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Princess & The Pea Activities

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Princess and the Pea' is a tale that generations of children have enjoyed reading. Use these multi-sensory activities to help students connect with the plot, characters, and theme of this timeless story.

Easy Pea-sy

As you get older, waking up with a backache is no big deal; but, could you imagine having an uncomfortable night's sleep because you felt a pea through multiple mattresses? Han Christian Andersen's tale, The Princess and the Pea, examines the story of a princess who proves her worthiness to marry a prince by doing just that. When students study this fairy tale, they can examine how Andersen imparts valuable lessons through the fairy tale genre.

Let's look at some activities to help students examine the The Princess and the Pea. Prior to these activities, have students read Han Christian Andersen's original version of the tale.

A Different Point of View

Engage students in examining The Princess and the Pea from another point of view as they rewrite the story.

Materials

  • Backpack
  • Believe Me, I Never Felt a Pea!: The Story of the Princess and the Pea as Told by the Princess (The Other Side of the Story) by Nancy Loewen (optional)
  • Paper
  • Pencils

Teacher Directions

  1. Ask students to discuss their trip to school this morning. Elicit details about their time at home and on the way to school.
  2. Show the class a backpack. Have students brainstorm how their backpack would describe the same trip to school this morning. Ask students to reflect on how it would be different than the original.
  3. Have students identify the point of view from which Hans Christian Andersen tale is told. Ask students to think about the story might be told from another character's point of view. Consider reading Believe Me, I Never Felt a Pea!: The Story of the Princess and the Pea as Told by the Princess (The Other Side of the Story) by Nancy Loewen as an example of how the story would be different if written from the view of the princess.
  4. Divide the class into pairs, and provide each pair with paper and pencils.
  5. Have students rewrite The Princess and the Pea from the point of view of another character, such as the prince, the pea, or even the mattresses.
  6. When students are finished, have them share their rewritten stories with the class.

Discussion Questions

  • How did changing the point of view change the story?
  • How can authors use point of view to influence the story?

Can You Feel the Pea?

Have your students use STEM skills to build a mattress and connect to the story.

Materials

  • Bed building materials (sponges, cloth, bubble wrap, balloons, etc.)
  • Marbles
  • Peas
  • Dice
  • Sandwich-sized rectangular plastic containers

Teacher Directions

  1. Discuss the role of the pea in the story The Princess and the Pea. Ask students to identify how the pea was necessary to the plot, character development, and theme of the story.
  2. Tell students they are going make connections to the story by building and testing their own beds to see if they can feel the pea like the princess did.
  3. Divide the class into small groups, and give each group a plastic container, bed building materials, marble, pea, and dice.
  4. Have students use the bed making materials to build a bed in their plastic containers. Then, have students place a pea under a layer of the bed. Students should then push down to see if their bed was effective in cushioning them from feeling the pea.
  5. Students should repeat the same experiment, but use dice and then a marble instead of a pea.
  6. Encourage students to discuss what materials made the most cushiony beds and how the size of the object under the mattresses affected whether or not it could be felt through the bed.

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