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Fairy Tale STEM Challenge | December Lesson Plan Ideas

Fairy Tales are a great December preschool theme or a December kindergarten theme. These STEM challenges will enhance your kindergarten fairy tale unit and are great kindergarten December activities. If you are looking for ideas to decenter Christmas in your classroom, I have got your December lesson plans covered.

Why are Fairy Tales Important to Read in Kindergarten and Preschool?

Reading fairy tales in kindergarten and preschool is important for several reasons:

1. Language Development: Fairy tales expose children to a rich vocabulary and varied sentence structures. Through listening to these stories, children can expand their language skills and develop a better understanding of syntax and semantics.

2. Cultural Awareness: Fairy tales often contain cultural elements, introducing children to different customs, traditions, and moral values. This exposure helps promote cultural awareness and appreciation for diversity.

3. Imagination and Creativity: Fairy tales are filled with fantastical elements, magical creatures, and imaginative settings. Reading these stories encourages children to use their imagination and creativity, fostering cognitive development.

4. Moral and Ethical Lessons: Many fairy tales include moral lessons and ethical dilemmas. These stories often feature characters facing challenges and making choices, providing opportunities for discussions about right and wrong, empathy, and ethical decision-making.

5. Emotional Development: Fairy tales often explore a range of emotions, from joy and love to fear and sadness. Experiencing these emotions through literature helps children develop emotional intelligence and learn to empathize with others.

6. Critical Thinking Skills: Fairy tales frequently involve problem-solving and critical thinking. As children encounter characters overcoming obstacles and challenges, they learn to analyze situations and consider different solutions.

7. Social Skills: Discussing fairy tales with peers or adults encourages social interaction. Children can share their thoughts, ideas, and interpretations, enhancing their communication and social skills.

8. Preparation for Reading: Fairy tales typically have repetitive patterns, which can help young children develop pre-reading skills. Predictable story structures and repeated phrases contribute to a child's understanding of narrative elements.

9. Connection to Real-Life Experiences: Despite their fantastical elements, fairy tales often address universal themes and human experiences. Children can relate these stories to their own lives, fostering a deeper understanding of themselves and others.

10. Love for Reading: Exposure to fairy tales in early childhood can instill a love for reading. Positive experiences with books and storytelling at a young age contribute to a lifelong appreciation for literature.

Multicultural Fairy Tales

There are many wonderful versions of the fairy tale stories to make your fairy tale unit really rich and diverse. My favorites are Rapunzel and Little Red by Bethan Woollvin, it is great book for an illustrator study and I love the message of the girls saving themselves. The Rough Faced Girl is a great book to compare and contrast with Cinderella. These books will enhance your kindergarten December lesson plans.

Click on the picture for a list of fairy tales. (Amazon Affiliate link).

STEM Challenges

Fairy tales is a great theme to do during the month of December or any time throughout the school year Fairy tales are a great addition to your fiction reading unit. These center ideas can be implemented during your center time or you can do these as STEM challenges after you read each story. Fairy Tale STEM challenges are a great December activities for kindergarten.

Can you Build Rapunzel's Tower?

We Read Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin. Then, I challenged the students to build a tower for Rapunzel. I just pulled out our Legos bin and the students had so much fun building different towers for Rapunzel. We talked about stability and that taller is not always better. It does not need to be complicated and you do not need buy additional materials, simply use what you already have in your classroom to do a meaningful STEM activity.

Can You Make a Gingerbread Cookie Play Dough Center?

Your students will love this play dough center. We read The Gingerbread Man and The Gingerbread Girl

In the party trays, I included brown play dough, (Michaels usually has brown play dough in November/December.) I included goggle eyes, cookie cutters, buttons, gems, mini erasers and puff balls. I found everything except the play dough at the Dollar Tree.

Can you build a Gingerbread House?

For the gingerbread houses center, I got Gingerbread erasers for the Target Dollar Spot and Legos.

Students can also make a paper version. Simply by photocopy the house onto brown paper and the candy pieces on Astrobright paper. The students can decorate their gingerbread house without the mess of icing and sticky candy.

The template for the gingerbread house is available in my Fairy tale STEM Centers Resource. Click the Picture below to check out the packet.

Can You Build a Bridge for The 3 Billy Goats Gruff?

We read The Three Billy Goats Gruff. We made a "river" on the floor using blue paper. The students were challenged to make another bridge for the Billy Goats to cross over. They could use any building toys that they wanted to build their bridge.

Can you make Gingerbread Man or the Gingerbread Girl?

This gingerbread man/girl craft is great for math. It is the perfect December craft for kindergarten or preschool. The students can use buttons or gumdrops to make simple addition problems.

You can also copy the gingerbread body onto different shades of brown. Let your students be creative and decorate their gingerbread however they want. Then, discuss how every cookie looks different and that what makes them (us) unique. This a great December writing prompt to inspire your little writers.

Can you Build a Safer Wall for Humpty Dumpty?

We read After the Fall by Dan Santat. Then, I gave each student a plastic egg. The students were challenged to build a safer wall for Humpty Dumpty with Legos. I let students build their own. Then, halfway through, I went around and shook the table. We talked about why some walls were more stable than others. After that, they went back and made changes to their wall.

Wow! Look at this wall!

Can You Write a Fairy Tale?

My students loved the fairy tale writing center! They loved writing about the characters that we are learning about. This writing center includes vocabulary cards and sentence starters.

You can check out this writing center as a part of my writing center bundle by clicking on the picture.

Can you make an Elf Trap?

You can read The Elves and the Shoemaker, then challenge the students to build a trap to catch the elves. They can either use materials from the maker space or they can use Legos and other building toys.

Can you use simple shapes to make Cinderella's Castle?

Just print shapes on bright colored paper or put out Magnetic Tiles or Legos. You can challenge students to build Cinderella's Castle. You can purchase the paper center in my Fairy Tale STEAM Centers packet.

You can purchase all of these signs and all of these centers in my Fairy Tale STEAM Centers packet. Click the picture below.

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