Fee-fi-fo-fum! I smell lots of “Jack and the Beanstalk” fun, especially with these activities! What was supposed to be a mini unit turned into a week full of giant learning opportunities. (Yes, I love the play on words.) Take a look at our week here:
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you by linking to Amazon.com.
Jack and the Beanstalk: Books We Love
The week started off by reading a beautifully illustrated version of Jack and the Beanstalk by Nosy Crow. There are so many different versions out there, but the text was simple, and the length was perfect for preschoolers. Not to mention the bright and vivid illustrations just add so much to this book!
Here’s another great adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk by Mara Alperin. In this book, Jack visits the castle in the clouds, but while leaving, the goose begs him to help her escape. In return, she will lay a golden egg for him every day. Instead of Jack stealing (like in other books), he is helping a prisoner escape the giant.
The next version of “Jack and the Beanstalk” we looked at was called Stinky Jack and the Beanstalk by Steve Smallman. This book is extremely similar to the classic tale; however, the reason that the giant can smell “the blood of an Englishman” is because Jack is so lazy he doesn’t bathe. By the end of the book, Jack learns the importance of personal hygiene, which is a topic that some children need help with, too.
On Thursday, we took a look at the story as told by the giant. Trust Me, Jack’s Beanstalk Stinks! by Eric Braun shows that the giant wasn’t really that bad. Jack was the one stealing his gold, goose, and harp. I love how seeing things from a different perspective can change your mind about a character.
Our book selection was wrapped up with Jellybeans for Giants by Adam and Charlotte Guillain. George plants a jellybean in his garden, which grows into an enormous beanstalk. At the top, he meets a friendly giant, and continues climbing to meet a pixie and a stinky troll. This book is vibrant, fun, and simple, and it combines a classic tale with silly new twists. A fun way to end our week!
Jack and the Beanstalk: Literacy Activities & Centers
Beans Out the Window
Trace those letters and toss them straight out the window – just like Jack’s mom did in “Jack and the Beanstalk.” We just attached the picture of Jack’s mom and the window to a standing picture frame from IKEA. Loved hearing the sound effects during this activity – “Woo!” – every time a bean was thrown out. This definitely gave letter formation practice a new and exciting twist. Grab yours here!
Apparently Jack was a diligent student since he loved practicing his letters and initial sounds while climbing up the beanstalk. We rolled out some green play dough with our play dough stampers for this one. First, we practiced matching the uppercase play dough stamps to lowercase letters on the leaves. Then, we amped it up with some initial sound practice with the pictures that (mostly) relate to the story. My little one even used the plastic pen to trace over the letters. Great letter practice with this Beanstalk ABC activity!
Magic Bean Words
“Fee-fi-fo-fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman.” Apparently, the giant needed some help with his rhyming skills, so I made this activity to help him (and other little ones) along. We matched the leaves to the beanstalks for each word ending. For beginning readers, I added in the word family magic bean sliders to coordinate with the rhyming beanstalks.
Play Dough Bean Letters
Another great letter formation / identification activity we did was make letters out of play dough and add dried lima beans on top. We just used the letters from “Beans Out the Window“. My little one is definitely improving on her play dough rolling skills lately!
Bean Match Sensory Bin
We used those beans again for an uppercase to lowercase letter match. The linking chains and the sensory bin filled with dried lima beans definitely make this more fun! Plus, it adds in fine motor skills with a sensory experience.
Jack and the Beanstalk: Math Activities & Centers
These counting chain activities are one of our favorites! This one is available with numbers 1-20 for students working at many different levels. Count the ten frame, link the matching number of chains, and connect Jack to the “beanstalk” with the coordinating numeral.
We had lots of fun with measurement this week! First, we measured ourselves, the table, the chair, and our linking chain beanstalk using Jack’s shoe prints and the giant’s footprints. Then, we measured different items from the story such as the goose, the beanstalk, Jack’s mom, gold coins, etc. using our bean rulers (folded packing tape with dried lima beans). Love all this counting! Grab your Beanstalk Measurement here!
Golden Goose Eggs
I am so proud of how far my little one has come with subitizing – recognizing different quantities quickly! She can almost recognize all ten frames immediately, all individual dice, and knows that a group of tallies is 5, so she no longer needs to count those. These foundational number sense skills are essential for moving on to more difficult concepts as she grows older and to help remove the fear of math that I saw with so many students.
In this Golden Goose Egg activity, we sorted golden eggs with numerals, dice, ten frames, and tallies into the cupcake tin with the matching numbered goose.
Giant’s Bag of Gold
Fee-fi-fo-fum! Let’s see how many gold coins are in these bags just like the giant! We did this as a weighing activity. First, I had to weigh the empty bag and tag to make a counterweight (I just taped gold coins on the outside of one of the balance scale buckets). Then, without opening the bag, we weighed the bag by counting coins on the opposite side to see how many were inside. This can also be used as a simple counting activity by having students count the number of coins inside the bags and recording the number on the recording sheet.
Since we haven’t worked on graphing in awhile, we used jellybeans for this tasty math experience! First, we laid them on top, looking to see which color had the most, the least, or if there were any that were equal. Then, we colored in the graph to match each color of jellybean. Finally, we gobbled them all up! Yummy! Grab your free graph here!
Jack and the Beanstalk: Sensory Bins & Dramatic Play
Jack and the Beanstalk Dramatic Play
I absolutely love this dramatic play center! We made a castle out of a large cardboard box and wrapped it with this castle decoration I had from years ago for Halloween. Here is a similar one on Amazon or you can just use a sponge with gray paint to make a brick pattern. Then, we added in some printable props, name tags, and the best part: retelling cards. Before reenacting the story, we used the cards to retell the story. Throwing in some literacy! Woot!
Jack and the Beanstalk Sensory Bin
This “Jack and the Beanstalk” sensory bin is filled with dried lima beans, gold coins, gold Easter eggs, bags, and a pool noodle beanstalk! The best part is that I taped it up on the side of the tub to make it a bean shoot! Lots of fun dropping the beans and filling the eggs and bags.
Golden Eggs: What’s That Sound?
We had a neat sound experience by shaking golden eggs filled with various objects to guess what was in each one. Very interesting to see what she thought was in each one. We did this two times, and the second time through, my little one was much faster and sure about her guesses. Grab What’s That Sound? here!
Here’s the stacking challenge: stack the green pool noodles on top of each other to reach the castle in the clouds. We added in some masking measuring tape for some number identification. It was actually a little more difficult to reach two feet than I thought it would be for the little ones. Tip: Cut pool noodles with a large knife rather than scissors to make the cuts straighter.
Easy science exploration to set up: What happens to jellybeans when we add water? Right away, we noticed the water changing color, which is why I had my little ones sort them into different cups by color before beginning. Then, we began to notice white film and the “Starburst” logo floating to the top of the water as the clear coat came off. Then, we set a timer for 15 minutes and came back to find that the jellybeans were almost white. Lots of questions: What’s happening? How do you think the water tastes? How do the jellybeans feel after?
There was so much learning going on during our “Jack and the Beanstalk” week! You can grab the entire bundle here at a discounted price! As always, if there is anything you need to make these resources work for your class, just email me here.