I keep the basics of sensory tubs in ziploc bags under the bottom shelf of my pantry and for days my daughter has been asking to play. Ours days have been nuts and whenever she asked was never enough time to play. Until this morning. I grabbed one of the bags from previous tubs and decided to make something extra special for my little princess obsessed girl. As soon as I told her it was a princess theme she insisted on wearing her full costume.
- Gather your materials. You will need a tub ( ours is a lasagna pan ) , white rice, multicolored sequins, princess figurines, beads or jewels, pompoms , glitter, small cups and some spoons. The things about these tubs are that there is no exact recipe you can add what you have making sure of course that whatever you add is something appropriate and safe for your kids.
- Start with just the basics in the tub . Our rice and sequins were already mixed so I popped it in the tub. Then invited my daughter to add what she wanted when she wanted. The princesses went in immediately .
- Next she added the pom poms and beads with a spoon. This is great for eye hand coordination .
- She spent a lot of time scooping and pouring and mugging for the camera before adding some glitter to the mix!
- Next she pretended it was soup and pretended to feed herself and her princesses. At some point she switched crowns too.This is what I love the most about sensory tubs , all the pretend play that blossoms as they explore. She asked for her pony and kept going.
- The sign she was done for me was this little face I caught on camera… that handful of rice didn’t end up in her mouth or in a tub as I snapped this picture I warned her if she threw it on the floor we would put the tub up.
- And that was her choice. We’ll play again another day. The rule of accidental spills being no biggie but if I warn my kids and they dump, pour or throw anything on the floor it’s the end of the fun, for today.
Princess Books For Little Readers
The Very Fairy Princessby Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton is a cute book about a little girl who loves all things princess related. What I like about this book is that it’s message isn’t heavy handed and it celebrates princesses while sneaking in some very positive messages too. In a world where many parents ( me included) have issues with this whole princess thing and struggle to find that balance this book has it. It tells you it’s ok to want to be a princess and to “let your sparkle out!” and talks about confidence in the process. I must admit though I am a total Julie Andrews fan and I am not sure I’d ever dislike anything
Maria , I mean Mary Poppins I mean Julie Andrews wrote.
The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herb Auch is really a cute re telling of the classic Princess and the Pea. They have modernized it and made it a little more feminist in the process, exactly my kind of book. The text is a little long for toddlers but my son sat through about half before wanting to go back and look at the illustration of the horse on the first page. The message is sweet, saying that a woman doesn’t need a man or marriage to attain her goals! Beware though it will make you crave pizza! ** Edited for 2013 my daughter recently found this book and we have been reading it most nights this month . She loves it and sits happily through the whole book , laughs at the funny parts and while she doesn’t get all the subtleties she loves this book.
Good Night, Princess Pruney Toes by Lisa McCourt is a fun carefree book about a happy loving father and daughter. Princess Pruney Toes emerges from her bath to rule over her kingdom before bed. I love that the dad in this story follows along with his daughter’s imagination. I think it’s so important for parents to play with their kids and what’s better than pretend play? This lovely book is another fresh look at what makes a princess and that even princesses wishes can be easy to grant.
After the holidays we packed up the kids and went to Disneyland. We had a ball and my already into princesses daughter is now officially obsessed. When I asked her what sort of craft she wanted to make she said “Princess!” so I grabbed a few simple materials and decided to focus the craft on shapes since we’ve been talking a lot about them lately.
- Gather your materials. You will need 2 sheets of construction paper , scissors, glue , sequins, googly eyes and a marker or two.
- Start by cutting out the shapes. I kept this so simple for my 2 year old because she likes to do it all herself and I want to encourage that. I cut out a circle for a head,2 rectangles for her arms, 3 small triangles for a crown, a large triangle for her gown and a square for her torso. Encourage older children to draw and cut out their own shapes.
- Time to call your little princess, prince or court jester to explore. My daughter sorted through the shapes labeling each one and counting them then I grabbed the glue.
- Glue! To give her a guide I drew the shape in glue on the paper. Older children could skip this. As you can see it’s still a big challenge . She was so excited when she found the correct shape each time.
