CAL participants, Clue 2 is up! Go to the pattern page and see the next portion of the story, as well as the next part of the pattern. At this time, you may all now post pics of your progress from Clue #1. Since clue #1 will probably take the longest to complete out of all the clues, it is perfectly alright if you don’t have it completed at this point. I am, after all, not the CAL police!! πŸ™‚ I think, all told, it took me about 5-6 weeks to complete my shawl, and I really hope you all are able to enjoy yours!

To the rest of my readers, things have been VERY busy in our household! We listed our condo for sale on Friday, so the whole gorgeous, sunny weekend was spent cleaning, cleaning, cleaning! A lot of stuff was packed away and taken to other places for storage, and things that hadn’t been cleaned in a while got a good scrubbing. The rest of the to-do list is minor, except for cleaning the refrigerator, which I hope to do this afternoon while the girls are resting.

With all the busy-ness, we haven’t been able to do much with our little princess study. I do, however, have had many ideas for other things we can do with this particular “theme” (though, I don’t usually endorse theme studies, but I can’t really think of what else to call this). As many of you know, numbers seem to be important things in fairy tales. For example, there are “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” “The Three Little Pigs”, “The Princess and the Pea,” and perhaps even “Sleeping Beauty” (who, as we all know, ends up sleeping for 100 years after pricking her finger on a spindle on the day of her 16th birthday). There are so many possibilities to explore numbers here. You could begin with The Three Little Pigs, and explore so much just with this story.

With The Three Little Pigs, you could study 3s and multiples thereof. For my 2-year-old, we’d work on counting to 3, and for my 4-year-old, we’d work on dividing manipulatives into groups of 3s and counting the groups, eventually working into counting all the manipulatives together. For science, we’d work on building the houses of the pigs using edible manipulatives. For the pig with the house of straw, we’d use raw spaghetti noodles, trying to see what kind of a structure we could build with such a material. We’d use mini pretzel sticks for the pig with the house made of sticks, and for the house made of bricks, I could probably go and get a bag of sugar cubes and we could color them to look like bricks. The test to see which is the sturdiest? Wind, of course!! πŸ™‚ We could try blowing on the houses we build, or even plugging in a fan. This story is also another great opportunity to begin discussing Stranger Danger (i.e., don’t open the door unless you’re certain of who it is). Back to the numbers thing, you could also work on one-t0-one correspondence. Take pictures from coloring pages of the three separate pigs, and you can then use magazine or advertisement cutouts (3 of each type) of furniture, plates, silverware, beds,etc.–pretty much anything one would put in a home–and have your child give each pig one of each item. As an extension, mount the cutouts on pieces of card stock or note cards and add flannel, felt, or the hook side of some Velcro, and you can use these pieces on a flannel or felt board. When the Big, Bad Wolf (BBW) comes along, the little pig then has to pack everything in his suitcase to go to his brother’s house.

The Twelve Dancing Princesses can also be used to reinforce one-to-one correspondence. The ways to implement this are many, but a couple of the ideas I had are: if your child is a dancer, have her dress in her dancing costume (mine have tutu skirts made of tulle and elastic) and take pictures of her in 12 different dance positions. Find 12 pictures of shoes (you can find coloring pages of shoes somewhere online, I’m sure–we just haven’t gotten to this story yet) and have younger children place a pair of shoes with each princess, while older children would need to make pairs of shoes and match the shoes to the princess. Also, the main numbers in this story are 3 and 12 (each suitor has 3 nights to figure out why the princesses’ brand-new shoes areΒ  completely worn out the next morning, plus there are 12 princesses), so you could also work with early division, such as divisors of 12 (1,2,3,4,6,and 12), and again with reinforcing early multiplication of groups of 3 (i.e., early word problems, such as “if there are10 princes trying to figure out why the shoes are worn out, and they are each given 3 days to do it, how long will this take?” You can even use a calendar while reinforcing time units πŸ˜‰ to map out how long it would take 10 princes to discover the reason). An obvious activity with this story is to play dance music and allow your children to dance. What would really be fun is to have a dancing party with the story as its theme, complete with friends of your children, punch, cookies, and fruits, silver, gold, and sparkly decorations (if you’re familiar with the story, the dance hall was decorated in gold, silver, and diamonds), as well as the food in shapes of boats (the princesses have to row across an underground lake to get to the dancing location). This would also be a great opportunity to discuss etiquette, manners, and various character traits such as grace and compassion.

In the Princess and the Pea, the princess had to sleep on twenty mattresses which had been stacked one atop the other, and at the bottom of all of them was hidden a tiny pea. Several activities could be done with this story. At the Toymaker’s site, she has templates for little matchboxes. (I do have a thing for tiny boxes!! πŸ™‚ ) Print them out on scrapbook, origami, or plain paper (have your child color the plain ones), cut them out, and fold and paste them into boxes. Use these boxes to symbolize the mattresses and take turns stacking them, counting each of them as you stack them. Hide a small dried pea (or even a green bead would work) in one of the boxes, and take turns opening the boxes to find the pea. Also at the Toymaker’s site, she has fairy furniture, among which is a fairy bed. Print it out, and assemble it as instructed, then use the matchboxes as the mattresses to stack.

Unfortunately, I must leave the house for some errands for a little while. I will come back and add more to this post. God bless!