Why I Built This Kit:
In our house we embed literacy concepts into just about everything and one of our favorite topics for this is Kings and Queens. If you haven’t already met the “King of Ing” let me introduce you; he is a rhyming kind of royalty who enjoys teaching children about the spelling concept of “ing.” His wife Queen is fabulous lady who is helping to plan the wedding of “Q” and “U” - a very important job in the kingdom. These two royal character cover a lot of ground, making this an action packed theme to explore!
Books For Discussing This Theme
King Hugo’s Huge Ego by Chris Van Dusen
Hugo is a tiny king with a very large ego. But when he mistreats a villager who also happens to be a sorceress, the spell she casts causes his head to literally swell. The more he boasts, the bigger it gets, until it ﬁnally topples the mini monarch right off his castle! Who will cut this royal pain down to size? And, more important, will anyone live happily ever after? Chris Van Dusen’s hilarious story is matched only by his outrageous illustrations. Together, they make for a picture book that is sometimes fairy tale, sometimes cautionary tale, and always laugh-out loud funny. (AMAZON)
The Birthday Queen by Audrey Wood Ages: 4-8
Happy Birthday to you! Today is the most exciting day of the year, and the Birthday Queen knows exactly how to ﬁll it with fun surprises! From decorating your home to baking your favorite cake, the Birthday Queen doesn't forget a thing as she creates a party beyond your wildest dreams! (AMAZON)
Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth I of England by Diane Stanley and Pete Vennema
She was a queen whose strong will, shrewd diplomacy, religious tolerance and great love for her subjects won the hearts of her people and the admiration of her enemies. Elizabeth was born into an age of religious strife, in which plots and factions were everywhere and private beliefs could be punished by death. When she became queen, her counselors urged her to marry quickly and turn the responsibilities of governing over to her husband, But she outwitted them by stalling, changing her mind; and playing one side against another, as she steered her country to the glorious era of peace and security that would be called the Elizabethan Age.
Apps For Exploring This Theme
FableScapes2 (Ages 3-8)
Publisher: Marmalade Technologies
Format: iOS (Apple) & Android
This is a fun educational storytelling game that unleashes your imagination to create fantastic fables and terriﬁc tales. FableScapes 2 gives children and parents a virtual puppet theatre to play with. Inside, you’ll ﬁnd a whole world of stories and images for kids which can be created, changed, saved and shared. Exercise your imagination and intelligence, and have fun while exploring creative storytelling at its most amazing: with you in control! With a wide range of inspiring scenarios, FableScapes 2 gives you all the characters and objects you could ever want. It’s so easy to create wonderful animated adventures for all the family. Will the brave knight rescue the princess from the dragon? Will the pirates keep their buried treasure? Use your creativity to decide in FableScapes 2! (iTunes)
About Kings & Queens- Information for Exploring This Theme
Our adventures with the theme of Kings and Queens takes us in a variety of directions,
including important phonics concepts and study of fairytales and fables. As with most topics, there is a lot to familiarize yourself with in anticipation of the questions from curious little minds. The following resources are particularly helpful and we have enjoyed using some directly with our little ones.
What is a King or a Queen?
Some back ground on what a royal family is thanks to Everything Preschool…
A royal family is the extended family of a monarch. Generally, the head of a royal family is a king or queen regnant. The term "imperial family" more appropriately describes the extended family of an emperor or empress regnant, while the terms "ducal family" or "princely family" are more appropriate in reference to the relatives of a reigning duke, grand duke, or prince. Finally, it is proper to refer to the extended relations of a deposed monarch and his or her descendants as a royal family.
A royal family typically includes the spouse of the reigning monarch, any or all surviving spouses of a deceased monarch, the children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, and cousins of the reigning monarch, as well as their spouses. In some cases, royal family membership may extend to great grandchildren and more distant descendants of a monarch. In certain monarchies where voluntary abdication is the norm, such as the Netherlands, a royal family may also include one or more former monarchs. There is a distinction between persons of the blood royal and those that marry into the royal family. Only persons in the former category are dynasts, that is, potential successors to the throne.