- We turned the princess upside down to glue on her crown.
- Next up the sequins. I included these for a few reasons beyond their sparkle. They are small and challenging to pick up which makes them a really good fine motor skills building exercise. Also when I do something as structured as this activity is I try to make sure there is a completely free creative element to it. So I gave her the glue and let her at it.
- She needed a little help with the crown jewels.
- Add eyes.
- Add hair and a smile if you want.
- Let dry. She was very excited to show her Belle doll the princess she made.
Books About Strong Princesses
The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke is a tale about a princess named Violet who was raised with her 3 older brothers by her father after her mother dies in childbirth. Her brothers are trained to be knights and she to learns to joust , ride horses and sword fighting. Her brothers ( like most) tease her and tell her that she’ll never be as strong and it’s a maid who tells her that she won’t be as strong but she can be smarter. That message stood way out for me and is why I think this is such a great book. When her father sets up a tournament for Violet’s hand in marriage she takes things into her own hands. She shows everyone how she is smarter than all the other knights and with hard work trains to win her own hand in marriage . I love this book not only as a great empowering one for girls but also to show boys that girls don’t have to fit a specific mold either.
The Storytelling Princess (Picture Puffin Books) by Rafe Martin is a cute story about an independent princess who saves herself after a shipwreck and even though she ends up with the prince her parents had arranged for her to marry she does it on her own terms. Her bibliophile prince isn’t interested in an arranged marriage either and ends up agreeing to marry if his father can find someone to tell him a story that he doesn’t know the ending to. The princess saves herself from the sea and dressed as a sailor she ends up vying for the King’s prize by telling the prince her own story. After she reveals herself and in the end the betrothed fall in love . I love that we don’t loose the happily ever after but that the prince and princess are unique and strong .
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch has enchanted me for years. I bought it while volunteering as a leader in training at a day camp when I was a teen. It’s followed me to many schools, children I babysat and finally my own son. I can’t remember one child ever not liking it. It’s a story of Elizabeth a princess who outwits a dragon to rescue her prince. I love that the author has switched the typical damsel in distress and has the princess as the heroine. Some parents have expressed concern about Elizabeth calling the prince a “Bum” in the end of the book, personally I love it. I have always used it to explain why she was so angry, and as a reminder why calling names hurt. That said I think she is totally justified !
Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen .This book is not so much about being different and facing adversity but about being yourself even if the world has decided you should fit perfectly into the mold it’s given you. When we think of Princesses we think pink, sparkly and dry clean only! These princesses can’t be pigeonholed, they do what’s in their heart not what’s expected of them just because they are princesses. The princesses have all different interests, all different looks and I love that there are some with glasses too. Strong girls being themselves isn’t too different but for a book about princesses it is and it’s refreshing to read.
I have made many a tutu in my day, but this is the first for my daughter. There are tutorials all over the place and they may use other methods but this was how I learned years ago and it’s fast , easy and worth sharing. I love the silly fun frills that come with girls and know that once she can voice her opinion about clothes, hair clips and tutus my reign supreme will be done. She loved feeling the texture of the tutu but really it’s a fun prop for pictures at this age, in a year or so it will be good for play. The nice thing about these easy tie tutus is that you can add or remove tulle as needed as long as the ribbon is long enough. As with any object with string/rope/ribbon these are NOT to be used unsupervised, slept in or any other activity that isn’t directly supervised.
- Gather your materials. You will need tulle ( I used a roll of 6″ wedding tulle from Wal-mart), ribbon for the waistband, thinner ribbon for contrast and scissors.
- Measure your child’s waist with the ribbon, double it and cut.
- I am not one to measure mostly because I am impatient with everything other than small kids but also because my son turned my yard stick into a lance to go with his Knight’s Shield. So instead I use my arms. For the tulle I did 2 arms lengths and cut. I like longer pieces because once you pop them on the ribbon they will be poofy. Tutus should be poofy! I did 30 of these. Not all at once.
