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 lose 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.
Eddie - The Usual Mayhem says
I’ll have to show this post to my sister in law, because I’m sure sure my niece will love both the craft and the book ideas – I’m betting especially The Princess Knight, coming from a house with all brothers.
The Activity Mom says
LOVE this! My daughter is obsessed with princesses also. She loves making people out of shapes so we will try this today for sure!! Thanks for a great idea!
Thank you so much for this, especially the book recs! (At 10mo, my daughter is too young now for the craft, but we’ll definitely do the craft later if she expresses an interest in princesses. Love the incorporation of a shapes lesson!) As a scientist in a male-dominated profession and a former tomboy, I’ve been concerned about the possibility that my daughter may grow up obsessed with being a princess and wearing pink. I’ll be ready with these books to share with her! Thanks again!
I love how this incorporates cutting and lots of fine motor skills!
First real craft project for my 20 month old…didn’t have the sequins so we skipped it…and I let her decorate it with markers. She was so proud of herself ! This craft can be done with a ton of variations…
So happy her first real craft was such a hit!
I can’t wait to do this with my princess loving 3 year old daughter. One idea I have used with similar shape crafts is to trace the shapes on the paper and then give each shape a number that is written on the paper and the corresponding cut out shape. This incorporates numbers and matching along with the shapes. We did this with your shape castle and it helped ensure the castle looked like a castle when we were done, lol. Thanks for all of your great ideas, it is great to have a resource like this for us moms that are not as creative, i strive to be a hands on mom and your site as helped me achieve that.
We tried it last week-end with my oldest daughter and it was a huge success. Once we were done, the dolls went rolling, dancing, flipping, flying like an airplane, and racing in a small lego car all over the living room. Fiouf.