After working with the kids with the Grimm Brother fairy tales, I was really excited to start on Hans Christian Andersen.  I love the stories and they were some of my favorites as a child. I also knew that I could hook them with the connections to Frozen (which is a current obsession in our household). Of course they were excited but I knew they were going to be confused by how different the stories were, especially in the Little Mermaid and the Snow Queen.

I looked through our anthologies and some of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories are very long to read in one sitting.  I went back to our library and our used book store to find some picture books with the stories instead of reading them the original text. We also continued to watch each of the fairy tales during snack time from the Faerie Tale Theater set that we have.

Again each day we added to our Alphabet book with a few letters from our story.  Each page had the letters at the top, some dotted traceable letters and a blank space to practice.  Plus I printed out a picture to color and glue on.


– We read The Little Mermaid. One was an illustrated picture book credited to Hans Christian Anderson and the other was a Disney Step into Reading book.

– Our letters were L for Little mermaid and O for ocean.

– I laid out four print outs with different type of shells: clams, scallops, hermit crabs (and other spiral shaped shells) and then a blank page for miscellaneous. I took out a bunch of shells that I have in a jar at home and we spent a while talking about differences in appearances of the shells and the types of animals that lived in each one.  Then we sorted all of my shells onto their proper sheets.

Sorting Sea Shells

We were going to do an art project with the shells after that, but it was one of those days where the kids were going bonkers so we headed outside for some water play. I also added in some bubbles and we talked about animals blowing bubbles under water.

Because we were reading about the Little Mermaid she insisted on wearing her Ariel Dress that her Grandma made for her.

- Although we didn’t watch the Disney version on this day, we have seen it quite a bit.  The kids had trouble understanding the ending of the original story and Lilly told me it was really sad and she liked Ariel better. I tried to explain the differences but she wasn’t really interested in my explanations.


- We read the actual text of the Princess and the Pea from our anthology. It is a very short story (only about 2 pages) and the kids were shocked at how short it was. We also read a picture book from the library by illustrated by Maja Dusikova.

– Our letters were B for beds and J for jester. There isn’t a court Jester in the original story but in the Faerie Tale Theater shows that we were watching he plays a pretty big role, so I thought it would be ok to include it in our alphabet.

– I printed out a hidden picture page and the kids had a good time looking for all the hidden objects.  I thought Lilly might have some trouble with this one, but she did pretty well and kept up with her brothers

– We made a huge stack of blankets pillows and bean bags in our living room. I had five objects that I was going to hide under the pile and they had to guess which one was under there.  I had a lima bean, a book, a soccer ball, and rubber snake and one of our roddy ride on toys. They had a fun time but what they liked the best was tipping the whole thing over and wrestling in the mess of pillows and blankets.

They loved climbing to the top of our stack to guess the object I had put underneath.


We took a break from reading and writing and went to Disneyland. We talked about all the attractions that are based on fairy tales and we made sure we went on those. We also took the time to visit with the Princesses from some of the stories we had been reading. After we saw the Princesses the boys wanted to see the superheroes, so while we were in line to meet Thor we talked about the differences between superhero stories and fairy tales.

They all enjoyed meeting Ariel at Disneyland. Later Lilly told me, “See mommy, the mermaid isn’t in heaven she lived.”


- I purchased an ebook version of Thumbelina for our kindle for 1$ but I was a bit unhappy with it once we purchased it.  It didn’t have the whole story and wasn’t written very well.  Still they got the idea of the story.

– Our letters were M for Mr. Mole, T for Thumbelina and U for Underground

– We placed seeds in plastic bags with wet paper towels to watch the sprout just like Thumbelina’s mother was given a seed to plant.  They all hoped if they wished hard enough like Thumbelina’s mom did, maybe a new baby sister would pop out of their sprouts. I tried to explain that this was not going to happen, but they really wanted to wish for it anyway.   Unfortunately we went on vacation and our bags got moldy while we were gone. They weren’t too bad so the kids could see the beginning of some shoots, but we had to throw our little experiments away.

– I printed out some outline pictures of flowers and fairy houses. I let the kids start with water colors and then added some fun extras on the flowers like pipe cleaners, feathers and glitter on them. When they were all dry we cut them out and stuck them on our wall to build a little fairy garden where Thumbelina and her Prince could live.

They loved making a fairy garden on our wall. Maybe next year we can make a real fairy garden outside.


- We read the Emperors New Clothes

– Our letters were E for Emperor and N for New clothes

– I cut out little paper dolls for each kid.  Then I took some scrapbook paper and cut out crowns, shirts, pants, and shoes.  On the backs of each I put 1-4 dots.  The kids got to make up different outfits and then count up all the dots to see which ones were more expensive to make (had the most dots).

Our little Emperor Paper Doll


Finally we got to what they were waiting for.  I saved the story they were most excited about for the last day: The Snow queen, the story that had inspired Frozen.

– The Snow Queen is a very long children’s story (about 60 pages in our anthology) so I bought an app for my iPad that had a shortened version of the story with interactive pages. We tried to talk about Frozen and how the stories were similar, but really the only thing they could think of that was the same was a lady who had powers to control ice and snow.

– Our letters were I for Ice Palace, Q for Queen and S for Snow.

– We did an experiment with salt-melting ice and added in some food coloring to make it pretty. Salt melts ice faster so I made some large blocks of ice and we went outside to see what happens. Wherever the salt was placed on the ice, it made grooves in the ice. When we added food coloring, the grooves took on more of the color and made them easier to see.

– I made several versions of play “snow dough “ to play with. Since most of it was made with corn starch, I also made some oobleck (corn starch and water makes a super fun non Newtonian fluid that is liquid when it doesn’t have pressure put on it and solid when applying pressure) by adding extra water and the kids had a fantastic time getting cornstarch all over each other and our backyard.

At the end of our summer, the boys told me the fairy tale week was so much fun. I am glad I was able to take these classic stories and bring them to life for them.