Women’s liberation may have created bold female heroines, but check out the picture books in your local library, and you’ll see that princes and princesses, such as The Frog Prince and Sleeping Beauty, have never quite gone out of style.
Want to give those reading legends a little learning oomph? Here’s a hands-on phonics craft for your child to enjoy, and keep. While you're at it, you can point out that crowns are also worn by mighty kings... and powerful, independent-minded queens as well!
What You Need:
- Disposable aluminum pie plate
- Craft glue
- Flat craft “jewels”
- Glitter glue in a dark color, such as red or blue
- Polyester quilt batting (available in sewing supply stores)
- Black permanent marker
What You Do:
- Start by turning your pie plate upside down, so that its “dish” is up. Use a ruler to divide it into eight sections. Invite your kindergartener to look over your shoulder for this: you can show him the diameter, and demonstrate how you divide the plate in half, then half again, and so on - a great early fraction lesson.
- Now use scissors to cut along each line. Your child can do some of this, but you’ll need to help, especially with getting started. Do not cut through the rim of the plate. You’ll end up with eight pointy triangle shapes.
- Pull the pointy triangles straight up—behold, a crown! If you want, you can round some off, but it’s fine to leave them pointy too.
- On the front point, use the permanent marker to mark a large Q, P, or K, to indicate whether this is the crown of a Queen, Princess, Prince or King. Then invite your child to trace over the letter with squeezable glitter glue.
- Around the perimeter of the pie plate, place a bead of glue, and stick down a strip of polyester quilt batting. Use the marker to dot the quilt batting with black spots—like royal ermine!
- Now invite your child to go wild! Use the craft glue to apply “jewels” all over the rest of the crown. Encourage lots of pattern exploration—“jewels” come in all sorts of shapes and sizes—and feel free to show your child a photograph or two of a real crown.
- Keep the crown somewhere convenient, possibly close to where your and your child like to get cozy and read. The next time you’ve got a royal story going, invite him to take the crown out and play with it as you read. Emphasize the initial letter, find other letters like it in the book, and then, when the story is done, turn the crown into a “storyteller hat.” What happened in the book you just read? What do you think this character should do next? With a crown on his head, who knows what your child will think up!
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.