, I am a big believer in following a child’s interests and my daughter is more of a little of everything kid, rather than a fixate on one idea kid.

But Princesses? Where to go with princesses?

Preschool Princess Project

Our Preschool Princess Project

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Field Trip Ideas

  • A Castle – obviously if you live in the US this isn’t going to happen, but if you could this would be the ultimate field trip for a princess project.
  • A Play – look into what your local kids theater or high school is performing. Maybe you’ll luck out and it’ll be a Fairy Tale.

Activity Ideas

Our princess project started with Rapunzel. The Rapunzel version written by Sarah Gibb to be exact. My daughter asked the librarian for help finding books about fairies and given that there were few, she came back with some fairy tales including this book.

My daughter was hooked.

She obsessively read the Rapunzel story and requested we read it to her multiple times a day. I found more versions of Rapunzel and soon she was hooked. We weren’t talking about fairies anymore.

Now we were talking about princesses and fairy tales.

Rapunzel Picture Book Versions

Rapunzel by Sarah Gibb
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All of Sarah Gibb’s renditions of fairy tales are lovely, but her Rapunzel is special. Stunning illustrations, which really make all the difference when you are retelling a story for the hundredth time. Hands down, this is her favorite.

Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky
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This is another classic version of the Rapunzel story illustrated with stunning oil paintings. Traditional, but stunning.

Rapunzel by Rachel Isadora
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I completely adore Rachel Isadora’s books. Her unique takes on fairy tales are inspiring. This followed almost the exact story as the other traditional versions we read, but the gorgeous illustrations of the Rapunzel story  set in Africa transform it into a different tale.

Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox

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What if Rapunzel couldn’t quite understand the prince shouting from way down below? That is the premise of this humorous take on the Rapunzel story. It led to a great discussion about the differences.

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Our kids both loved the Disney version of Rapunzel. Although it does go way off the traditional path with Flynn and the horse and the whole she’s-actually-a-princess part, our kids love it. The songs are fun. Rapunzel is spunky. This cheap Golden Book version gives a brief version of this story.

Literacy Activities

Art Activities

  • Open ended drawing prompt : All you need for this is a piece of white paper, a sharpie and some markers. I drew the crown on the paper and then left it as pictured for them to find. I often make copies of drawing prompts so they can do it again if they are interested.
  • Paint with glitter.

  • Bathtub art / engineering : Bathtime is a favorite in our house and I love coming up with fun things to do in the tub. My very first was this DIY Foam Counting Train. For this one I simply cut some rectangles and triangles in varying sizes from purple and white foam along with a couple “royalty” (which admittedly turned out a little abstract). These are presented at bathtime and the constructing that had taken place for weeks downstairs was transferred to the bathtub and a flat canvas.

More Arts & Crafts

Fine Motor

Pretend Play

STEM Activities

  • Rapunzel Tower Challenge : We built and measured towers for Rapunzel. This was a fun activity that ended up inspiring a LOT more building. First with the Fairy Tale Blocks we used for this activity and then duplos, Magna-tiles, and more.
  • Estimating & Counting with Gems. I have a collection of glass “gems” that get used for various purposes. For this unit, we used them as a math manipulative for a few different activities. The first and most popular was estimating. I filled a glass jar with gems. They took turns guessing how many we inside. Then we poured with out and counted together. Later, I placed the gems and some different sized containers in a tray on their shelf for further exploration.
  • Cardboard Box Castle : from Here Come the Girls
  • Kid Cardboard Castle Fort : from Learning and Exploring Through Play
  • Princess Counting Cards : from Living Life and Learning
  • Shape Recognition Castle : from My Mundane and Miraculous Life

Science + Sensory
*Castle in the Clouds : Go Science Girls
*Frozen Play Dough : Here Come the Girls
*FREE Princess Printable & Sensory Play : Life Over Cs
*Frozen Sensory Play with Shaving Cream & Ice : Theres Just One Mommy
*Princess Popsicles : Mini Monets and Mommies
*Playdoh Princesses : Here Come the Girls

Social Studies Activities

  • Castle study: We made a book about Castles. I used a blank book (You can find a pack here) and wrote a title on the front. We looked online and found some photos of castles. I also printed some pictures I had taken of castles they had made. They gave me descriptions of their castles to add to the book. We added a few more pictures to the book over the coming weeks of their creations.

Gross Motor

*Princess Yoga : Kids Yoga Stories

Today, she is still interested in princesses although her favorite changes. This project eventually seemed to naturally merge with a more general building project that has taken over our play spaces for the past few months. She has, however, started adding pants into her wardrobe again and, with Winter approaching, for that I am grateful.

30+ Princess Unit Ideas for Preschoolers including Literacy, STEM, Gross Motor, Math and More

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