- Then I folded the tulle 4, made a loop around the waistband ribbon, pulled it through and tightened. At the bottom you will see a loop , just snip it.
- Keep going after 9 I popped on a contrasting ribbon in gold. These were only one arms length and I added it on the same way.
- Once all the tulle is on ( test it on your child a few times) make a spot in the front middle and using the same ribbon as the waistband is made from tie a bow on. This gives the illusion that the tutu is tied in the front but stops your child from being able to untie it themselves.
- Tie it on and take pictures I am saving this for when she is a little older although she had fun practicing pulling up in it.
My mom is in Ireland right now on business and staying in castles, nice eh? Well since telling my son that he has been pretending to be in a castle in Ireland too. So today we made one out of all different shapes. We couldn’t pass up the glitter either , although looking at my floor sorta wish I did. Getting down on all fours with a dust buster and a 34 week belly is well, not fun! Decide for yourself!
- Gather your materials. You will need 3 different colors of construction paper, scissors, glue, markers and glitter .
- Start by cutting out large rectangles and triangles , as well as some small squares for the castle. You can use any shapes you want but these were simple for me to cut out and simple for my son to use to build.
- Cut out some shapes to use as windows, doors and flags in a contrasting color.
- Invite your little castle builder to come and decorate the background. Clouds, flowers, whatever they choose. My son made rain, because I had shown him pictures of me in Ireland and it was raining, and he was making his castle in Ireland as well.
- Next add glue
- Add your main castle pieces. Remember to ask and talk about the shapes. Today my question was if he turned the shape around would it still be the same shape. He had to think about that for a second.
- Add your triangles.
- Add the small squares.
- Add more glue for the windows and doors.
- Add the contrasting shapes. My son didn’t want the flags, or all the shapes I cut so they went into my scrap bin.
- Next up glitter, add the glue first ( we took turns adding glue).
- Add the glitter. Immediately regret it when you watch your child rub the super fine glitter into their PJs, and hair. Send them onto the back porch to shake off.
- Let dry. I always let the glue dry before shaking the excess glitter off.
The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herb Auch is really a cute re telling of the classic Princess and the Pea. They have modernized it and made it a little more feminist in the process, exactly my kind of book. The text is a little long for toddlers but my son sat through about half before wanting to go back and look at the illustration of the horse on the first page. The message is sweet, saying that a woman doesn’t need a man or marriage to attain her goals! Beware though it will make you crave pizza!
Princess Smartypants by Brenda Cole is the antithesis of the classic beautiful frail princess stories, but it still ends with happily ever after. Princess Smartypants does her own thing and doesn’t understand why her family is so obsessed with finding her a husband. She bends to their wishes but still does things her way. I think this is a great message about happiness and confidence for girls and balances out some of the other princess stories. She was happy just the way she is and didn’t need a spouse to feel complete.
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is one of my very favorite books. Some parents have shared their dislike of Elizabeth’s outburst at the end calling Ronald a bum but I think not only is it justified, he treated her horribly, but people say things when they are angry and you can easily use it to teach your child about anger. I think it’s a wonderful story about a princess taking things into her own hands and saving herself and the prince! My kind of fairytale.
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It’s been a long time since we made a naptime creation. What that is for those new here are crafts for older kids- older being relative of course. This would be perfect for the 5-8 crowd! Instead of candy, cookies or the plain old paper valentine’s why not make your friends their very own princess wand? This valentine will be used long after February 14th! I chose to make a fringe but you could glue on sequins or plastic gems too!
- Gather your materials. You will need some sparkly sticky back foam, a dowel, a hole punch,double stick tape, some ribbon, a marker, scissors, some fun card stock and a cookie cutter for a stencil .
- Start by tracing the heart cookie cutter on the back of the foam.
- Cut out.
- Punch holes in both foam pieces, make sure they match up!
- Peel the backing off and sandwich the dowel in between the sticky foam.
- Cut the ribbon into short pieces.
- Tie the ribbon onto the wand.
- Using pretty card stock and double stick tape make a gift tag and write a message.
- Tie onto the wand and it’s ready to be given to your fellow princess!