National Fairy Tale Day & World Book Day: Any excuse for a story

Did you know this week it was National Fairy Tale Day on Feb 26th. Even working in a primary school for over a decade, I hadn’t stumbled on this. It also coincides with the 20th anniversary of World Book Day so I thought it was a great opportunity to get out some traditional tales and do a few playful activities with my girls – not that I need any excuse.

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Don’t you just love these retro books?

Although not all technically fairy tales, as they don’t all have magical creatures, I chose the following three: The three billy goats gruff, Goldilocks and the three bears and The three little pigs. All these traditional tales have the same repetitive element that encourage interaction and engagement. I couldn’t believe we hadn’t read them already.

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First we read Goldilocks and the three bears. This is a great story for using different voices for the different bears. My daddy bear was pretty impressive and I now keep hearing ‘who’s been eating my porridge’ as they play, acting out with little bowls. We also drew bowls, chairs and tables with chalk in the garden and retold the story jumping onto the correct picture.

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In this week’s Peppa Pig magazine there was also a baby bear porridge suggestion which we tried out. The girls helped slice banana and create a face with fruit. It was another chance to use our bear voices and added a special twist to breakfast.

Next we moved onto The three billy goats gruff. The first time, my troll was a little too menacing and so we had to stop reading but I convinced them to listen again and they enjoyed the ‘trip trapping’. I made some really simple puppets from cut outs and straws and we used these as we read the story the second/third time. When we were in the garden, we trip trapped across our bridge too.

Finally we looked at The three pigs. Our version was a bizarrely long one that involved the wolf trying to trick the third pig into leaving the house with promises of apples, turnips and a trip to the fair. Each time the clever pig outsmarts the wolf but it ends as I actually remember with the wolf coming down the chimney and landing in the boiling water.

After we’d read this version once, we just retold it without all the added extra and the girls renamed the pigs as ‘Emily pig’, ‘Jessica pig’ and then a friend’s name (this changed every time). This story is especially nice to do with two children as one can be the pig and one the wolf. Like with the three bears, they use the repetitive lines in their play. One will call ‘little pig, little pig let me come in’ accompanied with knocking. The other will respond with ‘not by the hairs in my chinny chin chin’.

The predicatable patterns in these stories have been great to get my girls joining in. I love that now we’ve read them a few time, they are actually engaged in the story and want to be part of it.

What other fairy/traditional tales do your toddlers enjoy?

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