Another librarian shared this post on Lessons from a Teacher with me, and I knew I wanted to do this project this summer. I slotted it to go with my garden storytime, and ended up doing the project with many different groups of kids over the course of a couple of weeks.
I couldn’t find a version of Jack and the Beanstalk that worked for me. I had used the Nina Crews version before, but I didn’t have it on hand and had no time to request a copy. So instead I just made my own. I had been wanting to try flashcard-storytelling, so here was my chance. I typed up the words I wanted to use, and pasted them on the back of construction paper. On the front of each “page” I pasted an image from clip art or free image search engines. I held up each card for the kids to see the image while I read the words on the back. They actually came out quite nice, I think!
I did this project during a major heatwave, so unfortunately we had to do it inside. I put some big paper down on the floor and put a plastic bin with dirt in the middle. I had a couple of cups for scooping dirt, and some containers with beans. On the other side of the room I set up castles with crayons for the kids to color. While they were coloring, I had the grown-ups send me a few kids at a time to do the planting. (I did soak the beans overnight beforehand and I think it really helped. Mine was showing visible growth the next day!) I wrote the kids’ names on their planting cups and sent them back to finish coloring. One of the grown-ups helped them once they were done coloring to tape their castle to the end of a skewer and stick it in their cup. It actually went much smoother than I expected. (I would have liked to glue on cotton balls for clouds. But the grown-up to kid ratio is usually not great, so I didn’t want to add glue to the equation.)
They came out so cute! The kids absolutely loved it and so did the grown-ups. I’ve had many reports of tall beanstalks growing right up to the castle! Mine chose to grow to the side, instead of up the skewer, but it still looks pretty cool!