In general, certain relatives of the monarch (by blood or marriage) possess special privileges and are subject to certain statutes, conventions, or special common law. The precise functions of a royal family vary depending on whether the polity in question is an absolute monarchy, a constitutional monarchy, or somewhere in between. In certain absolute monarchies, such as that found in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, or in political systems where the monarch actually exercises executive power, such as in Jordan, it is not uncommon for the members of a royal family to hold important government posts or military commands. In most constitutional monarchies, however, members of a royal family perform certain public, social, or ceremonial functions, but refrain from any involvement in electoral politics or the actual governance of the country.
The speciﬁc composition of royal families varies from country to country, as do the titles and royal and noble styles held by members of the family. The composition of the royal family may be regulated by statute enacted by the legislature (e.g. Spain, the Netherlands, and Japan since 1947), the Sovereign's prerogative and common law tradition (e.g. the United Kingdom), or a private house law (e.g., Liechtenstein, the former royal houses of Bavaria, Prussia, Hanover, etc.). Public statutes, constitutional provisions, or conventions may also regulate the marriages, names, and personal titles of royal family members. The members of a royal family may or may not have a surname or dynastic name (see Royal House).
What is a fairytale?
Scholastic helps us with a comprehensive deﬁnition…
A fairy tale, or wonder tale, is a kind of folktale or fable. In these stories we meet witches and queens, giants and elves, princes, dragons, talking animals, ogres, princesses, and sometimes even fairies. Marvelous and magical things happen to characters in fairy tales. A boy may become a bird. A princess may sleep for a hundred years. A seal may become a girl. Objects too can be enchanted — mirrors talk, pumpkins become carriages, and a lamp may be home to a genie.
The oldest fairy tales were told and retold for generations before they were written down. French fairy tales were the ﬁrst to be collected and written down, but now we can read fairy tales from almost any culture. When these stories were studied together, something amazing was discovered. From countries as distant and different as Egypt and Iceland similar fairy tales are told. Both Egypt and Iceland have "Cinderella" stories, as do China, England, Korea, Siberia, France, and Vietnam; and the list doesn't stop there. There may be a thousand versions of the Cinderella story, each with a unique telling which carries cultural information about the time and place the story was told. One thing is for sure; people everywhere like stories in which truth prevails over deception, generosity is ultimately rewarded, hard work overcomes obstacles, and love, mercy and kindness are the greatest powers of all.
We enjoy this YouTube video for talking about adding -ing to a word. Geared for early readers, we have used this video with our three and a half year-old. The graphics and animation help reinforce the concepts, making the information accessible for younger learners.
A catchy tune with simple animations that reinforce the concept of -ing. One of our absolute favorites!
Planning the Wedding of Q and U!
We all know how exhausting it can be to plan a wedding, but fortunately there are some
fabulous resources when it comes to the marriage of Q and U. Between the Lions has a
fantastic video to share with your child and Denise Hreha has written an adorable book about the wedding of Q and U.
This particular theme just screams storytelling and imagination! Here are a few ideas to get the party started:
- What is a fairy tale?
- What rules would you make if you were King or Queen for the day?
- Describe what a King or Queen should look like?
- What stories have you read that include a king or queen as a main character?
Our favorite activities have us using our hands and bodies in the learning process. This unit is no exception and the topic enables us to follow the interest of our children. We revisit the theme often and ﬁnd ourselves on different adventures along the way. Here are a few of our favorites.
Chrissy is a mother of two energetic toddlers, a passionate educator, literacy specialist, school administrator, and consultant with experience in both public and private education. She has worked with students preK-12, consulted on educational learning plans and student placement for families, and advised schools on literacy curriculum and planning across grade levels. StrongTots is a passion for Chrissy and an effort to form a supportive parenting network grounded in research-based information.