FIND ALL OF OUR JACK AND THE BEANSTALK ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE LESSON PLANS.
For the letter J we decided to learn about Jack and the Beanstalk. We had a lot of fun reading and comparing different versions of this story. We also extended the story by doing some reading and math activities.
Here’s a quick glimpse at how we used on of our Jack and the Beanstalk free printables for math.
There are so many versions of Jack and the Beanstalk out there, and if you ask me, some of them are a bit scary for little ones. I thought I would share the versions that we read together.
I should share that Lovey is an extremely cautious child who startles easily and doesn’t forget anything, just ask the poor kid who jumped out of the bushes to surprise her on Halloween! Because of this I am very selective about the books I share with her. We try not to include too many dark or scary pictures, and many versions of Jack and the Beanstalk were excluded for this reason. If there are phrases or language in a book that I don’t think will sit well with her (or phrases I don’t want her to repeat to me one day!), then I will use some creative license and change them up a bit.
To introduce Jack and the Beanstalk to preschoolers, I would recommend a very simple, short version. This will be the foundation that they use to practice retelling activities and compare to other versions. I really like First Readers: Jack and the Beanstalk by Gaby Goldsack. It is very simple with illustrations that aren’t too frightening. Unfortunately, I borrowed it from a friend, and I don’t see one available on Amazon to show you a link. I think it is one she picked up from Michael’s. They have some great books at good prices, and she finds quite a few there.
Jack and the Beanstalk by Richard Walker is similar to the traditional story, but it includes a few twists that add a bit of humor and a little less suspense. In the end, the giant is catapulted into space where he remains. This was a fun change that the kids quickly contrasted to the original story.
Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne is a version I almost didn’t read to the kids. It seemed a bit too long for preschoolers, and there were some parts that I didn’t want to read to them. But every time we retold the traditional story, the kids commented about how wrong it was for Jack to steal from the giant. So using a little creative license to eliminate some of the parts I thought were not appropriate for this age group, I read this version. Besides having a girl hero in this story, there is one other important twist. We learn that Kate is helping her mother by taking back the items the giant had stolen from her long ago.
Waynetta and the Cornstalk by Helen Ketteman was a fun version to read to the kids. Before reading we compared the settings of the stories, and discussed what the kids knew about living on a ranch. We also found Texas on the map. Magic beans and a beanstalk are replaced with magic corn and a large cornstalk, and at the top Waynetta finds a giant ranch instead of a castle. At the end the kids loved that the giant and his wife lived on the ranch with Waynetta and her ma. There were a couple of phrases that I chose to replace in this story, because I didn’t want to hear “cowgirl brat” in our pretend play this week. But overall, I think it was a great addition to our Jack and the Beanstalk week.
Paco and the Giant Chile Plant by Keith Polette was another book we really enjoyed. It gave us another great opportunity to discuss and compare the setting of the stories. The kids were able to make some excellent connections between this story and the other versions we read. Here magic beans and a beantalk are replaced by chile seeds and a giant chile plant. In this version, the giant is brought to tears after getting chile juice in his eyes, and everyone was surprised by what happened next. The giant shrinks back to his normal size, and Paco realizes it’s his own Papa! We learn the story of how Papa became the giant, and the family is reunited again. We loved practicing some of the Spanish words embedded in the story, and I only had to rephrase a couple of sentences.
What versions of Jack and the Beanstalk are your favorite? I would love to have some more ideas for the next time we do Jack and the Beanstalk activities.
GET A FULL WEEK OF JACK & THE BEANSTALK THEME LEARNING AND PLAY
Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.
This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:
1) My Beanstalk science activity
2) Jack and the Beanstalk Shape Building Mats (in color and b/w)
3) Climb the Beanstalk Alphabet Game (4 versions in color and b/w)
4) The Giant’s Gold class book covers (in color and b/w) and page template
5) Hen and Eggs Beginning Sound Sort
6) Jack and the Beanstalk vocabulary cards (in color and b/w)
7) I Found Magic Beans counting activity and recording sheet (in color and b/w)
8) Climbing the Beanstalk counting and number sequencing activity
9) Shake, Drop, Add Math Game with game mat (in color and b/w) and recording sheet
GET YOUR LESSON PLANS
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More Resources for Little Book Lovers
The best way to encourage a love of reading is to provide kids with many opportunities to engage with a wide variety of books that are of interest to them. That’s why we share so many books lists on Fantastic Fun and Learning. We want to make it easy for you to find great books your kids will love. Over the years we’ve also discovered some helpful tools for connecting kids and books.
Digital libraries are one very handy way to do this. Epic! is one of our favorite online libraries. It’s full of over 25,000 books, learning videos, quizzes and more for kids 12 and under…and it’s free for educators. Click here to learn more and sign up.
Book Boxes are another fun way to get kids excited about reading. What kid doesn’t love to get a special delivery in the mail?! The crew over at Bookroo finds the best little known books that you won’t already have in your library, and they send them to you each month. Take a peak inside a Bookroo Box here.
Book-Based Activities are also a lot of fun for kids. Jodie over at Growing Book by Book has saved us all a ton of time and created a full year of Book-Based Activity Calendars so that you can extend the fun with a special book each week.